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What Is Scrum In Agile

Agility in business is not a new concept. The necessity and urgency for it has become more important in recent times as the world continues to grow more complex and unpredictable. Agile methodology focuses on turning work into smaller iterations where teams can work together more effectively instead of working in silos with little to no coordination. Even though it started in software development, the Agile approach has been adopted by most other industries.Once an organization sees the need for agility in its approach, the challenge becomes how to achieve it. When the organization tries to become more agile, there is resistance to change especially when people are used to working in a particular way. There are practices that could make this process smoother or give a structure to how agility is gained and maintained in a team or organization. The frameworks have different origins, but they were developed by professionals who found solutions to the problems they faced and shared them with the world.Agile FrameworksWhile there are plenty of frameworks for Agile, the one that you decide for your organization or team would depend on what works for you and the needs that your organization needs to meet. Following are five of the more popular frameworks used by organizations across the world.  Scrum Kanban Lean Extreme Programming (XP) CrystalScrum is the most popular framework when it comes to Agile adoption. The 15th Annual State of Agile Report suggests that 66% of Agile practitioners use Scrum framework with an additional 15% using Scrum variants like ScrumBan or ScrumXP. This popularity has led to these two terms often being used together and even interchangeably.  What makes Scrum so popular? Perhaps a deeper understanding of the framework would help us get to the answer. What is Scrum?Scrum is a framework that helps teams attain and maintain agility. It is a set of practices that enables teams to break down large and complex projects into meaningful stages. Each stage is called an increment. Completing an increment signifies a meaningful addition to the product that adds value to it. Each increment builds on what has been achieved in the previous stage.Scrum also provides a method to divide work into manageable time periods. These are called Sprints. Each Sprint may involve one or more increments. This is where the implementation happens, and the actual work gets done. Each Sprint will have defined goals that are to be achieved in the timeframe decided. Smaller Sprints help to identify shortcomings in the process and make improvements more frequently.Roles in Scrum If we break down Scrum into the participants involved in a Scrum team, we can notice three distinct roles.1. Scrum MasterA Scrum Master is the person in charge of ensuring that Agile and Scrum practices are followed. They coach the team members in Agile principles, identify obstacles and problems in the process, ensure that timelines are being met, and see to it that the work done is creating value. They are also instrumental in facilitating clear communication channels between the team and the stakeholders. This role becomes more critical when the organization is new to the Agile and Scrum approach.2. Product OwnerA Product Owner   plays an important role in a Scrum Team. There will only be one Product Owner in a Scrum Team. The primary responsibility of the Product Owner is to add maximum value to the product and prioritize the tasks that are critical to achieve that. While the Scrum Master   facilitates implementation of Scrum, the Product Owner decides the goals of a Sprint. The list of tasks to be done to develop the product constitutes the Product Backlog. The Product Owner is in charge of it and is the only one authorized to make changes to Sprint goals or even to cancel goals when they become irrelevant.3. Developers (Scrum Team)Each member in a Scrum Team is a developer despite the actual role they may play. The word ‘Developer’ comes from the origins of Agile and Scrum in Software Development. The developers must coordinate with each other and plan the Sprints to achieve the desired goals. A Scrum team is usually small, not exceeding ten developers. The teams are cross functional and are self-sufficient to achieve the Sprint goals. What Happens in a Sprint?A Sprint is the building block that gets the Scrum Team to achieve meaningful smaller goals during each time bound segment of a project. Scrum Events or CeremoniesA Sprint is a short time-window typically shorter than a month. The objective of each Sprint is made clear to everyone. The expectations are set, and it is the responsibility of the Scrum Team to achieve the goals set up in a particular Sprint. The Sprint is the part of Scrum where the concepts are put into practice and the work is done to achieve goals.1. Sprint PlanningThis step involves putting out a plan for what is to be achieved by the end of the Sprint. All participants and stakeholders should be on the same page in terms of what is to be achieved in a particular Sprint. This process involves the entire team. It includes the actions or tasks that need to be completed, the expected outcomes of those actions and defining when a task is to be deemed as