Ultimate Learning Guide To Scrum
Not one project is the same. They come in all different types. This is why there are a different set of ways to execute and manage different projects. One way that many different companies and individuals have found helpful is the Scrum project management. It’s a process that involves a more intelligent way of working so that you’re able to complete more tasks. This guide is meant for those who are new to the process, or for those who need a quick brush up. It will go over the basics of Scrum while keeping in mind that the larger picture of Scrum is more complicated.
What is Scrum?
Scrum is one of the most popular agile systems out there currently. It helps teams deliver customer value early and often in a highly predictable way. In general, it helps groups produce something in thirty days or less. Groups can have a one, two, three, or four weeks spread. Scrum isn’t a methodology or a method. It’s a framework, which means you and your team will have to tailor Scrum to your specific needs. The good news is that it’s quite a simple process.
Scrum comes from rugby. Much like the sport, it involves a group of people trying to aggressively move the ball forward. They’re doing so by working as one unit of individual parts. This is different from other approaches, where one person is given a specific thing to do, and when they’re done with it, they pass on the proverbial baton to the next, until the project is finished. Scrum emphasizes a cross-functional team approach. All people on board must be pushing toward a common goal.
Published in 1995, the Scrum method was popularized by Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber (among many others who have helped to promote it).
Why Use Scrum?
Scrum is different from other approaches because it doesn’t give you answers to your problems. If anything, it helps to bring up more questions. The goal is to help you understand the inefficiencies, dysfunctions, and team allocations, to name a few. Scrum puts the responsibility of addressing the issues in your hands. One of the questions you may have when using Scrum, for instance, is “how do I get my team to work cross-functionally?” How do you break down those initial barriers in which people may see a specific part of the job or project as being specific to one person? Scrum gives you very easy rules to follow; the hard part comes with having a group follow them. They can be quite resistant to such an interconnected approach.
The Traditional Way
Traditionally speaking, you have a group of individuals who have different ideas. Each of the people wants to implement requirements. Some examples are hardware, software, and business type projects. In short, they need something done so they can improve their work. A sponsor is normally involved in this process. The sponsor will hire a project manager or recognize that someone needs to be a project manager. Their job is to make sure that funding goes through and to allocate responsibilities to the team members. The project manager will then, with the help of others, put forth a project plan. The project plan’s underlying goal is to find out when the team can get the project done. Many project plans are done in a detailed fashion, emphasizing the detail level estimates all upfront.
Continuing the process, the project manager takes the project plan and identifies resources that will be allocated to the team members. The business analyst usually takes on this responsibility. They gather the resources information needed. From here, the role of the software engineer comes in. They’re responsible for figuring out how this is all going to be implemented. Once done, they hand it over to the development team, who gets the project done. In many cases, their list of tasks is done on an hourly basis. When done, they hand over the work to the testing team, who makes sure that what the team said would get done gets done. They make sure that any defects or bugs are spotted and dealt with. Then the project is given off to the subject matter expert or a business customer who will do a user acceptance testing. Hopefully, at the end of this project, there’s a satisfactory product created.
The Scrum Way
So how does the Scrum way differ from the traditional way? The first thing that Scrum demands is that the list of details and desires at the beginning of the process are put into a priority list. The purpose is to prioritize it and rank it. Secondly comes the team. The team doesn’t work in a sequential process. The team comes together as one cross-functional team. They work together on the backlog. Now the project owner’s position comes into play. They’re the person in charge of the backlog and has to prioritize it so that the items that have the highest value are put to the top of the list. The project owner also needs a Scrum master. This is the individual who facilitates the entire process. The Scrum way generally breaks down to the following roles – the product backlog, project owner, the Scrum Master, and finally the team.
The Scrum way breaks down the team members involved in two groups: the committed versus the involved members. The committed team members are the product owner, Scrum Master, and the team. They’re called the committed team because, without them, the project will fail. They’re essential to success. They’re held accountable for the project’s results. The involved group is the stakeholders. Stakeholders can be users from other departments, managers of other areas, or other project managers. The reason why Scrum differentiates between the teams is that Scrum has specific rules for each of them.
