What Is Scrum? A Guide to Get You Started

Scrum is a common term that is thrown about in the web development world. In this article, we will look into what exactly it constitutes and its various features. Imagine a framework used in software development, sales, marketing, advanced technologies, and now, just about every organization in the world. A framework that can help teams work towards goals divided into iterations, and can help them achieve the organization's goals. In this article, we’ll be covering the following topics: 

  • What is Agile?
  • History of Scrum
  • What is Scrum?
  • Members of a Scrum team
  • Understanding Scrum Values and Principles
  • Scrum Artifacts
  • Scrum Framework
  •  Scrum Board

Now, before we go any further, let’s look at Scrum’s parent methodology - Agile.  So, here is what Agile is.

What Is Agile?

Agile is a collection of methods and practices that focuses on iterative development. It is time-boxed and iterative, focusing on delivering products incrementally throughout the project, rather than all at once, in the end. 

The shorter projects are completed in short two-to-four week cycles called iterations. The requirements and solutions are obtained with the collaboration of self-organizing cross-functional teams. Some of the popular Agile methodologies are Scrum, Kanban, XP, Lean, Crystal, etc. 

Now that we’ve understood what Agile is, let’s talk about the evolution of Scrum over the years.

History of Scrum

1986

The name Scrum is first introduced by management experts Ikujiro Nonaka and Hirotaka Takeuchi.

1995

Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber create the early versions of what would become the Agile methodology.

2001

The Agile Alliance is founded, and the first book on Scrum, the Agile Software Development with Scrum, is published.

2002

Schwaber found the Scrum Alliance, and certifications are added.

2006

Scrum Inc. is created and is in full swing. The certified Scrum courses are taught to users across the world.

2009

Scrum.org is created. It offers the professional Scrum series to users.

2010

The first Scrum guide is published. 

Now, let’s answer the primary question - what is Scrum?

What Is Scrum?

Scrum is a popular framework that enables teams to work together. Based on Agile principles, Scrum enables the development, delivery, and sustenance of complex projects. It enables teams to hypothesize how they think something works, try it out, learn and reflect from their experiences, and make appropriate changes. 

With Scrum:

  • Project deliverables are completed quickly and efficiently
  • Time and money are used properly
  • Projects are manageable since they’re divided into smaller units called sprints
  • Teams have greater visibility, thanks to scrum meetings and stand-up sessions
  • There’s constant feedback from customers and clients 
  • Individual efforts of the team members can be focused on

Now, let’s look into the members of a Scrum team. 

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Members of a Scrum Team

The Scrum team involves three significant roles.

Product Owner:

  • A product owner is an individual responsible for understanding what the customer/ clients and to determine the business value of those wants. 
  • The product owner must be able to maximize ROI by determining the product features, listing it out, prioritizing it, what needs to be focused on for upcoming sprints, prioritizing it, and making refinements. 
  • The product owner takes decisions required to complete the project and manages the project backlog. 

Scrum Master:

  • The Scrum master helps teams learn and apply the concepts of Scrum to obtain business value. 
  • The Scrum Master makes sure the team is accountable for achieving the organization's business goals and removing impediments that may decrease the team's productivity. 
  • He/ She also helps the team adopt Scrum methodologies. 
  • They’re also responsible for organizing critical Scrum events and meetings.

Scrum Team

The Scrum team is a collection of individuals that work together to deliver the requirements of the stakeholders and clients.

Detailing Scrum: Understanding Scrum Values and Principles

The Scrum framework confines itself to software development activities. To get a proper hang of what Scrum is, we must know what could be addressed as ‘Scrum values and principles.’ The Scrum values and principles are what constitute the Scrum framework. 

Scrum takes into consideration the following values that revolve around it:

  • Commitment

    Members within the Scrum framework are committed not only to the people but also to each other and the goals that are intended to be achieved. One of these goals is termed as ‘sprint-based goals’ in which team members are required to keep their goals realistic and be efficient enough to achieve them within a short period.
  • Focus

    Focus is an iterative-incremental approach. Delivery on time and meeting the expectations of the target audience works as an impetus to stay motivated and focused on the goals. This further saves the company from jeopardizing its position and reputation.
  • Openness

    Openness, which is also synonymous with transparency, is one of the primary criteria in every professional field. No person can handle the operations of a company or an organization alone and hence has to work with a team. To work with a team, one needs to be open about ideas and issues because being opaque can cause miscommunication, thereby dismantling the entire functioning.
  • Respect

    Respect is very much the same as openness. Respecting each other’s ideas helps maintain harmony amongst the members of the team functioning within the Scrum network.
  • Courage

    The Scrum framework has specifically been designed for the business sector where risks and the requirement to change under any circumstances or for any prospect in the future go hand-in-hand. Team members should be courageous to welcome any such change or challenge. This will increase the chances of the betterment of the performance of team members and inevitably of the company. It is one of the approaches that inspired the Agile Manifesto, articulating a set of values and principles to direct decisions on how to produce software of higher quality more quickly.