completed.2. Daily Scrum MeetingsGetting on the same page is not a one-time activity, the Scrum Team meets at a pre-decided time every day. These meetups are short where everyone gets quick updates on how the project is progressing. This is a process where challenges can be addressed. As a process this improves transparency, and the bigger tasks are broken down into manageable sub-tasks that can be tracked and reviewed  3. Sprint ReviewTowards the end of the Sprint, the Scrum team gets together to review what has been achieved in that Sprint. The changes in priorities, environment and the progress so far are used to decide what tasks will be taken up for the next Sprint.4. Sprint RetrospectiveThis is the last ceremony in a Sprint where the Scrum Team examines each task, process, challenges faced etc. to figure out how they can use that to improve the next Sprint. The conclusion of a Sprint is followed by the start of the next Sprint.Scrum is a continuous process that involves having clear communication, monitoring how the processes work, and making improvements to increase effectiveness. This philosophy forms the core of Scrum.What Makes Scrum Work?Scrum works on three principles which are known as the Scrum Pillars. While each individual pillar provides value on its own, to get Scrum teams to work effectively all three processes must work together.Transparency:Any work that is being done should be seen by others in the Scrum Team. This helps the team get an idea of how fast each task is progressing and if there is any challenge or obstacle that would hamper the likelihood of attaining goals or would slow down another process.Inspection:When Developers in a Scrum Team can observe the work that is being done by each other, they hold each other accountable. They can spot problems and take steps to fix them so that the Sprint stays on track. This will be difficult to achieve without enough transparency. This leads to the next pillar.Adaptation:When problems are identified in time the others in the Scrum team can adapt their work to suit the change in situation or take decisions to limit the damage or minimize adverse effects.    Scrum ValuesOutcomes achieved by Scrum Teams will depend on how sincerely the team is able to accept and infuse the Scrum framework in their way of working. Scrum values refer to the qualities that each individual developer should bring to the table for Scrum to be effective.  Commitment: Each developer should be committed to holding themselves accountable to the goals decided. Focus: Each task done must be focused on with a view of where it fits in and how it contributes to larger goals. Openness: When work done is visible to others in the team, there is more feedback and fewer chances of the project slowing down due to the dependency on a particular individual or sub-process. Respect: There is no hierarchy within a Scrum Team, Developers collaborate with each other and can work together with mutual respect. Courage: Developers in Scrum Teams are empowered to make brave decisionsHow Goals are Set in ScrumThe Product Owner plays a key role in how Scrum Teams proceed with their work. They do it by managing the Product Backlog.Product BacklogThe Product Backlog is a list of items or tasks that need to be completed with the aim of improving the product. The Product Owner decides which item should be prioritized and what goals should be met. They assist the Scrum Team in splitting each item into smaller items and decide what the Product Goal will be. The Product Goal is a long-term vision of an improved version of the product.Sprint BacklogApart from the Product goal, each Sprint has a goal of its own. This is planned and implemented by the developers with input from the Product Owner. These goals will add up to the Product Goal. To achieve the Sprint Goal a list of items is created and called the Sprint Backlog. These are the items that will be discussed and reviewed in the Daily Scrum Meetings. Sprint Backlog becomes a subset of the Product Backlog to be completed in the current Sprint. Increment  An Increment is any step that adds value to the product. Instead of looking at tasks an Increment is based on the outcome of tasks. Each Sprint may have more than one Increment. Increments can happen at any stage of the Sprint. Increments add up to achieving the Product goal.  Future of Scrum Scrum is not a silver bullet for all issues that a team may face. Since it is a framework that is helpful for any industry the scope does not allow it to go down to tackling specific issues. Scrum can also be used partially or in combination with other frameworks depending on the team needs.  Scrum guide is a document that helps you understand how the framework works. The latest version was released in November 2020. These updates are necessary as we live in a fast-changing world where ideas evolve to meet new challenges. The best practices employed by industry experts, Agile and Scrum Practitioners, need to be included and shared to make the framework up to date. Scrum is designed to be used for cross functional teams of a limited number. If that is not applicable to your organization, you should try opting for frameworks that focus on scaling Agile.  
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What Is Scrum In Agile