The Scrum Roles
Product Owner: The product owner is critical to the success of the project. They’re responsible for maximizing the business value delivered by the team. In other words, they’re responsible for the return on investment, also known as ROI. If the team is working hard but the project isn’t going the way in should, an individual will go to the product owner and inquire about what’s holding the team back. Scrum demands that this role be implemented to one person, not a team. This will be one of the most difficult roles to fill for those who are used to giving the responsibilities to several different people. Scrum helps to make it so that there’s only one set of hands in the proverbial pot. It minimizes chaos. It helps the team to figure out who they need to satisfy. Their responsibilities also include rejecting or accepting work. They help define what “done” looks like for the team. The team may feel like it’s done, but the product owner is the one who has the final say. It’s important that the product owner is knowledgeable, engaged, and empowered. They need to be knowledgeable of the requirements that they’re asking for. They need to be able to make decisions and let people know “yes” or “no,” “do it this way,” or “do it that way.” They have to be engaged during the entire project, from start to finish.
Scrum Master: The Scrum Master is responsible for facilitating the Scrum project and making sure that the team is delivering value. They’re responsible for helping to build self-organizing teams – teams that can manage their work. Metaphorically speaking, the Scrum master is a hawk. They take note of the impediments in the process and swoop in a remove them as soon as possible so that things can continue to move forward. In doing so, they help keep the process healthy. They may educate the team so that they know what’s expected and makes sure that the rules are followed. They will even make sure that the project manager stays engaged. In short, they empower the team as the servant leader. It’s important to note that they’re not completing their role by controlling or micromanaging people. They’re doing it by empowering them.
The Team: The team is a cross-functional group of individuals. They’re responsible for turning the project backlog into potentially shippable products. In short, they’re responsible for getting items done. The typical Scrum team size is seven people, plus or minus two. The team isn’t a group of individuals responsible for specific things. It’s a group of testers, business analysts, developers, or even Scrum masters that you need to get the job done. They’re a self-organizing group, which means that they know how to get the work done within the overall project vision, they know how to break down the task, and they’re held accountable for their tasks.
They’re generalized specialists, meaning they’re moving away from the idea that they’re specializing in one specific role. The roles are purposely placed in the gray area so that if someone within the team can help with something, they can swoop in without hesitation. To keep things from becoming too overwhelming, the team delivers value in small chunks. Their main focus when delivering value in small chunks is the customer.
Scrum is one of the most popular and helpful agile frameworks. It’s an easy process to understand, but harder to implement because it goes against the grain. However, if you’re able to implement it within a project, you will find that you’re able to get quite a bit down in a remarkable amount of time. Take your time when implementing the Scrum method. It’s a conditioning process that will take people who are used to specializing in a specific role time to adjust to. But when they do, products will be flying off the shelves.
About This Guide
This scrum guide offers the most insightful articles, educational videos, expert insights, specialist tips and best free tutorials about scrum from around the internet. The learning guide is split into four levels: introduction, basics, advanced and expert. You can learn at your own pace. Each item shows an estimated reading or watching time, allowing you to easily plan when you want to read or watch each item. Below you’ll find a table of contents that enables you to easily find a specific topic you might be interested in.
What is Scrum?
What is Agile Scrum? Learn Scrum in under 10 minutes in this video introduction to the Scrum software development methodology. By the end of this fast-paced video, you’ll practically be a scrum master. You’ll know about burndown charts, team roles, product backlogs, sprints, daily scrums and more. You’ll also be ready to start implementing Scrum in your own team.
The Benefits of Scrum
Using Scrum, new features are developed incrementally in Sprints. At the end of each Sprint a potentially releasable Increment of Software/Product is available. This enables the product to potentially be released much earlier in the Development cycle enabling benefits to be realized earlier than otherwise may have been possible where we waited for the entire Product to be “complete” before a release.
Pros and Cons of Scrum
Scrum is a widely accepted Agile methodology for management and control of software projects; it is optimized to create product iterations on a regular basis. Scrum prospers by the well-defined user stories that can be accomplished and delivered separately, and it also leaves the decision to the team – how much to work during a sprint. Scrum applies common sense artifacts, such as the practice of daily stand-up meetings during which the team members will report on what they’ve done since the last stand-up.
