Scrum is the secret weapon of today’s most successful companies. Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple use Scrum to get better and better. In the last few years, Scrum has gone far beyond the technology companies that created it and started to conquer the corporate world.
If you’re not already familiar with Scrum, here’s a story and breakdown of how it works.
How Scrum works
First, you need to understand that there are three – and only three – roles
– product owner,
– scrum master
– and team member
There is no business analyst, tech lead, senior master, etc.
This composition allows the scrum team to deliver value independently. The team is the smallest organizational unit. It delivers value to customers in short time cycles called sprints
2. The Product Owner (PO, Product Owner) answers the question , “What are we going to do?”
Product refers to what the team is going to create, what service or process to present. The Product Owner receives input from users, stakeholders, the team itself, and anyone else who derives value from the team’s activities. This could be farmers in Uganda affected by a crop disease; or engineers building an unmanned car; or theater-goers going to see a new movie.
The product owner must gather all the inputs, some of which may be contradictory, and create a vision of what the team will do. Then (this is usually the hardest part), after collecting all the ideas, the product owner must rank them in descending order of value.
In Scrum, there can only be one priority task per segment of time. This is difficult to enforce, but that’s how the methodology works.
3. When the product owner prioritizes all the tasks from most to least valuable, they create what is called a product backlog
. This is a potentially endless list of tasks that can be completed by the team. It is a living document that is constantly changing according to customer feedback, market conditions, insights, management practices, etc. It helps simplify changes.
4. The product owner then presents the backlog to the team during an event called sprint planning. The team reviews the document and decides what tasks to take on and how many they can accomplish in the next sprint. It is important to note that it is the team that makes the decision, not the product owner or management. It places the highest-priority items from the product backlog on a list called the sprint backlog
The product backlog is not physically measurable, but the sprint backlog is limited. The team focuses on these elements during the sprint, and only them. Once started, team members follow the sprint for one to four weeks
, depending on what rhythm works for them.
5. The next event is the daily Scrum
, or daily standup. This event lasts only fifteen minutes, and at it the team shares:
– what was done to achieve the sprint goal,
– what is planned for the next twenty-four hours,
– and what might prevent them from achieving the goal
Daily Scrum is not a status event; it is more like a meeting of players on the soccer field before a game. A mini planning session. The team has already studied what they are doing, and this is an opportunity for them to share the information from the day before. Fifteen minutes to do everything.
6. Now the scrum master
comes in. Now the role of scrum master is new to most companies. His job is to help the team move faster. Speed is the icon they pray to.
Why would anyone pay for that? If these people can get the team to create value twice as fast, it more than pays off. Making the current team work faster is always better than hiring new people. The Scrum Master helps her build velocity (Velocity), and the product owner is responsible for making sure it turns into value. The Scrum Master is like the coach of a sports team. He helps the team in the scrum process and tries to remove the obstacles that slow it down. These are the scrum master’s daily tasks.
As the team works through the backlog of the sprint, they may have a need to meet with the product owner during an event called refining the product backlog
. This is where the product owner brings all their ideas for future sprints to the team and discusses with them how to bring them to life. Together, they clearly outline what each element includes and, most importantly, what criteria to use to determine its readiness.
7. At the end of the sprint, the team and product owner review the sprint
. During this event, they show stakeholders and consumers what they’ve done, what’s ready. Really ready, not “almost ready,” “kind of ready,” or “something someone worked really hard on but didn’t finish, but the effort needs to be acknowledged.” Finished.
The team and product owner will get feedback from everyone in the room, “We like this. We don’t like this. How about this? Now that we have this, we want to get…” The product owner uses that feedback to adjust the prioritization in the product backlog because they now have concrete data from real consumers
, knowledge of what they really want.
There’s an old rule in software called Humphrey’s Law: people don’t really know what they want until they see what they don’t want.
You can get them to describe their desires in thousand-page documents, but until they see something that works, they don’t know what they want.
And after a sprint review, you may find out that you already have a ready-made item. It may be too small for commissioning or it may not have value on its own, but it’s completely finished.
You won’t have to do it again.
The end result of the sprint review is a measure of what is brought to readiness as a result of the team’s work for the sprint, the rate of value production. This is what’s called team speed, and it’s a key metric in Scrum. We want to know how fast teams are and whether it’s possible to help them accelerate.
8. The last Scrum activity is a sprint retrospective
. It’s a study of a team’s performance. The review touches on what it created or what service it provided, how it was done. The product owner, scrum master, and team get together and try to determine what went well, what could have been done better, and what the team wants to change in their ways of working to make things better and faster in the next sprint. Then a new sprint begins.
Prepared from the book Scrum in Practice.
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