What is Scrum? Explaining the Framework Changing the World of Project Management

Tips on How You Can Use Scrum Framework to Improve Your Team’s Workflow

Carley Kimball, Media Specialist

5 Min Read

The Scrum framework has become a vastly popular way for teams to work smarter, save time, and apply what they’ve learned to future endeavors.

The framework, initially developed in the 1990s, is the most widely used under the Agile umbrella, accounting to the 15th annual State of Agile Report, with 66% of over 1,000 survey respondents identifying it as the methodology they follow most closely.

What is Scrum?

Scrum is a framework that falls under the umbrella of Agile Project Management Methodology. The official definition of Scrum, according to the Scrum Guide is as follows:

Scrum is a lightweight framework that helps people, teams and organizations generate value through adaptive solutions for complex problems.

In a nutshell, Scrum requires a Scrum Master to foster an environment where:

Daily team meeting around agile product development board with scrum
  1. A Product Owner orders the work for a complex problem into a Product Backlog.
  2. The Scrum Team turns a selection of the work into an Increment of value during a Sprint.
  3. The Scrum Team and its stakeholders inspect the results and adjust for the next Sprint.
  4. Repeat

Scrum was founded on empiricism and lean thinking. Empiricism is the thought that knowledge comes from experience and the ability to make decisions based on observation. Lean thinking reduces waste and focuses on the essentials. In 2016, five “Scrum Values” were added to the Scrum Guide: Courage, Focus, Commitment, Respect, and Openness.

A cross-functional team is the foundation of scrum and employs a scrum master, product owner, and developers. The scrum master can be thought of as the team leader. The product owner focuses on what the end-product should encapsulate and helps prioritize the product backlog, or list of improvements that lead to the goal. Developers are team members that deliver work on a regular basis.

Scrum teams work in sprints, each of which includes several events (or activities), according to the Scrum Alliance.

The Sprint is at the core of the Scrum framework. Sprints help the team take the necessary steps to complete the goal and is usually a month or less in length. Planning for the Sprint is an event in itself. In no more than eight hours, teams identify the sprint goal, what steps to take to reach that goal, and how that work will be dispersed and completed.

Daily Scrum Meetings are short, 15-minute meetings where developers share their progress, adapt the sprint backlog as necessary, and confirm the next tasks to be completed. The team then inspects the sprint’s outcome with stakeholders, who offer feedback if necessary, and determines future adaptations in a Sprint Review.

The final event is the Sprint Retrospective. This is a chance for the team to reflect on how the last sprint impacted individuals, interactions, processes, tools, and definition of done, identifying improvements for the future.

There are three identifiable artifacts within the scrum framework, a product backlog, sprint backlog, and increment. The product backlog is a primary list of work that needs to be done to achieve the final goal, usually maintained by the product owner. The sprint backlog is a list of items, user stories, or bug fixes, selected by the development team for implementation in the current sprint cycle. The increment, also known as the sprint goal is the usable end-product of the sprint, according to Atlassian.

How Scrum Helps Teams Reach Goals

This framework offers an easy flow that incorporates guidelines for the efficient allocation of time, team members, and resources.

Teamwork, a benefit of Scrum highlighted by Tech Target, is easy to achieve in this framework. Because of frequent feedback, all team members have the opportunity to work together to solve problems every step of the way. Short meetings show that each team member respects the value of people’s time and that completing tasks efficiently is better than just talking about them in long, drawn-out discussions.

Flexibility is one of the greatest benefits of scrum, according to Business News Daily. With the sprint-based model, addressing problems and changes throughout the process makes it easy to pivot to a new approach or adjust tasks as needed. Stakeholders can provide updates before teams are too far along in the development process, saving time and money. This ultimately leads to a completed product that is closely aligned with what stakeholders are looking for.

One of the most important aspects of scrum is the Sprint Retrospective. By implementing regular review and reflection on how teams can learn and grow from each project, a culture that values continuous improvement is established. In every project, team members can always find ways to improve – whether that’s through clearer goal-setting and expectations, tools used to streamline workflows, or even identifying the best ways to utilize team members’ strengths, creating a space for teams to talk through these improvements can help make future projects a more enjoyable experience for everyone.

Scrum is an easy approach to implement, because team members, especially those that are working on several teams at once, quickly realize this is one of the best ways to approach time management throughout a project’s life cycle. Essentially, scrum presents an efficient approach to product development that businesses across the globe have come to adopt to streamline workflows in a way that benefits both the team and stakeholders.

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