Susan May
Blog
27th Sep, 2021
What Is Scrum In Agile

Agility in business is not a new concept. The necessity and urgency for it has become more important in recent times as the world continues to grow more complex and unpredictable. Agile methodology focuses on turning work into smaller iterations where teams can work together more effectively instead of working in silos with little to no coordination. Even though it started in software development, the Agile approach has been adopted by most other industries.

Once an organization sees the need for agility in its approach, the challenge becomes how to achieve it. When the organization tries to become more agile, there is resistance to change especially when people are used to working in a particular way. There are practices that could make this process smoother or give a structure to how agility is gained and maintained in a team or organization. The frameworks have different origins, but they were developed by professionals who found solutions to the problems they faced and shared them with the world.

Agile Frameworks

While there are plenty of frameworks for Agile, the one that you decide for your organization or team would depend on what works for you and the needs that your organization needs to meet. Following are five of the more popular frameworks used by organizations across the world.  

  • Scrum 
  • Kanban 
  • Lean 
  • Extreme Programming (XP) 
  • Crystal

Scrum is the most popular framework when it comes to Agile adoption. The 15th Annual State of Agile Report suggests that 66% of Agile practitioners use Scrum framework with an additional 15% using Scrum variants like ScrumBan or ScrumXP. This popularity has led to these two terms often being used together and even interchangeably.  

What makes Scrum so popular? Perhaps a deeper understanding of the framework would help us get to the answer. 

What is Scrum?

Scrum is a framework that helps teams attain and maintain agility. It is a set of practices that enables teams to break down large and complex projects into meaningful stages. Each stage is called an increment. Completing an increment signifies a meaningful addition to the product that adds value to it. Each increment builds on what has been achieved in the previous stage.

Scrum also provides a method to divide work into manageable time periods. These are called Sprints. Each Sprint may involve one or more increments. This is where the implementation happens, and the actual work gets done. Each Sprint will have defined goals that are to be achieved in the timeframe decided. Smaller Sprints help to identify shortcomings in the process and make improvements more frequently.

Roles in Scrum 

If we break down Scrum into the participants involved in a Scrum team, we can notice three distinct roles.

1. Scrum Master

Scrum Master is the person in charge of ensuring that Agile and Scrum practices are followed. They coach the team members in Agile principles, identify obstacles and problems in the process, ensure that timelines are being met, and see to it that the work done is creating value. They are also instrumental in facilitating clear communication channels between the team and the stakeholders. This role becomes more critical when the organization is new to the Agile and Scrum approach.

2. Product Owner

Product Owner   plays an important role in a Scrum Team. There will only be one Product Owner in a Scrum Team. The primary responsibility of the Product Owner is to add maximum value to the product and prioritize the tasks that are critical to achieve that. While the Scrum Master   facilitates implementation of Scrum, the Product Owner decides the goals of a Sprint. The list of tasks to be done to develop the product constitutes the Product Backlog. The Product Owner is in charge of it and is the only one authorized to make changes to Sprint goals or even to cancel goals when they become irrelevant.

3. Developers (Scrum Team)

Each member in a Scrum Team is a developer despite the actual role they may play. The word ‘Developer’ comes from the origins of Agile and Scrum in Software Development. The developers must coordinate with each other and plan the Sprints to achieve the desired goals. A Scrum team is usually small, not exceeding ten developers. The teams are cross functional and are self-sufficient to achieve the Sprint goals. 

What Happens in a Sprint?

A Sprint is the building block that gets the Scrum Team to achieve meaningful smaller goals during each time bound segment of a project. 

Scrum Events or Ceremonies

A Sprint is a short time-window typically shorter than a month. The objective of each Sprint is made clear to everyone. The expectations are set, and it is the responsibility of the Scrum Team to achieve the goals set up in a particular Sprint. The Sprint is the part of Scrum where the concepts are put into practice and the work is done to achieve goals.

1. Sprint Planning

This step involves putting out a plan for what is to be achieved by the end of the Sprint. All participants and stakeholders should be on the same page in terms of what is to be achieved in a particular Sprint. This process involves the entire team. It includes the actions or tasks that need to be completed, the expected outcomes of those actions and defining when a task is to be deemed as completed.

2. Daily Scrum Meetings

Getting on the same page is not a one-time activity, the Scrum Team meets at a pre-decided time every day. These meetups are short where everyone gets quick updates on how the project is progressing. This is a process where challenges can be addressed. As a process this improves transparency, and the bigger tasks are broken down into manageable sub-tasks that can be tracked and reviewed  

3. Sprint Review

Towards the end of the Sprint, the Scrum team gets together to review what has been achieved in that Sprint. The changes in priorities, environment and the progress so far are used to decide what tasks will be taken up for the next Sprint.

