Scrum For Dummies
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Scrum focuses on continuous improvement, scope flexibility, team input, and delivering quality products. Scrum adheres to the Agile Manifesto and the 12 Agile Principles, which focus on people, communications, the product, and flexibility.

Scrum: Agile Software Development Manifesto

Scrum is a team approach to project management that aligns with the Agile Manifesto. The Agile Manifesto is an intentionally streamlined expression of the core values of agile project management.

“We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it. Through this work, we have come to value:

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools

  • Working software over comprehensive documentation

  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation

  • Responding to change over following a plan

That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.”

Agile Manifesto Copyright 2001: Kent Beck, Mike Beedle, Arie van Bennekum, Alistair Cockburn, Ward Cunningham, Martin Fowler, James Grenning, Jim Highsmith, Andrew Hunt, Ron Jeffries, Jon Kern, Brian Marick, Robert C. Martin, Steve Mellor, Ken Schwaber, Jeff Sutherland, Dave Thomas.

This declaration may be freely copied in any form, but only in its entirety through this no

Principles behind Scrum and the Agile Manifesto

Scrum is an approach that aligns to the values of the Agile Manifesto and the 12 Agile Principles. The 12 Agile Principles are a set of guiding concepts that support project teams in implementing agile projects.

  1. Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.

  2. Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage.

  3. Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.

  4. Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.

  5. Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.

  6. The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.

  7. Working software is the primary measure of progress.

  8. Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.

  9. Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.

  10. Simplicity — the art of maximizing the amount of work not done — is essential.

  11. The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.

  12. At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.

Scrum and the Agile roadmap to value

Scrum is an implementation of agile project management. The roadmap to value is a high-level view of an agile project and is a guide for your project. It includes the following stages:

  • In Stage 1, the product owner identifies the product vision.

    The product vision is a definition of what your product is, how it will support your company’s or organization’s strategy, and who will use the product. On longer projects, revisit the product vision at least once a year.

  • In Stage 2, the product owner and business stakeholders create a product roadmap.

    The product roadmap is a high-level view of the product requirements, with a loose time frame for when you will develop those requirements. Identifying product requirements and then prioritizing and roughly estimating the effort for those requirements are a large part of creating your product roadmap. On longer projects, revise the product roadmap at least twice a year.

  • In Stage 3, the product owner creates a release plan.

    The release plan identifies a high-level timetable for the release of product. An agile project will often have many releases, with the highest-priority features launching first. Create a release plan at the beginning of each release.

  • In Stage 4, the product owner, the scrum master, and the development team plan sprints and starts creating the product within those sprints.

    Sprint planning sessions take place at the start of each sprint, where the scrum team determines what requirements will be in the upcoming sprint, and the development team breaks those requirements into specifics tasks necessary to create the functionality.

  • In Stage 5, during each sprint, the development team has daily scrum meetings.

    In the daily scrum meeting, you spend no more than 15 minutes organizing the priorities of the day and discussing what you completed yesterday, what you will work on today, and any roadblocks you have.

  • In Stage 6, the team holds a sprint review.

    In the sprint review, at the end of every sprint, the scrum team demonstrates the working product created during the sprint to the product stakeholders.

  • In Stage 7, the team holds a sprint retrospective.

    The sprint retrospective is a meeting where the scrum team discusses how the sprint went and plans for improvements in the next sprint. Like the sprint review, you have a sprint retrospective at the end of every sprint.

Scrum roles

Scrum mobilizes the project team around a specific set of functionality that the organization wants to release to the marketplace. Scrum teams include people in three roles for project management:

  • Development team: The group of people who do the work of creating a product. Programmers, testers, designers, writers, and anyone else who has a hands-on role in product development is a member of the development team.

  • Product owner: The person responsible for bridging the gap between the customer, business stakeholders, and the development team. The product owner is an expert on the product and the customer’s needs and priorities. The product owner works with the development team daily to help clarify requirements.

    The product owner is sometimes called a customer representative.

  • Scrum master: The person responsible for supporting the development team, clearing organizational roadblocks, and keeping the agile process consistent.

    A scrum master is sometimes called a project facilitator.

Two additional roles should be considered as part of the entire project team:

  • Stakeholders: Anyone with an interest in the project. Stakeholders are not ultimately responsible for the product, but they provide input and are affected by the project’s outcome. The group of stakeholders is diverse and can include people from different departments, or even different companies.

  • Agile mentor: Someone who has experience implementing agile projects and can share that experience with a project team. The agile mentor can provide valuable feedback and advice to new project teams and to project teams that want to perform at a higher level.

Scrum artifacts

Scrum teams use three scrum artifacts, or deliverables, plus three other common agile practices to develop products in project management. As your team implements its plan, check for these articles and practices:

  • Product vision statement: An elevator pitch, or a quick summary, to communicate how your product supports the company’s or organization’s strategies. The vision statement must articulate the goals for the product. The product vision statement is a common agile practice but is not a scrum artifact.

  • Product roadmap: The product roadmap is a high-level view of the product requirements, with a loose time frame for when you will develop those requirements. The product roadmap is also a common agile practice but is not a scrum artifact.

  • Product backlog: The full list of what is in the scope for your project, ordered by priority. After you have your first requirement, you have a product backlog.