History of Scrum
Industries, both IT and Non-IT, have undergone a Scrum revolution in the recent past. What started as a way of process simplification in a collaborative environment became an industry-wide phenomenon. Today, Scrum is a household name in the largely matured corporate ecosystem. The history of Scrum has a lot to unfold about the origin, evolution, and the progressive development of the framework.
Main Principles of Scrum Methodology
Scrum principles are the foundation on which the Scrum framework is based. The principles of Scrum can be applied to any type of project or organization, and they must be adhered to in order to ensure appropriate application of Scrum. The aspects and processes of Scrum can be modified to meet the requirements of the project, or the organization using it, but Scrum principles are non-negotiable and must be applied as described in the framework.
What are The 5 Scrum Values?
Scrum is a very popular and well-known framework for agile software development. A few years ago the Scrum added 5 values to the framework that each member of the team uses to guide his decision making. Not a lot of people know and understand these values, but they are critical to the successful implementation of scrum, deserving elaboration for the meaning of them here.
Scrum Roles: The Anatomy of a Scrum Team
There are only three major roles on a scrum team, and these roles don’t necessarily align with traditional project management.
The three scrum roles are as follows.
— Product Owner: The person with the product vision
— Scrum Master: The scrum expert who helps the team build the product according to the scrum framework
— Development Team: The team members who execute the work
Of course, these are broad strokes and are merely the beginning of a real understanding of these roles and how they work together. They might appear like traditional waterfall project management roles, with the product owner being the sponsor, and so on, but that’s not really the case. Let’s examine each role more closely for a more complete understanding of the scrum roles.
Agile vs. Waterfall vs. Kanban vs. Scrum: What’s the Difference?
Waterfall works best for projects completed in a linear fashion and does not allow going back to a prior phase. Agile focuses on adaptive, simultaneous workflows. Agile methods break projects into smaller, iterative periods. Kanban is primarily concerned with process improvements, while Scrum is concerned with getting more work done faster.
Differences: Scrum vs Lean
Lean is often applied in order to improve processes throughout entire organizations and their environs. Scrum, on the other hand, is applied within a team context, with teams no larger than 11 persons. In Lean, it is furthermore important that processes run in such a way that no waste takes place.
Scrum Product Owner Responsibilities
At the most basic level, a product owner is the leader responsible for maximizing the value of the products created by a scrum development team. But to do this, an agile product owner takes on several roles, including business strategist, product designer, market analyst, customer liaison, and project manager.
Challenges That Product Owners Face
I asked the people in my audience: what is the single most important challenge when working with Product Owners? And some of the answers were surprising!
As a result of that survey, I found out that most of you have a different experience. The problems you identified did not completely align with my experience. Here are the most common Product Owner anti-patterns that YOU face most often, from the most frequent to the least frequent.
What is a Scrum Master?
The scrum master is the person on the team who is responsible for managing the process, and only the process. They are not involved in the decision-making, but act as a lodestar to guide the team through the scrum process with their experience and expertise.
Scrum Master Role & Responsibilities
The Scrum process begins with setting product goals. Scrum Master collaborates with Product Owner to understand the vision for the software being built and the goals to be achieved. The Scrum Master formulates “User Stories” with the help of Product Owner. User Stories explains what the user wants and why they want it.
A Successful Scrum Master
I don’t believe that the important ScrumMaster title should be bestowed on someone just because he or she knows the Scrum rules and practices back to front. Instead, this title should be granted only to those who genuinely understand and can bring to life the underlying ethos of the role. That is, a ScrumMaster should truly understand what it means to be a servant-leader.
Building an Agile Team
Generating new ideas, exploring new technology and working with new people, while exhilarating, can be fraught with uncertainty. This article serves to help a ScrumMaster or Team Lead to build an effective Agile team from scratch when embarking a new project, which is essential for the project to succeed. The article will cover 3 main areas to setup an effective Agile team for project success: People, Process and Tools.
The Most Important Development Team Positions
People are a large part of the cost of any company – in some cases the highest cost. So it stands to reason that there’s a natural tension between paying well to find good people, and the need to lower the cost of those resources. In the rush to save costs, we’ve all seen people let go that really shouldn’t have been – and in other cases some folks stick around that need to go. How do you make those choices? Well, there are a lot of factors to consider, but if your firm has an IT focus, meaning that you sell software or develop software that is core to your organization’s business strategy, then certain positions can actually save or make you money – even when they are very expensive.