4. Sprint Retrospective

This is the last ceremony in a Sprint where the Scrum Team examines each task, process, challenges faced etc. to figure out how they can use that to improve the next Sprint. The conclusion of a Sprint is followed by the start of the next Sprint.

Scrum is a continuous process that involves having clear communication, monitoring how the processes work, and making improvements to increase effectiveness. This philosophy forms the core of Scrum.

What Makes Scrum Work?

Scrum works on three principles which are known as the Scrum Pillars. While each individual pillar provides value on its own, to get Scrum teams to work effectively all three processes must work together.

  • Transparency:

Any work that is being done should be seen by others in the Scrum Team. This helps the team get an idea of how fast each task is progressing and if there is any challenge or obstacle that would hamper the likelihood of attaining goals or would slow down another process.

  • Inspection:

When Developers in a Scrum Team can observe the work that is being done by each other, they hold each other accountable. They can spot problems and take steps to fix them so that the Sprint stays on track. This will be difficult to achieve without enough transparency. This leads to the next pillar.

  • Adaptation:

When problems are identified in time the others in the Scrum team can adapt their work to suit the change in situation or take decisions to limit the damage or minimize adverse effects.  
 

Scrum Values

Outcomes achieved by Scrum Teams will depend on how sincerely the team is able to accept and infuse the Scrum framework in their way of working. 

Scrum values refer to the qualities that each individual developer should bring to the table for Scrum to be effective.  

  • Commitment: Each developer should be committed to holding themselves accountable to the goals decided. 
  • Focus: Each task done must be focused on with a view of where it fits in and how it contributes to larger goals. 
  • Openness: When work done is visible to others in the team, there is more feedback and fewer chances of the project slowing down due to the dependency on a particular individual or sub-process. 
  • Respect: There is no hierarchy within a Scrum Team, Developers collaborate with each other and can work together with mutual respect. 
  • Courage: Developers in Scrum Teams are empowered to make brave decisions

How Goals are Set in Scrum

The Product Owner plays a key role in how Scrum Teams proceed with their work. They do it by managing the Product Backlog.

  • Product Backlog

The Product Backlog is a list of items or tasks that need to be completed with the aim of improving the product. The Product Owner decides which item should be prioritized and what goals should be met. They assist the Scrum Team in splitting each item into smaller items and decide what the Product Goal will be. The Product Goal is a long-term vision of an improved version of the product.

  • Sprint Backlog

Apart from the Product goal, each Sprint has a goal of its own. This is planned and implemented by the developers with input from the Product Owner. These goals will add up to the Product Goal. To achieve the Sprint Goal a list of items is created and called the Sprint Backlog. These are the items that will be discussed and reviewed in the Daily Scrum Meetings. Sprint Backlog becomes a subset of the Product Backlog to be completed in the current Sprint. 

  • Increment  

An Increment is any step that adds value to the product. Instead of looking at tasks an Increment is based on the outcome of tasks. Each Sprint may have more than one Increment. Increments can happen at any stage of the Sprint. Increments add up to achieving the Product goal.  

Future of Scrum 

Scrum is not a silver bullet for all issues that a team may face. Since it is a framework that is helpful for any industry the scope does not allow it to go down to tackling specific issues. Scrum can also be used partially or in combination with other frameworks depending on the team needs.  

Scrum guide is a document that helps you understand how the framework works. The latest version was released in November 2020. These updates are necessary as we live in a fast-changing world where ideas evolve to meet new challenges. The best practices employed by industry experts, Agile and Scrum Practitioners, need to be included and shared to make the framework up to date. 

Scrum is designed to be used for cross functional teams of a limited number. If that is not applicable to your organization, you should try opting for frameworks that focus on scaling Agile.  

Susan

Susan May

Writer, Developer, Explorer

Susan is a gamer, internet scholar and an entrepreneur, specialising in Big Data, Hadoop, Web Development and many other technologies. She is the author of several articles published on Zeolearn and KnowledgeHut blogs. She has gained a lot of experience by working as a freelancer and is now working as a trainer. As a developer, she has spoken at various international tech conferences around the globe about Big Data.


Website : https://www.zeolearn.com

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