If you are working in the IT industry, chances are you have heard of “Scrum” especially if you’re part of the development team. Your team may also be implementing it already but what is Scrum?

If you have been a developer since early 2000s like me, you may also be familiar with the Waterfall methodology. This is the methodology mostly everyone followed during those years. Nowadays, it’s Scrum.

Scrum Project Board

First thing first, unlike Waterfall methodology, Scrum is not a methodology. It is a framework which mostly involves Agile methodology. We’re not going to discuss Agile here because that is a different topic on its own.

Scrum.org defines Scrum as: “Scrum is a framework within which people can address complex adaptive problems, while productively and creatively delivering products of the highest possible value.”

What is the difference between a methodology and a framework then?

In a nutshell, a methodology is a set of principles, tools, and practices which can be used to guide processes to achieve a particular goal while a framework is a loose but incomplete structure which leaves room for other practices and tools to be included but provides much of the process required.

Not explained much? Dafir Jacob has a LinkedIn article elaborating more on the difference of the two.  Difference between methodology and framework.

Now that we established that Scrum is a framework, what else is there with Scrum?

Scrum was initially designed to help technical team develops and release products in an efficient manner however it can also be applied to any team that aims to improve the output of their work. However, we’re going to be using examples mostly for software development.

Scrum is founded on empirical process control theory or empiricism. Empiricism asserts that knowledge comes from experience and making decisions based on what is known.

Scrum implementation upholds three pillars which are: Transparency, Inspection, and Adaptation.

Transparency

Every aspect of the project and terminologies must be defined so every team member has a common definition of what’s being talked about.

One term that is mostly used in Scrum is “Done”. Everyone must be clear with the term and only use it when applicable. When a Scrum member uses the word “Done.” This must mean that the piece of the product has correctly tested and met the designs standard.

Inspection

Scrum users must frequently inspect the progress of the project so if there are any impediments, it can be addressed and acted upon in a timely manner.

Adaptation

Scrum users have to be agile and ready to adapt at any point in the project. Adjustments are inevitable in a project hence adaptation is a pillar of Scrum.

In July 2016, the Scrum Values were added to The Scrum Guide. These values are:

  • Courage
  • Focus
  • Commitment
  • Respect
  • Openness

A poster about Scrum Values can be downloaded here.

Scrum consists of a series of events. These events are used to create regularity within the team and to maximize the time of each member efficiently. Note that all events are time-boxed.

  • Sprint
  • Sprint Planning
  • Daily Scrum
  • Sprint Review
  • Sprint Retrospective

Scrum Team

A Scrum team consists of three roles which are the Scrum Master, Product Owner, and the Development team. Yes, there is a team within a team.

Scrum Master

Scrum Master has to be an expert on the Scrum rules. He or she can be known as a servant leader because a Scrum Master leads by serving both the development team and the product owner. He or she removes the impediments that block the development team when doing their job and help the team to self-organize and to be more productive. Scrum master also facilitates the meeting whenever necessary.

Scrum master helps the product owner maximize the Return on Investment (ROI).

Scrum Master writing on a whiteboard

Product Owner

The product owner is the one responsible for creating the product backlog. Prioritize the requirements based on the business value and make the decision to maximize the ROI. At times, a product owner may also make trade-offs to maximize the product value.

Development Team

 The main job of the development team is to build potentially releasable product increment. It must be self-organizing and collaborative. The team should be composed of multi-skilled and SME’s team members needed for the product. The optimum team size of a development team is between 3 and 9. This is because the development team must not be too small that will overload each member with their task but must not be too big that may be a problem collaborating efficiently.

Development Team

You can read the Scrum Guide here and more about Scrum here.

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