Scrum Basics

Background

One of the roles I play as a project manager is  introducing technology changes into the organization.  In my role as a project manager we are always looking to do our work more effectively and efficiently.  While there is no Silver Bullet I recently received some training on a new iterative development methodology named Agile Software Development.  There are two common practices in use for Agile.  The most popular is Scrum (85%) and the other practice is XP (15%).  I also recently became certified as a scrum master.

Today’s blog entry will introduce to you to basics of Scrum as a process to be followed to develop and build information technology projects.

Scrum Basics

Scrum is based on an empirical approach or scheme.  Scrum utilizes sprints to deliver software.  Each sprint is timeboxed and should be four (4) weeks or less.  Scrum is a project management process wrapper that consists of the following components:

  • Three Roles
    • Team Member – contain skills to implement the functionality that is committed to by the team.  The skills include analysis, design, development and testing skills.
    • Scrum Master – the person assigned to lead the scrum and ensure that progress is being made on the sprint as well removing any impediments that the team has to complete their work
    • Product Owner – owns the product backlog, prioritizes the product backlog and ensures that the ROI is identified for the company
  • Four Meetings
    • Sprint Planning Meeting – meeting held to gain agreement on the product backlog items that will be included in the sprint.  This is a timebox to be 5% of the sprint usually between 2 and 4 hours.
    • Daily Standup (Scrum) – a timeboxed mtg not to exceed 15 minutes. Each team member is to provide information on three questions
      • What did you do since yesterday?
      • What do you plan to do today?
      • What (if any) impediments exist that impact you doing your work?
    • Sprint Review – a timeboxed meeting (2 to 4 hours) that is used to evaluate the output of the sprint and to set the stage for future sprints
    • Sprint Retrospective – a timeboxed meeting (2 to 4 hour) that is used to improve the ability of the team to deliver working software.
  • Four Artifacts
    • Product Backlog – list of prioritized items that are to be delivered to the customer
    • Sprint Backlog – a list of prioritized functionality that will be delivered in a sprint
    • Sprint Burndown Chart – show the remaining work to complete the items in the current Sprint Backlog
    • Release Burndown Chart – shows remaining work, in story points, to complete all product backlog items

Conclusion

I hope that you found this article of value and that allows you to become more familiar with Scrum as a project management wrapper to development methodologies.

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