Scrum KPIs to Measure Performance
Scrum metrics and KPIs are part of a broader family of agile KPIs. Agile metrics include lean metrics, which focus on the flow of value from an organization to its customers, and Kanban metrics, which focus on workflow and getting tasks done. While most agile metrics are applicable to scrum teams, scrum-specific metrics focus on predictable software delivery, making sure scrum teams deliver maximum value to customers with every iteration.
How to Motivate The Scrum Team
Effective team management and collaboration are key to team motivation and productivity. Without the positivity and motivation of your teams and professionals, no matter which practice is adopted or no matter how much investment is on the paper, projects will not meet their much-needed success rate.
In this blog, we attempt to highlight the top six practices that you can implement and practice today to sustain and boost team motivation.
What is Timeboxing in Scrum?
Under the Scrum framework, all activities are time-boxed, also known as “timeboxing” or timeboxed, is to give a “fixed length” time segment to a specific event or activity. That unit of time is called a time box. The goal of timeboxing is to define and limit the amount of time dedicated to an activity. Scrum uses timeboxing for all of the Scrum events and as a tool for concretely defining open-ended or ambiguous tasks.
How To Run A Sprint Planning Meeting
The sprint planning meeting is an important ceremony for teams to conduct in order to create good work. In this article, I am going to unpack this particular meeting and offer up some helpful tips to make your next agile sprint planning meeting more efficient, effective, and less dreadful.
Planning Poker: An Agile Estimating and Planning Technique
Planning Poker is an agile estimating and planning technique that is consensus-based. To start a poker planning session, the product owner or customer reads an agile user story or describes a feature to the estimators.
The Story Grid – A Sprint Planning Technique
I, as ScrumMaster, could keep a running total of planned story points versus capacity but this was tedious to do and held in my head or on a piece of paper. The solution was to maintain a visual representation of the planned stories versus the total time available in the sprint which everyone could see: The Story Grid.
Why Scrum Fails and What You Can Do About It
Scrum prides itself on its simplistic and lightweight nature, yet it is estimated that almost half of all businesses fail to implement it correctly. So what is it about this seemingly out-of-the-box methodology that is proving so difficult to implement and what steps can be taken to ensure its success?
Scrum: How To Do Twice As Much In Half The Time
Co-writer of the Agile Manifesto, Jeff Sutherland is one of the world’s leading experts of organizational management. He’ll explain how to be agile, not just in software development but in every business to disrupt the field. A former US Air Force “Top Gun,” Jeff Sutherland is the co-creator of the SCRUM process. This methodology, developed in 1993 and formalized in 1995 with Ken Schwaber, has since been adopted by the vast majority of software development companies around the world.
User Story Creation for Agile Leaders
One of the biggest advantages of using an agile approach to software development is that the requirements aren’t set in stone but instead are expected to change, with constant feedback from stakeholders and the business. Agile methodologies such as Scrum and Extreme Programming (XP) replace traditional, lengthy requirements documents with a prioritized product backlog made up of concise user stories, the details of which emerge closer to when the story is ready to be implemented. Here are tools and tips to ensure everyone on your team is an expert in user story creation.
Scrum Process Best Practices
Let’s discuss the main recommendations to successfully run Scrum in your team. We’ve grouped our recommendations to five categories. We acknowledge that this division is largely conditional as recommendations and their groups intersect each other. For instance, meetings overlap with planning activities. However, the purpose of this division is to simplify your navigation.
You might not agree with me, but I feel that full-fat Agile (just like any other project management framework) can be quite cumbersome, unless you have a Traffic Manager or Scrum Master working with you 24/7 to take care of the admin overhead. So when I moved into my current role around a year ago (wow, time flies!), I decided that although I wanted to bring Agile in with me because it had proven extremely valuable in the past, I thought it might be best to go for a more manageable [tailored] version of the methodology; one that worked for the team. Agile-lite if you will.
