Scrum as an agile framework is the collaborative effort of a number of self-organizing and cross-functional teams who work along their end users and customers.
The method makes use of adaptive planning, development, delivery and continuous improvement along with flexible and rapid response to change.
When using the agile framework for developing software, a team of 3 to 9 developers gather as main users and divide their work into smaller schedules. These schedules are time-boxed iterations, known as ‘sprints’, which can be tracked and re-planned depending on evolving user requirements.
One way of continuous tracking is with the help of a 15 minute meeting known as Daily Scrums. In order to coordinate the work of multiple scrum teams in a larger organization it requires them to use Large-scale Scrum (LeSS), scrum of scrums and Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe).
The Key Idea Behind Scrum
Scrum provides a context in which companies are given an opportunity to address complex adaptive problems, while delivering products of highest value whilst making use of their resources productively and creatively.
It is a highly effective team collaboration tool for managing complex products.
Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland, the creators of Scrum in their resource ‘The Scrum Guide’ explain the working model and usefulness of Scrum clearly. Some of its characteristic features include:
- Light weight
- Simple to understand
- Difficult to master
It might sound complicated, but Scrum is rather simple. It is not a methodology. Rather, it implements the scientific method of empiricism. With the help of a programmed algorithmic approach, it makes easy for people and self-organizations to deal with unpredictability and complex problems.
The Scrum Values
Scrum values were added to the Scrum Guide in July 2016. Some of the Scrum values include: focus, courage, commitment, openness and respect.
Roles of the Scrum Team
A distinct Scrum Team is composed of a Product Owner, a Scrum Master and the Development Team.
The self-organizing teams decide how to do their work as a self-sufficient group rather than taking instructions from people. On the other hand, cross functional teams have a wide variety of elements in it so that it can complete the work on its own.
5 Formal Scrum Events For Inspection and Adaptation
Scrum is modeled to work by optimizing flexibility, productivity and creativity.
For companies who regularly use Scrum in order to reduce the need of conducting meetings. All of the events are time-boxed for saving productivity time. Once a Sprint begins, it is impossible to slow it down or stop it. There is no way that a Sprint can be stopped or its time length can be altered.
These five events are:
- Sprint Planning
- Daily Scrum
- Sprint Review
- Sprint Retrospective
- The Sprint
1. Sprint Planning:
During Sprint Planning, the work allocated during Sprint is done and everyone in the team contributes to it. The time allotted to sprint planning is a maximum of 8 hours for deciding the goal of one Sprint lasting 1 month.
If the Sprint is shorter, lesser time is allocated to Sprint Planning. It is the duty of Scrum Master to ensure that every one of the Scrum Team is present in the planning process and understands the necessity of this drill. In addition it is ensured that the Scrum Team sticks to the allocated time frame.
Some of the answers that are sought during a planning session are:
- What can be delivered by the upcoming Sprint?
- How will the work be done in order to achieve the goal?
2. Daily Scrum
Daily Scrum is a daily 15-minute time boxed event in which all the members of the team meet and make plans for the next 24 hours in order to meet the ultimate Goal.
3. Sprint Review
After the end of every Sprint, a Sprint Review is set up for investigating whether the Goal was met in the stipulated time period, any bugs detected and to decide how to clear the Product backlog, if there is any.
Based on a Review, the team decides what steps need to be taken in order to optimize the value and decrease the incidents of Products backlog.
4. Sprint Retrospective
This event gives an opportunity to the Sprint team to inspect itself and create a plan that can be implemented next time for the next Sprint. This event occurs after Sprint Review and the time allotted to it is a maximum of 3 hours. If the Sprints are shorter, this event gets further shortened. Following points are considered during the event:
- What went well during the Sprint
- What factors can be improved
5. The Sprint:
Sprint has a defined time-box during which the job needs to be done. The time period fixed for a sprint is usually one month or less. As soon as one Sprint is over, another begins automatically. They have consistent duration throughout the project. Some of the features of Sprint are as follows:
- No changes can be made that have the ability to endanger the Sprint Goal
- Quality goals cannot be reduced
- Scope can be clarified and re-negotiated between the Development Team and the Product Owner as the project progresses
The duration of Sprint is fixed to one month because if longer time is allocated to it, complexities might arise and therefore risks might increase. They help in increasing predictability and reducing risk.
Finally, Scrum is driven by feedback mechanism and stands on the three strong pillars of inspection, transparency and adaptation. It is all about humanizing the entire process of software development that can be optimized to create better products.