What is Scrum?
Jul 30, 2012
Suresh Vasudev
4 minute read

Scrum is a framework for organizing and managing work. Scrum consists of Roles, Activities, Artifacts and Rules.

In this article we will discuss about the Roles, Activities and Artifacts

Roles in Scrum framework

Product Owner

The product owner is responsible for deciding which features and functionality to be build and the order in which to build them. Product Owner needs to maintain and communicate a clear vision to all other participants in the scrum team regarding what needs to be achieved.

Scrum Master

The Scrum Master helps everyone to understand and embrace the Scrum values, principles and practices. The Scrum master functions as a leader and not as manager.

Development Team

The development team self organizes to determine the best way to accomplish the goal set out by the product owner. The development team is typically 5 to 9 member in size.

Scrum

Activities and Artefacts in Scrum framework

Grooming

The product owner is mainly responsible for product enhancement based on market or customer demand. So all these enhancements will be converted to software requirements and will be refined, prioritized and maintained as a list. This list is known as Product Backlog.

The Product Backlog, which is an artefact, will be the superset of all the pending features of the product. It is a constantly evolving artifact and it is the responsibility of the product owner to maintain it by closely interacting with stakeholders. The items in the product backlog can be added, deleted and refined frequently. This process of creating and refining product backlog items, estimating them, and prioritizing them is known as Grooming.

Sprint Planning

Sprint is a time boxed development period with a fixed start and end date. Each Sprint generally will have the same duration and each sprint should create some tangible value to the customer by implementing some features to the product.

The Sprint planning is a process where the development team will identify the high priority items that will be implemented in the sprint. The product owner, scrum master and the development team will participate in the sprint planning. During this process the development team and the product owner will agree on the items to be considered for the sprint and this list is known as the Sprint Backlog.

Forecast or Commitment

The Sprint Backlog, which is an artifact, is the list of items that the development team will consider for the current sprint. Once it is identified, the development team will break each item in it to tasks and do the estimation. They may de-scope or add new items based on the estimation. The outcome of sprint backlog with estimation is generally known as Forecast or Commitment.

Forecast and Commitment are used interchangeably as it is not necessary to implement all items in the sprint backlog at the end of the sprint. However many times business wants the sprint backlog as committed delivery list from the development team.

Sprint Execution

Once the forecast or commitment is made by the development team, they will focus on implementing the spring backlog under the guidance of the Scrum Master. This will be like the development phase of any other software development process model.

The outcome of the Sprint is the implementation of the sprint backlog which is known as Potentially Shippable Product Increment.

Daily Scrum

Scrum Master will conduct a 15 minute daily scrum during each day of the Sprint, which is a stand-up meeting. Each member will talk about three points

  • What is achieved from the last scrum?
  • What will be doing?
  • What are the obstacles and impediments?

The objective of the daily scrum is for everyone to get the big picture of what is happening, how they are progressing and for deciding any modifications to be done to the current plan. Daily scrum is not a problem solving activity or a status meeting.

Sprint Review: (an Inspect-and-adapt activity)

It is the process where stake holders and sprint team will evaluate the completed features of this sprint. The development team may do a demo of new features and stakeholders will get an idea of what is going to come in coming release.

It is not necessary that the “Potentially Shippable Product Increment “, which is the outcome of the sprint needs to be released. It is the call of the business to decide on whether it needs to be released or not. This review will help the business and stakeholders to take that decision.

Sprint Retrospective: (an Inspect-and-adapt activity)

It is conducted by the Scrum team to evaluate the scrum process they followed in the completed sprint. This review will happen before the start of next sprint. They will make adjustments to the scrum process based on the lessons learned.