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Understanding Scrum: Basic Q&A

written by: Ronda Bowen • edited by: Michele McDonough • updated: 5/29/2013

You may have found yourself wondering what "Scrum" stands for. This article answers that question and other questions the newly initiated may have about Scrum when implementing it into their work environments.

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    A Rugby Term

    This is one of the most common questions asked about Scrum. The truth is, however, that "Scrum" doesn't stand for anything, it is not an acronym. Instead, are you familiar with Rugby at all? If not, you won't recognize the term. "Scrum" refers to a move in Rugby in which a team packs together and they all act together to get the ball from one end of the field to another end of the field. In fact, if you are using the word "Scrum" properly, only the first letter of the word should be capitalized, the rest is in lower case.

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    How Did Scrum Come Into Existence?

    http://www.sxc.hu/photo/984788 Scrum was invented by Hirotaka Takeuchi and Ikujiro Nonaka in 1986 with the hopes that they would create a new approach to project management that looked at the project management process as a unit and not as an individual task. Scrum was then later picked up by other project managers in the early 1990s, including Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland who were the first to write about the methodology and help standardize the practices.

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    What Is Agile?

    Agile is a project management methodology built around the idea that projects should be completed in smaller chunks to achieve greater results. Agile projects are projects that focus on self-organizing and iterative techniques to achieve success. Agile projects build problem solving into the project management process. Successful Agile projects focus upon seven team practices.

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    More Learning Resources

    In addition to finding many great Scrum resources on Bright Hub PM, you can also go to Scrum Alliance to find helpful resources for learning more about Scrum. This website features many articles meant to help those interested in obtaining ScrumMaster certifications learn what they need to about the process. Additionally, you may want to look into a 2001 book by Schwaber and Beedle titled, Agile Software Development With Scrum.

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    Is Certification Necessary?

    The short answer to this question is "no," but you may want to become certified through Scrum Alliance. The reason for certification is to prove to those unfamiliar with your experience and talents that you know what you are doing when it comes to implementing Scrum methodologies into your company's projects. Also, by obtaining ScrumMaster Certification, you will receive training that will be invaluable when you come across projects you are not familiar with.

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    Other Uses of Scrum

    You can certainly use Scrum outside of software development. Scrum is a tool that was invented to handle complex software projects, but its utility does not have to be limited to software development environments. You can use Scrum for political campaigns, architectural campaigns, or developing new products. Anytime you have a complex project, you may want to consider the Scrum Methodology as a viable way to handle the complexity in the project.

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    Canceling a Sprint

    Finally, if during the course of a Sprint, you come across an issue that needs to be dealt with immediately, and that issue completely destroys any ability to make further progress on the Sprint backlog, then the Sprint needs to be canceled. Canceling a Sprint should only be done as a last-ditch effort, and should only be done if progress on the product is completely untenable.

Understanding Scrum - Part I

This series of articles details the principals behind scrum methodologies - the process, environment, process, roles, etc. Everything you need to know to understand Scrum, you will find in these articles.
  1. Understanding Scrum - Methodology
  2. Understanding Scrum - Processes
  3. Understanding Scrum - Environment
  4. Understanding Scrum: Basic Q&A
  5. Understanding Scrum - Project Planning Templates and Samples