  • Release plan: A high-level timetable for the release of working software. The release plan is a common agile practice, although release planning is inherently part of scrum.

  • Sprint backlog: The goal, user stories, and tasks associated with the current sprint.

  • Increment: The working product functionality at the end of each sprint.

Scrum activities

Scrum projects include five essential activities, plus two common agile practices, for product development. These processes enhance efficiency and performance from the first day to the last day of your project:

  • Project planning: The initial planning for your project. Project planning includes creating a product vision statement and a product roadmap, and can take place in as little time as one day. Project planning is a common agile practice but is not a scrum activity.

  • Release planning: Planning the next set of product features to release and identifying an imminent product launch date around which the team can mobilize. On agile projects, you plan one release at a time. Although release planning is referred to in scrum, it is a common agile practice, not an official scrum activity.

  • Sprint: A short cycle of development in which the team creates potentially shippable product functionality. Sprints, sometimes called iterations, typically last between one and four weeks. Sprints can last as little as one day but should not be longer than four weeks. Sprint length can change during the project, but velocity will be impacted by the duration change.

  • Sprint planning: A meeting at the beginning of each sprint where the scrum team commits to a sprint goal. They also identify the requirements that support this goal and will be part of the sprint, and the individual tasks it will take to complete each requirement.

  • Daily scrum: A 15-minute meeting held each day in a sprint. Here development team members coordinate on the priorities of the day, stating what they completed the day before, what they will focus on the current day, and whether they have any roadblocks.

  • Sprint review: A meeting at the end of each sprint, introduced by the product owner, where the development team demonstrates the working product functionality it completed during the sprint.

  • Sprint retrospective: A meeting at the end of each sprint, where the scrum team discusses what went well, what could change, and how to make any changes.

Scrum organizations, certifications, and resources

The scrum community provides powerful online services to help you find and develop your skills. Here are useful links to members of the scrum community to help you manage your project:

  • Scrum Alliance: The Scrum Alliance is a nonprofit professional membership organization that promotes the understanding and usage of scrum. The Scrum Alliance offers a number of professional certifications:
    • Certified ScrumMaster (CSM)
    • Advanced Certified ScrumMaster (A-CSM)
    • Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO)
    • Advanced Certified Scrum Product Owner (A-CSPO)
    • Certified Scrum Developer (CSD)
    • Advanced Certified Scrum Developer (A-CSD)
    • Certified Scrum Professional (CSP)
      CSP for ScrumMasters (CSP-SM)
      CSP for Product Owners (CSP-PO)
      CSP for Developers (CSP-D)
    • Certified Team Coach (CTC)
    • Certified Enterprise Coach (CEC)
    • Certified Agile Leadership (CAL)
  • The Scrum GuideTM, the Definitive Guide to Scrum: The Rules of the Game in over 30 languages. The Scrum Guide is available in both online and PDF formats available for download and is free to use.
  • provides tools and resources for scrum practitioners to deliver value using scrum through assessments and certifications, including
    • Professional Scrum Master I & II (PSM)
    • Professional Scrum Product Owner I & II (PSPO)
    • Professional Scrum Developer (PSD)
  • ScrumPLoP: Pattern Languages of Programs (PLoP) are methods of describing design practices within fields of expertise, and often have conferences organized around them for shared learning. ScrumPLoP publishes practical patterns that have been used successfully with organizations to get started with and become successful with scrum.
  • Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe): The Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) is a knowledge base for implementing agile practices and scrum at scale. (SAFe is a registered trademark of Scaled Agile Inc.)
  • Large-Scale Scrum (LeSS): Large-Scale Scrum (or LeSS) is a scrum scaling method that provides two different frameworks known as basic LeSS and LeSS Huge.
  • Platinum Edge: Since 2001, Platinum Edge has been helping companies maximize project return on investment (ROI). The blog has the latest insights on practices, tools, and innovative solutions emerging from the dynamic agile community. Platinum Edge also provides the following services:
    • Audits: Audits of your current processes and an explicit agile implementation strategy that delivers bottom-line results.
    • Recruiting: With access to the best agile and scrum talent — because Platinum Edge has personally trained them — Platinum Edge helps you find the right fit to bootstrap your scrum projects, including scrum masters, scrum product owners, and scrum developers.
    • Training: Public and customized corporate agile training and certification:
      Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) classes
      Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO) classes
      Certified Scrum Developer (CSD) classes
      SAFe Scaled Agile training and implementations
    • Transformation: After you have the right agile talent and training, agile coaches are embedded to ensure that the right practices deliver the right results in the real world.
  • Scrum Development Yahoo! Group: The Scrum Development Yahoo! Group continues to be one of the best scrum message boards on the Internet for staying in tune with the global scrum community.
  • InfoQ: InfoQ is an independent online community with a prominent scrum section offering news, articles, video interviews, video presentations, and minibooks, all written by scrum domain experts.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

Mark C. Layton, "Mr. Agile®," is an executive and BoD advisor. He is the Los Angeles chair for the Agile Leadership Network, a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST), and founder of agile transformation firm Platinum Edge. Mark is also coauthor of Agile Project Management For Dummies. David Morrow is a Certified Scrum Professional (CSP), Certified Agile Coach (ICP-ACC), and an executive agile coach.

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