An Overview of the Scrum Method in Agile Project Management
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Agile Method #1: Scrum

written by: John P. Reiling • edited by: Tricia Goss • updated: 4/1/2017

Scrum is the most popular agile method, and the one that is probably most often included in any hybrid agile project management method. It is not to be confused with agile itself; scrum is a single but import agile method. Scrum is particularly strong at prioritizing work and obtaining feedback.

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    Three (3) Pillars

    Agile Method #1 The three pillars of the Scrum methodology are:

    1. Transparency – Visibility to all is what’s important, especially regarding the definition of done.
    2. Inspection – Frequent checks need to take place – not just testing at the end of any timeframe.
    3. Adaptation – Adapt based on what you’re learning instead of following a plan.

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    Five (5) Fundamental Values

    The following are the fundamental values of scrum, with no explanation required.

    1. Focus
    2. Courage
    3. Openness
    4. Commitment
    5. Respect

    The key component of scrum is that it employs a time boxed cadence - the sprint cycle – that sets the framework for all other activity.

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    Three (3) Scrum Team Roles

    The three primary scrum team roles are:

    1. Development Team – The team builds the product increments each sprint, and is self-organizing – empowered to manage its own work. Team members are expected to be a cross-functional and interchangeable with each other as possible.
    2. Product Owner – Representing the business, the Product Owner manages the product backlog, or list of work to be done, sets development priorities, and ensures transparency across team and stakeholders.
    3. ScrumMaster

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    Six (6) Scrum Activities/Events/Activities

    1. Backlog refinement – This meeting entails updating the backlog.
    2. Sprint planning meeting – This meeting is for reviewing the backlog, ensuring common understanding, and the development team setting sprint goals for developing backlog items.
    3. Daily scrum – This is a short morning standup meeting of the team where members only state what they have most recently accomplished, what they will do today, and what blockers they might have for accomplishing their agenda.
    4. Scrum of scrums – This is a meeting of representatives from each scrum team to coordinate dependencies across the teams. The same questions as in the daily scrum apply, plus mention of any cross-team blockers.
    5. Sprint review – This is where the team showcase its accomplishments at the end of the sprint, ideally as a demo. The Product Owner reviews, and adjustments are made to the backlog and plans for the next action.
    6. Sprint retrospective – This is a final review of the sprint by the development team to consider what worked well, what worked not so well, and what adjustments that can be made to improve in the next sprint.

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    Three (3) Scrum Artifacts

    1. Product Increment – This is the delivered working software, or demo of software to be included in the next increment.
    2. Product Backlog – This s the prioritized list of the work that needs to be done to produce the product at the end of the project.
    3. Sprint Backlog – This is the subset of the product backlog that will be developed in the current sprint.

    Scrum is the most popular of agile methods, and is sometimes consumed with agile itself. However, it is its own method, but it often is customized in some way to accommodate needs of specific project situations. It can easily be combined with some other methods, such as Extreme Programming (XP), Lean, and Kanban. It is also the foundation of other more specific agile methods, such as the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe).

A Look at Agile Methods

A series on the most popular agile project management methods, including Scrum, Extreme Programming (XP), Lean Product Development and Kanban.
  1. Agile Method #1: Scrum
  2. Agile Method #2: Extreme Programming (XP)
  3. Agile Method #3: Lean Product Development
  4. Agile Method #4: Kanban
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