Brief Overview of Scrum

Having seen product launches across the spectrum of pure agile to hybrid agile, I thought of summarizing the basics of Scrum that must be followed in order to call a project, a scrum-driven project.

Scrum is founded on ‘empirical process control theory, or empiricism’. Three pillars uphold every implementation of this theory: transparency, inspection, and adaptation. It employs an ‘iterative incremental approach to optimize predictability and control risk’.

Scrum proposed fixed-length and fixed-cadence sprints that should be 4 weeks or less, and should be protected from interruptions.

Adherence to the SCRUM framework implies:

  • Three Roles: Scrum Master, Product Owner and the Development Team.
  • Three Essential Artifacts: Product Backlog, Sprint Backlog and the Product Increment.
  • Five Events, in their order of occurrence:
    • Spring Planning, to answer what can delivered from the prioritized Product Backlog, and how will the work needed to deliver increment be achieved. This is a 8 hour time-boxed meeting for a 1-month sprint
    • Daily Scrum, to inspect progress towards the Sprint Goal. Time-boxed to 15 minutes.
    • Sprint Review, to inspect the product increment, elicit feedback from stakeholders, and adapt the Product Backlog if needed; Time-boxed to 4 hours for a 1-month sprint.
    • Sprint Retrospective, where the Scrum Team inspects itself, and creates a plan for improvements to be enacted during the next sprint. Time-boxed to 3 hours for a 1-month sprint.
    • Product Backlog Refinement, is an ongoing activity owned by the Product Owner with support from the Development Team and stakeholders. As a product owner, the focus is on helping the Scrum Team do the most valuable stuff first.

Sometimes, the teams could be distributed across geographies. Since scrum values face-to-face conversations, in this scenario, the recommendation would be to experiment with co-located scrum teams per geo. An onsite Product Owner and offshore Development Team model leads to burnout.

Closing with a quote from Jeff Sutherland, the co-creator of Scrum.

‘Scrum is supposed to be fast, easy and fun. If it’s slow, hard, and painful, you’re doing it wrong.’

Recommended resources: