Skip to main content

What is Scrum?

Scrum is an agile approach to product development that is centered around brief, informal stand-up meetings.

The term "scrum" originated in the game of rugby. A rugby scrum is a way of resuming a game that has paused due to an accidental foul or the ball having gone out of play. Opposing players engage head-to-head and compete for possession of the ball, which is thrown into the fray.

A "media scrum" is an impromptu press conference in which the media gather around a political figure and bombard her with questions.

Thus "scrum" has come to refer more generally to a short, informal gathering.

In the Scrum approach to product development, scrums are frequent (often daily) stand-up meetings in which each member of the product team states his immediate goal and any risks or obstacles he is facing. The scrums typically start at precisely the same time every day and are often time-boxed to 15-20 minutes.

Other Scrum practices include:
  • Iterations ("sprints") with a maximum duration of thirty days.
  • No changes during a sprint to the planned set of deliverables within it.
  • Demo to external stakeholders at the end of each iteration.
  • On-going measurement of progress and re-estimation of remaining scope.
Roles in Scrum include:
  • Product owner is the voice of the customer and determines and prioritizes what will go in the product.
  • Scrum master facilitates the planning, sprint, and meeting processes. The emphasis is on removing obstacles rather than dictating how individuals achieve goals.
  • Team is composed of the designers, developers, and testers that build the product.
  • Users sometimes attend meetings and give feedback on demos.
  • Stakeholders are not users but may be buyers or vendors.
  • Managers set up the environment for the team.
Artifacts in Scrum include:
  • Product backlog is a prioritized list of requirements or features planned for the product.
  • Sprint backlog is a prioritized, detailed list of requirements, features, or tasks planned for a sprint.
  • Burn down chart depicts the number of backlog items (or the estimated task hours) remaining in a sprint or for the product as a whole.
Executives and product managers are concerned mostly with product backlogs and high-level visibility into the team's progress.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Why Spreadsheets Suck for Prioritizing

The Goal As a company executive, you want confidence that your product team (which includes all the people, from all departments, responsible for product success) has a sound basis for deciding which items are on the product roadmap. You also want confidence the team is prioritizing the items in a smart way. What Should We Prioritize? The items the team prioritizes could be features, user stories, epics, market problems, themes, or experiments. Melissa Perri  makes an excellent case for a " problem roadmap ", and, in general, I recommend focusing on the latter types of items. However, the topic of what types of items you should prioritize - and in what situations - is interesting and important but beyond the scope of this blog entry. A Sad but Familiar Story If there is significant controversy about priorities, then almost inevitably, a product manager or other member of the team decides to put together The Spreadsheet. I've done it. Some of the mos

Use Case as a Black Box

Consider the following use case: Purchase Items Actor: Purchaser Precondition: Purchaser types at least thirty words per minute and has a web navigation efficiency rating of at least 40. Postcondition: For the average Purchaser acting at full efficiency, the number of seconds elapsed is no more than 30 + 20 * n, where n is the number of items purchased. The name of the use case represents a functional requirement. What does the product do, or enable the user to do? Purchase items. What are we to make of the preconditions and postconditions? What relationship do they have to the requirements for the product? Answer: the preconditions and postconditions are the nonfunctional requirements attached to the functional requirement . Another way of expressing the nonfunctional requirement would be as an attribute and associated constraint: Usability: For a Purchaser who types at least thirty words per minute and has a web navigation efficiency rating of at least 40, it shall take no

Henry Ford's "Faster Horse" Quote

You may have heard the ( apocryphal ) Henry Ford quote: If I'd asked customers what they wanted, they would have said "a faster horse". Over at the On Product Management blog , Saeed gives his take on this infamous quote. He "hates" it, and gives some compelling reasons. Saeed is spot on in his explanations. Personally, I think the quote is great, but it's a matter of interpretation. The valid point of the quote is not that it's a bad idea to facilitate a conversation with your market to better understand it. The valid points are: You must ask the right questions to get valuable answers. You must interpret the answers thoughtfully - often outside their direct meaning - to glean reliable information. Asking questions is not always the best way to "listen" to your market. (E.g., sometimes pure observational studies are more reliable.) Nonetheless, I find the quote is helpful to combat "armchair product management" in the