Scrum Artifacts

Scrum artifacts are the main components of the Scrum process. These artifacts enable you to improve transparency and the team’s understanding of the work that they’re doing. The artifacts are:

Product Backlog 

The product backlog consists of a list of new features, the changes made to existing features, bug fixes, changes to the infrastructure, and other artifacts that need to be completed to ensure the team satisfies a particular requirement. It is a source of all things the team works on. 

Sprint Backlog

Before we understand the sprint backlog, let’s understand what a sprint is.

A sprint refers to a period during which the team completes a particular task. With sprints, teams can provide workable outputs at the end of each sprint. Sprints are usually one to four weeks long. 

The sprint backlog is a subset of the product backlog that contains tasks that the team aims to complete to satisfy goals that were decided based on negotiations between the product owner and the team. Tasks are identified from the product backlog and are added to the sprint backlog. 

Product Increment

The product increment is a collection of all the product backlog items tasks completed as part of a sprint and the value of the increments of earlier sprints. Increments refer to inspectable and usable work done at the end of the sprint. It represents a step towards the overall goal of the organization. The outcome must be in functional condition, even if the product owner doesn’t decide to release it. 

Now, let’s take a look at the Scrum framework. 

Scrum Framework

Now we’ve answered what Scrum is, and have covered concepts of the Scrum team and Scrum artifacts, let’s talk about the steps within the Scrum process.

Product Backlog

The first step is to create a list of tasks that need to be completed to achieve the requirements of the stakeholders/ clients

Sprint Planning

During this stage, the team determines the tasks from the product backlog that they want to work towards completing during the sprint

Sprint Backlog

The tasks discussed during the sprint planning are added to the sprint backlog

Scrum Team

The Scrum team (usually consists of 5 to 9 members) works on the tasks mentioned in the sprint backlog.

Daily Scrum

The team will have daily Scrum meetings, which are 15-minute sessions, during which the team members synchronize their activities and plan their activities for the day.

Sprint Review

After a sprint is completed, a sprint review takes place. Involving the team, scrum master, product owner, and stakeholders, the sprint review shows what the team accomplished during the sprint. During the meeting, questions are asked, observations are made, feedback and suggestions are also given. 

Product Backlog

At this point, the product owner presents the product backlogs to the stakeholders for suggestions for tasks that can be added in the upcoming sprints, and so on. 

Sprint Retrospective

After the sprint review, the sprint retrospective takes place. During this meeting, past mistakes, potential issues, and new ways to handle them are identified. Data from here is incorporated when planning the new sprint.

Increment

A workable output is provided to the stakeholders. 

Next, let’s have a look at what exactly a Scrum board is.

Scrum Board

The Scrum board is a physical/ virtual tool that helps the team visualize items that are part of the sprint backlog. It shows all action items that need to be completed during the sprint, keeping the team focused on the task they must complete during the sprint. The board is present in a place that’s easily accessible to all team members and can be either physical (whiteboard/ stickers) or virtual (software tools). The board is divided into slots like to-do, in-progress, and done. When the new sprints are started, the board is reset, and a new board is created. 

Conclusion

So in this article, we covered topics like what is Agile, what is Scrum, Scrum teams, artifacts, framework, and Scrum board. Now that you know the basic concepts, you must be wondering what the next step is?

You can check out Simplilearn’s Agile Scrum Master Certification Training Course. We cover how Agile can be implemented in the course, different Agile methodologies, Scrum concepts, and much more in detail. The course will also enhance your ability to develop and deliver quality products to customers. 

And in case, you have any questions, let us know in the comment section below, and our experts will get back to you right away.

About the Author

Nikita DuggalNikita Duggal

Nikita Duggal is a passionate digital nomad with a major in English language and literature, a word connoisseur who loves writing about raging technologies, digital marketing, and career conundrums.

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