Scrum Method explained
Scrum Method: this article explains the Scrum Method in a practical way. After reading you will understand the basics of this powerful software project management tool. This article also contains a downloadable and editable Scrum Sprint Goal template.
What is the Scrum Method?
Scrum is a framework for software-development. It is a flexible way of developing and creating software and it provides a framework for general product development that can also be applied outside the ICT sector.
Scrum is an offshoot of the Agile branch of which the Japanese management thinkers Hirotaka Takeuchi and Ikujiro Nonaka are considered to be the founding fathers.
Why is it called a Scrum?
The term “Scrum” has its origins in rugby, a sport which revolves around cooperation, adaptability, speed and self-direction of the rugby team. In a scrum the team jointly tries to reach a goal and win the match. In addition to cooperation, the player must rapidly respond to changes.
Scrum and sprints
The Scrum Method is characterized by short sprints. These are fixed time frames of 1 to 4 weeks within which the working software is delivered by the team. During each sprint, the end product is further extended and improved by the team.
These fixed time frames ensure a regular delivery and they determine the rhythm of the team. Each sprint has a purpose which gives the team a clear focus. The team is responsible for the way in which the goal is reached.
They will often do this using pre-established items, that have been sufficiently specified so that they can be turned into working software within the sprint.
The requirements these items have to comply with are laid down in writing in advance. The team jointly determines which of the items should be given priority. The tool is used together with helpful techniques, like burndown charts for planning.
Scrum Method: the role of a Scrum master within a Scrum team
All Scrum teams are headed by a so-called Scrum Master. This person brings the team together and takes on one of the most important scrum roles.
He or she is responsible for the sprint planning, the spring reviews, supervising the daily scrum stand up meetings and much more. During the daily scrum meeting, the team meets for up to 15 minutes to discuss progress and planning for each day. The team also comes together after every sprint, but then for a sprint review.
Who is the product owner?
In addition, the product owner plays an important role in the scrum process. This person is the single point of contact about the content of the Scrum Project and ensures that all interests are met.
The product owner is fully responsible for maintaining the product backlog. The product backlog is the first of 3 scrum artifacts in the Scrum Method. In this, the interests and requirements of the customer are converted into backlog items.
It does not specify anything about the way of working, but it is indispensable for prioritizing certain important items on the list. The requirements of the software are determined in an earlier stage of the planning process. This is done with methods like user stories.
The second scrum artifact is the sprint backlog. This is the collection of all items on the product backlog for a specific sprint.
This list changes when the next sprint is started. Usually, the scrum events that have to be performed during a sprint are presented on a so-called sprint board. The tasks are time boxed, which means that is a fixed amount of time allocated for each task.
The third scrum artifact is the increment. An increment is a concrete step towards the end goal. It can be viewed as the completion of a task on the product or sprint backlog.
Application of the Scrum Method
The Scrum Method has gained a great reputation within software development. Today, this methodology is applied in multinationals and smaller businesses and it is used for complex and less complex projects.
Because of its transparency and simplicity, this methodology can easily be combined with other methodologies such as Prince2, CMM and ITIL Foundation. Because this methodology ensures a reduction of transmission times and procedures, these other methodologies can be applied more effectively.
Scrum is often used in product development, of which the user has not yet considered the ultimate goal. By means of this methodology, the demands and requirements are increasingly better described and transformed into useful products.
In most cases, the user does not know what he wants until he has seen the prototype, after which adjustments and changes can still be made. This flexibility is characteristic of this methodology. In addition, this methodology is extremely popular because of the fact that it is so simple to use.
Scrum Method and multidisciplinary teams
Scrum falls within the Agile software development framework that can be used to develop software in a team. The strength lies in working with multidisciplinary teams that collaborate on a project. This methodology assumes that the team has the required knowledge itself as a result of which everyone is involved in the planning, identification of blockages and the division of tasks.
Scrum Sprint Goal template
Do you want a simple way to list your Scrum Sprint Goal? Start describing goals with this ready to use Scrum Sprint Goal template.
Download the Scrum Sprint Goal templateThis template is exclusively for our paying Toolshero members. Click here to see if a membership is something for you!
Core values of the Scrum Method
This methodology facilitates project-based work. However, the following core values must be followed.
The team should be open to connect with each other and to be willing to work on realistic and challenging goals in an engaged manner. Freedom and self-direction are important to attain these goals within the frameworks.
Open and transparent communications inspire confidence and removes the barrier to solve problems jointly and end encourages people to help each other.
Despite cooperation in a group, it is important to show courage as an individual and take independent and necessary decisions. Showing courage promotes creativity and lateral problem-solving.
The team must not lose sight of the common goals and they should be motivated to cooperate with each other in an effective manner. This is an important core value of the Scrum Method
By respecting each other, people can encourage each other as a result of which they are prepared to tackle problems together and not shift them onto others.
The Scrum Method is popular
Scrum is an agile methodology which is also applied outside of the ICT sector. Because of its simplicity and result-orientation, it is popular with both self-directing teams and clients.
For this methodology to be successful, it is necessary that the team is disciplined enough to be extremely transparent about the progress of the project and that it continuously searches for the best possible performance. After all, there is a reason why this methodology is based on the ‘best practices’ used in the Japanese industry.
It’s Your Turn
What do you think? Is the Scrum Methodology still applicable in today’s modern economy and software deployment environments? Do you see similarities with other agile frameworks? Do you recognize the practical explanation or do you have more suggestions?
Share your experience and knowledge in the comments box below.
- Rubin, K. S. (2012). Essential Scrum: A Practical Guide to the Most Popular Agile Process. Addison-Wesley Professional.
- Schwaber, K. (1997). Scrum development process. In Business Object Design and Implementation (pp. 117-134). Springer London.
- Schwaber, K., & Sutherland, J. (2011). The scrum guide. Scrum Alliance.
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Mulder, P. (2015). Scrum Method. Retrieved [insert date] from Toolshero: https://www.toolshero.com/information-technology/scrum-method/
Published on: 03/23/2015 | Last update: 04/03/2023
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