“Scrum” and “Agile” terms can confuse newcomers in regards to their meanings and implementation. It may seem that they are used interchangeably. However, there are important distinctions.
Agile is a set of methods and practices based on the values and principles expressed in the Agile Manifesto. Scrum is one of the methods to implement Agile development.
What is Scrum?
Scrum helps to achieve agility. The method of iterative and incremental product delivery implicates frequent feedback and collaborative decision-making principles. A sprint is an element that represent a Scrum process.
Using Scrum, product teams may rapidly respond to changes within product management. They break large projects into smaller stages, review and adapt them along the way.
The roots of the Scrum concept are related to 1986 and such names as H.Takeuchi and I.Nonaka who compared high-performing, cross-functional teams to the Scrum formation used by rugby teams.
Who benefits from Scrum?
It is believed that Scrum methodology is something limited to developers or software engineers. However, the approach can be beneficial for other types of projects. For example, marketing departments that need to write copy for a project may succeed with it.
Everyone from advertising agencies to construction bureaus has used Scrum. It helps to organize and manage a team and get more work done in less time.
Iteration and Improvement
The idea of iteration and improvement also makes Scrum so potentially powerful.
The work should be ready to deliver to a client at the end of each Sprint. It means that the work should be complete to show MVP (Minimum Viable Product, in startup parlance). It is important because it allows collecting feedback from users early to ensure a good fit with the user.
Beyond the importance of iterations and improvements for the product, Scrum also focuses on improving the process with each new cycle.
Three main roles compose Scrum methodology’s concept: a Scrum Master, a Product Owner and team members.
Scrum Master is the key person. They keep processes, protect the team and act as its advocate. The key responsibilities of Scrum masters are:
- Facilitate team communication
- Manage all processes
- Removes obstacles
- Arrange discussions and negotiate with external world.
- Improve the efficiency of the dev team
- Schedule daily meetings and other meetings
- Arrange demos
- Assist Product Owners in maintaining a product backlog
A Product Owner makes global product decisions and maintain a product backlog in a good shape as well as prioritize all backlog items.
They cooperate with the team daily and provide a real business goal of the project for everyone. Their responsible is to provide the main idea of the project and to care about financial success. The other responsibilities of the PO are:
- Satisfy the needs and wishes of clients
- Create a high-quality working plan
- Prioritize tasks and define the most relevant features
- Provide necessary resources for tasks/features implementation
- Work on project budgeting
- Accept working progress reports
A team usually involves 6-8 members who are responsible for product delivery. They make task commitments and estimate. They also take part in daily Scrum meetings and report their statuses.
Key Scrum elements
Scrum requires few artifacts and concentrates on delivering software that produces business value.
The main Scrum elements are:
- Product backlog. It is a set of functionality that should be added to the product. Product Owners are those people, who typically responsible for prioritizing the backlog.
- Sprint backlog is a prioritized list of tasks the team needs to complete within a Sprint.
- Backlog refinement. This is a permanent event that is aimed to allow the team to work on the most valuable features.
- Burndown chart. This diagram demonstrates the amount of work remaining in a Sprint. Burndown charts provide a clear way to determine whether a Sprint is on schedule to have all planned issues finished.
Required and optional Scrum ceremonies
There are required meetings that are must have in Scrum:
- Sprint planning meetings
- Daily meeting
- Sprint review
- Retrospective meeting
A release-planning meeting can be optional.
- Sprint planning is held on the 1st day of every sprint. It requires the participation of all the roles and goes in the following way: a Product Owner presents the features to be completed in a Sprint and team members determine tasks to implement these features. Then everyone reviews estimates and the team commits to the Sprint. If not, the features with low priority go back into the backlog.
- Daily meetings are held to track progress. In order to easily visualize all tasks and progress, it’s worth to use convenient task boards. With the help of cards and boards, you may track the progress of tasks for each feature.
- Sprint review allows attracting stakeholders to make a review at the end of the sprint. They analyze all the features that were completed and request feedback.
- Release planning is aimed to perform long-term planning for multiple sprints. Such a meeting is been performed quarterly. All team members should participate. During the meeting, the PO presents the features to be completed in the following quarter.
Scrum methodology advantages
Various interesting and powerful frameworks represent the Agile family, but Scrum approach has own strong sides and benefits. Here are the most relevant:
- Scrum is quite easy to implement and it consists of few artifacts.
- Scrum is one of the most customer-focused methods as a customer is the center od the development process.
- Scrum is transparent, because all team members work closely together in scrum and try to achieve a common goal.
- All Scrum team members feel flexible to evolve business goals and altering requirements.
- The methodology engages all stakeholders. Daily standups meetings improve this transparency and stimulate feedback.
Run Scrum with Hygger
Hygger offers a smart toolkit for working with Scrum.
Manage your product backlog and run sprints with selected stories and tasks.
Using Hygger tolls you are able to plan and run sprints, track progress, categorize tasks with Labels and Swimlanes, estimate items and track time, limit Work in Progress, analyze sprints' results and more.
Create a simple Sprint board.
Fill the board with tasks, evaluate them and launch the first Sprint. When all necessary estimations are done, you can start a new Sprint.
Ready to implement Scrum methodology? Find out more in a guide How to Do Scrum with Hygger Software.
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