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A Scrum Guide for Project Managers

written by: Donna Cosmato • edited by: Jean Scheid • updated: 9/9/2013

Use the information in our Scrum guide to move from theory to hands-on experience with Scrum. While Scrum is widely used as a software development method, the methodology and practices can be applied to a wide variety of projects. Here's what you need to know.

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    Key Definitions

    Teamwork 1 Scrum is an Agile methodology with roots in Rugby. In Rugby, Scrum describes a team collaboration to move the ball toward the goal quickly and efficiently.

    Hirotaka Takeuchi and Ikujiro Nonada use the term to describe a team method of hyper-productive development that produces a consistent supply of quality products in a specified time frame.

    The method is used to control product development and software by incremental practices.

    Scrum practices and roles include:

    • Scrum Master (facilitator and liaison between product owner or client and team; removes impediments)
    • Product backlog (list of project requirements or specifications)
    • Product owner (aka: client; sets product backlog priorities)
    • Scrum Team (typically five to nine members)
    • Sprints (work cycles or iterations - typically 30 day increments)
    • Daily Scrum meeting (usually about 15 minutes; used to discuss the progress towards the sprint goal)
    • Sprint planning (product owner and team set a sprint goal)
    • Sprint backlog (prioritized product tasks from the product backlog that will be completed during the sprint)
    • Sprint review (assess the success of the sprint in relation to the sprint goal)
    • Sprint goal (specific goals set by development team and product owner)
    • Sprint retrospective meeting (debriefing of Scrum Master and team to determine what worked and what must be changed for the next sprint)
    • Sprint burndown chart (reflects the Scrum team's daily progress)
    • Product burndown chart (reflects the monthly sprint progress)
    • Impediments (obstacles that impede the team's productivity)
    • Product backlog item or PBI (a work unit that is completed during the sprint)
    • Release ("The product is released to the customer or marketplace obligation.")1
    • Velocity ("In Scrum, velocity is how much product backlog effort a team can handle in a sprint.")2
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    Understanding Scrum

    Best Practices Guides

    Meeting Follow this guide to achieve the best utilization from your Scrum project management methodology. We'll cover how to hold effective daily Scrum meetings, how to manage sprints and product backlogs, how to conduct sprints and sprint planning meetings, and how to organize and manage your teams.

    Sample Project Backlog

    Learn what a project backlog is, how it fits in the SCRUM methodology and how to create one. We've included a list of the necessary components and an example. Just follow the step by step instructions to create a project backlog that is geared for success.

    Team Roles and Responsibility

    The Scrum Master, the product owner and the Scrum team are key roles. Learn more about the responsibilities of each role and how they are interdependent on each other. Find out what Scrum certifications are available and what the benefits of obtaining certification are.


    If you don't know the answers to "What is Scrum environment?" and "How do user stories provide your product development documentation?" then you must read this informative article. You have to understand the environment to appreciate how it helps you manage your projects. Utilize your knowledge to increase your efficiency.

    What Does Scrum Stand For?

    The answer to this question may surprise you—especially if you think that Scrum is an acroynm—but it is vital to know. (Hint: it isn't an acroynm and it's related to Rugby.) Learn about the relationship between Agile and Scrum and the history of Scrum. Discover how to best utilize it for product development projects.

    Scrum for Beginners

    Do you know the difference between a sprint backlog and a product backlog? If not, here's a short tutorial in the basics you need to know to understand Scrum methodology and terminology. Think of it as the Bright Hub version of a "Dummies" guide to Scrum.

    Scrum Master Certification Guide

    Do you have what it takes to become a Scrum Master? For that matter, do you even need to bother with becoming certified or is it a waste of time and money? How will it benefit you in the long-term? (Hint: being certified can be extremely lucrative when it comes to salary.) Here's what you need to know to get your certification and how to choose the best program.

    Scrum and IT: A Perfect Marriage?

    Here we explore the viability of Scrum as an IT project management tool for software development. Do the advantages outweigh the disadvantages especially given the 30 day project range of a typical Scrum product development cycle? This article is a must-read for all project managers so they will have the information to make an informed decision for their next project.