When You Shouldn't Implement Scrum
One of the reasons why many teams don’t get the value out of Scrum they were hoping is that they are trying to use it in a situation or environment where it is not appropriate. No set of practices will work in every single context and Scrum is no exception.
Let’s look at some examples where Scrum will either be very hard to make work or provide little value compared to a simpler process.
Tips For New Scrum Masters
As a new Scrum Master you face the unknown and your success is based on your ability to utilise coaching and soft skills to develop your team over time. Here are 9 tips for new Scrum Masters.
Tips on Product Backlog Management
As a Product Owner, you are responsible for Product Backlog Management, in order to maximize the value of the Product. The Product Backlog is the single source of truth which contains all the work to be done on the Product. As a Product Owner, you will have to make some choices about what to build first and what to build later. But also what to build and what not to build!
Success Stories in Scaled Agile
Taking your company from Waterfall to Agile isn’t a trivial task. And it begins to look more like a “mission impossible” if we’re talking about large enterprises that have dozens of teams working towards a common goal. Below we present five case studies that demonstrate just that – that scaling Agile is not only possible, but can also yield great benefits.
Case Study: Scrum at Intel
In the microprocessor industry, the product development engineering (PDE) group exists to provide the test collateral to support cost-effective device screening and classification. Squeezed between the actual design teams and factory manufacturing teams, PDE is often put under tremendous pressure without ultimate control of team level deadline, scope, requirements, or deliverables.
Further Reading: Best Scrum Books
Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time. In this book you’ll journey to Scrum’s front lines where Jeff Sutherland’s system of deep accountability, team interaction, and constant iterative improvement is, among other feats, bringing the FBI into the 21st century, perfecting the design of an affordable 140 mile per hour/100 mile per gallon car, helping NPR report fast-moving action in the Middle East, changing the way pharmacists interact with patients, reducing poverty in the Third World, and even helping people plan their weddings and accomplish weekend chores.
The Scrum Master Training Manual: The Definitive Guide for Professional Scrum Master. This book is organized in such a way to serve as an in-depth review for PSM Professional Scrum Master examination for those with a strong foundation in Agile and Project Management, as well as those who are new PSM candidates. This book also includes access to 40+ high-quality videos, 500+ Test Preparation portal and multiple worksheets.
Scrum Mastery: From Good to Great Servant-Leadership. In this book, Geoff Watts shares a collection of stories and practical guidance, drawn from over ten years of coaching numerous Scrum teams that will guide you on your path to greatness.
Essential Scrum: A Practical Guide to the Most Popular Agile Process. Whether you are new to Scrum or years into your use, this book will introduce, clarify, and deepen your Scrum knowledge at the team, product, and portfolio levels. Drawing from Rubin’s experience helping hundreds of organizations succeed with Scrum, this book provides easy-to-digest descriptions enhanced by more than two hundred illustrations based on an entirely new visual icon language for describing Scrum’s roles, artifacts, and activities.
Further Learning: Best Scrum Courses
Applied Scrum for Project Management Course by the University of Maryland. In this course, you start by learning the key project management processes, roles, mechanics, and philosophies behind Scrum. This gives you the basic understanding you’ll need int he Mastering Agile Professional Certificate program to learn principles at the heart of all Agile frameworks. This will provide the basis for understanding Agile in its purest form over four weeks exploring Why, Who, How, and finally What Scrum looks like applied in the real world.
Managing an Agile Team Course by the University of Virginia. This course focuses on helping you better charter your team’s focus, the definition of success, and the practice of agile. While learning about agile mainstays like Scrum, XP, and Kanban, you’ll also learn to help your team ask the right questions about how they’re working and facilitate good answers on how agile can help.
Scrum Certification Prep +Scrum Master+ Agile Scrum Training. The exact events, roles, rules and artifacts used to deliver a project using scrum along with the history of Scrum. This includes lectures on the fundamentals of Sprint Planning, The Daily Scrum, Sprint Review, Sprint Retrospective, Scrum Artefacts and more.
Agile Development Course by the University of Virginia. In this course, you’ll gain an understanding and appreciation of the principles and practice of agile management. You’ll learn to coordinate all aspects of the agile development process, including running design sprints, managing teams, and fostering a culture of experimentation.