Agile Scrum

The basics of Scrum

Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland developed Scrum in the early 1990. The most relevant resource for Scrum is the Scrum Guide. A great way to learn Scrum is to do online tests. For this purpose there are the open assessments from scrum.org. Another great resource for Scrum tests has been created by Mikhail Lapshin in the form of Scrum quizzes.

If you’re interested in Scrum certifications it is mandatory to take the tests of open assessments and Scrum quizzes.

And the last great resource about Scrum comes in the form of a video course and can be found on Scrum Alliance.

Scrum is a lightweight framework that helps people and organizations develop complex products. In the programming world Scrum is becoming a standard. Of course many organizations don’t follow the book (Scrum guide) and implement just a part of the Scrum elements. This is not Scrum, to be Scrum all Scrum elements must be implemented.

Scrum is founded upon empiricism and lean thinking. Empiricism states that learning comes from experience and observations while lean thinking reduces waste and focuses on the essentials.

Scrum combines four formal events (sprint planning, daily scrum meeting, sprint review and sprint retrospective) for inspection and adaptation into a containing event called the sprint. Scrum is founded on the empirical pillars of transparency, inspection and adaptation.

There are five scrum values: commitment (the scrum team commits to achieve its goal – the sprint goal), focus (the scrum team is focused on the sprint work), openness (the members involved in scrum are open about the work and the challenges), respect (scrum team members respect each other to be capable and independent) and courage (the scrum team has the courage to do the wright thing and work on tough problems).

The Scrum team consists of one Scrum master, one Product owner and Developers and it should consist of 10 or fewer people. Large enough to be able to complete significant work but small enough to be able to communicate efficiently and be productive. Developers are responsible for creating a working product increment at the end of each sprint, the Product owner orders the work to be done and is responsible for the product backlog. The Scrum master is responsible for establishing Scrum in the organization as described in the Scrum guide and also maximizes the efficiency of the Scrum team by supporting Scrum practices.

Scrum events:

The sprint has a fixed length of one month or less and a sprint starts immediately after the previous one. During the sprint no changes are made that would endanger the sprint goal, the product backlog is refined and scope can be negotiated with the product owner.

Spring planning initiates the sprint by establishing the work to be done in the sprint. Sprint planning answers three questions: why is this sprint valuable? what can be done this sprint? and how will the chosen work will be done? The sprint planning is also the place to estimate items in both story points and time. The sprint goal, the product backlog items selected for the sprint plus the plan to deliver them are referred to as the sprint backlog. The timebox of sprint planning is a maximum of eight hours for a one month sprint.

Daily scrum is the place to inspect progress toward the sprint goal and to adapt the sprint backlog as necessary. The daily scrum has a timebox of maximum 15 minutes, involved only the developers of the scrum team and typically they answer the following questions: what have you done yesterday? what will you do today? and do you have any blockers?

Sprint review has the purpose of reviewing the outcome of the sprint and decide future adaptations. During this event the scrum team and stakeholders review what has been accomplished in the sprint. The sprint review has a time box of maximum 4 hours for a one month sprint.

Finally the sprint retrospective is the last event of the sprint. Its goal is to inspect the sprint regarding to its individuals, interactions, processes, tools, and their definition of done. The sprint retrospective timebox is a maximum of three hours for a one month sprint.

The scrum artifacts: product backlog with its product goal, sprint backlog with its sprint goal and the increment with its definition of done. The product backlog is an ordered list of items and is the only source of work for the scrum team. The product goal is a future state of the product and is the target of the scrum team. The sprint backlog is the why, what and how of the sprint. The sprint goal is the single objective for the sprint. The increment is the conclusion of the sprint as a working version of the product. A sprint can contain multiple increments. The definition of done contains the requirements of each item of the increment.

Many people regard Scrum as a 3-5-3 scheme: 3 roles, 5 events and 3 outputs (the artifacts).

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