What is Scrum and how it works - software development HOWTOs

Nowadays, software development rarely becomes a solitary effort. Designing, coding, testing requires a cross-functional team operating collaboratively and each member has tasks dependent on others. And it becomes more complex because of the fact that usually requirements are unknown or incomplete.

To resolve all these difficulties some of the thought leaders began experimenting with various development approaches. Everyone who has ever dealt with software development services has probably heard most common varieties of project management methodologies - Waterfall, Agile, Scrum, Kanban.

Scrum project management methodology can be definitely described as a piece of the Agile movement. Scrum embraces the values and principles of agile and also includes further definitions and specifications, especially regarding specific software development practices. The term Scrum came from rugby, where a Scrum is a huddle the team forms on the field during the game to make strategic decisions. Actually scrum can be used by whomever producing an end-to-end product, whether it is web development, mobile development, software or even a construction project.

Scrum implies some roles: the role of the Product Owner, Scrum Master, and the Development Team.

Product Owner is a person who acts as a representative of the client’s side. S/He is in charge of creating a captivating vision of the product and then conveying that vision to the development team. An effective product owner should be well-organized, always open to any questions, and should provide clarity throughout the whole life cycle of the project.

Scrum Master is a person who supervises the development team and maintains the suitable motivation of all project members. The Scrum Master removes any impediments that can obstruct the team from achieving sprint goals which helps the team be more productive.

The development team is a team responsible for the delivery and quality of the application. The team is usually cross-functional in terms of expertise and experience. Development teams are self-organizing. This means that the team itself defines rules regarding how they work together instead of Product Owner or Scrum Master.

There are some values the Scrum Team needs to embody and live by. These points lie at the foundation of bringing the methodology to life and building trust with all people involved. So here is what you should follow to make Scrum effective and successful:

  • Having the audacity to do what is right and working on the tough problems
  • Committing to achieving the goals of the team
  • All members are agreeing to be open about the work and the challenges of performing the work
  • They’re independent and capable, they respect and trust each other
  • They’re focusing on the work of the Sprint and the goals of the team

1. Scrum planning. Before the work begins, the Scrum team prioritizes features for the product and creates a backlog of features (a list of tasks the team agrees to complete in one sprint). During the sprint planning all the team should answer two questions:

  • What features can be delivered in this sprint?
  • How will the team work on the achievement of these deliverables?

2. Daily scrum. A daily Scrum meeting is held to discuss the previous day’s work and define what work will be completed today. Each member of the team updates other ones on what they’ve been working on and brings up any issues or questions.

3. Sprint retrospective. At the end of each sprint, the team meets to review progress and processes, gather feedback on features and their functionality in order to optimize the next sprint. During the sprint review, any necessary changes are implemented.

There are also some important scrum elements that contribute to this iterative process. The primary artifact is, of course, the product itself. The Scrum methodology supposes that the team is bringing the product to a potentially shippable state at the end of each sprint.

Another artifact is the product backlog. The backlog is a list of all features of a product that are prioritized and adopted. There is also a sprint backlog, a list of all the tasks that need to be completed within a specific sprint.

Additional artifacts are burndown charts. Burndown chart is a visual representation of work that is still remaining in a sprint and it should give the group an update on the progress of the sprint.

Scrum is an effective methodology that is pretty simple to understand, but often not easy to implement due to its radical difference from traditional methodologies and the fact that it requires a set of cultural values on the organizations that adopt it. As teams work through all these exercises, it’s important to remember that the Scrum method is just one of many project management approaches.

by Anastasiya
on 28 March 2020

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