What is Scrum?

Scrum framework helps teams develop product aligned with customer needs and helps them do it faster.

Scrum is popularly known as a minimalistic framework because of following characteristics –

  1. The product is built on incremental basis incorporating customer requirements.
  2. It facilitates collaboration between team and customer for the end goal.
  3. It captures continuous feedback
  4. It enhances the learning curve.
  5. It covers only scrum development process and does not touch upon issues of organization behavior, resources, finance. The concerned teams figure this out on their own. Since each team works in a unique context, the additional processes are highly context sensitive.

I often apply battlefield analogy to today’s complex projects and as you know “No Battle Plan Survives Contact with the Enemy”. The choice is very clear, if you go for a detailed plan in advance, you are likely to overlook the learning you will have during the product development process.

The way I look at Scrum, it’s a Continuous cycle of SAS – Sense –> Aim –> Shoot.

That is, We need to sense our environment as much we can before we set the aim , many of us know this as planning and learning from past experiences,

Once we have sense of environment we set the aim, we identify the target, and shoot at the target , unfortunately in complex market the targets keep moving and result of shoot is also unpredictable. We need to sense again before we fire next round of bullets. And the cycle goes on.

Its like an intense commando operation often pictured in a Hollywood movie. The target is constantly moving and the protagonist will keep responding to the change until he hits the objective.

Understand Scrum framework in 60 seconds

  • Create Scrum Team having three Roles, Product Owner, Scrum Master and Development Team Members
  • Product Owner owns the product, what is included in the product is decided by Product Owner
  • Development Team is responsible to develop the product, they need to manage their own work and they are also accountable for their work.
  • ScrumMaster keeps the development team focused and he also resolves impediments (issues etc) to keep development team moving.
  • A product owner keeps prioritized wish list of product features and this list is called product backlog.
  • Scrum team work in short cycle(usually two to four weeks) and they call it Sprint, Sprint is time boxed , mean the cycle starts on defined date and finished on fix date.
  • In the beginning of the Sprint Cycle, Scrum team do sprint planning meeting .During sprint planning, the team pulls items from the top of product backlog and create detailed plan to work on it.
  • The plan made for Sprint Duration in Sprint Planning meeting is called Sprint Backlog, sprint backlog gets modified many time during the sprint as team learn something new.
  • The team meets each day to assess its progress towards the Sprint Goal and this meeting last for 15 minutes (daily Scrum).
  • The sprint ends with a sprint review and retrospective.
  • The sprint ends with a sprint review and retrospective.
  • In Sprint Retrospective Team reflect on how to improve the development process next time to make it more effective.
  • The sprint ends and another sprint starts, same cycle get repeated

The Scrum Guide contains the definition of Scrum.

Here is quick video on Scrum Framework