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    Methodology and Development

    Meeting What Are the Roles in Scrum Methodology?

    Are you a pig, a chicken or a Scrum Master? Learn how to decode the responsibilities of each role. For the Scrum process to work as it should, everyone must understand not only their own role but how their role impacts the other ones.

    What Is the Client's Role?

    Using Scrum effectively means involving the client, whose responsibility is prioritizing the product backlog and meeting with the Scrum team to set sprint goals. Discover eight tips for engaging clients for success in the Scrum methodology.

    Play the Role of a Scrum Master

    Discover the key success factors for becoming a Scrum Master. Become an expert at juggling the roles of coach, liaison, negotiator and more as you guide your Scrum team to success. Who know, you may even decide to shoot for Scrum Master certification.

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    Agile and Scrum

    Use Agile Scrum for Team Practices in an Agile Project

    Learn how to use Scrum best practices such as daily Scrum meetings, sprints, sprint planning meetings and reviews, and so forth to create an effective team for your next software development project. We'll discuss key elements like developing team synergy and commitment, encouraging collaboration and communication, and setting realistic goals to help you mold your team.

    Scrum Agile Development: Iteration Length

    Discover how to determine the proper Iteration length for project success. Different projects require different Iteration lengths and choosing the wrong one can wreck a project. We'll discuss various scenarios and explain how to fix Iteration length to the release length for best results.

    Iteration Retrospective: A Collaborative Performance Improvement Tool

    Learn what an Iteration retrospective is and how it plays a vital role in Scrum project management. This information will help you hold more effective Iteration retrospective meetings that improve team performance and product delivery.

    Conducting the Daily SCRUM Meeting as an Agile Project Management Tool

    Are you getting the results you want with your daily Scrum meetings or would you like to ramp them up? First we cover the role of the daily Scrum meeting in the overall project scope. Next, we'll give you a sample meeting agenda that you can use as is or customized to your project criteria. Finally, we'll give you an example of how you can maximize your efforts by holding virtual daily Scrum meetings.

    Dealing With SCRUM Implementation Obstacles

    Learn how to overcome some of the common implementation obstacles to the Scrum methodology. Topics covered include team resistance to change, daily Scrum meetings, and Scrum backlog issues. Use these tips to prevent scope creep and project failure.

    Agile Sprint Cycles: The 30-day Sprint

    Here's what you need to know about daily Scrum meetings, releases, sprints, and sprint planning and review to use them most effectively. Delivering consistent client results in a 30-day sprint cycle is possible if you use the Scrum methodology correctly.

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    Benefits of the Scrum Methodology

    Meeting Better Results According to Certified ScrumMaster Trainer Craig Larman, "Scrum is arguably the oldest and most widely applied Agile and iterative method, with an emphasis on iterative and adaptive PM practices."3

    Some of the more important benefits include:

    • The highest value product features are developed and delivered first.
    • Unnecessary work is eliminated.
    • Implementation obstacles are identified and overcome faster and more efficiently.
    • Higher productivity and product quality levels are achieved.
    • Employee morale is higher as are retention rates.
    • Customer satisfaction rates improve significantly.

    Scrum is not just for software development projects. Once you have buy-in and a commitment from your team, you can use Scrum successfully to streamline any product development cycle and produce high quality products on time and on budget.


  • Undisclosed, "An Overview of Scrum for Agile Software Development," Mountain Goat Software,
  • Image: SXC 1237610 by svilen001 under royalty free license
  • Image: SXC 1156735 under royalty free license
  • 3 - Scrum Alliance, "Benefits of Using Scrum,"
  • Image: SXC 1131288 under royalty free license
  • Honavalli, Kiran, "Sprint with Scrum and get the work done," Deloitte Consulting, LLP,
  • Image: SXC 990755 under royalty free license
  • 1, 2 - Szalvay, Victor, "Glossary of Scrum Terms," Scrum Alliance,