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What is Scrum? Scrum Team & Scrum Workflow

Updated: Jun 21, 2023

Scrum is an Agile framework for developing innovative products and services by using an incremental and iterative approach.

It is not a standardized process where you methodically follow a series of sequential steps, but rather a framework for organizing and managing work based on a set of values.

Scrum is built on transparency, inspection, and adaptation.

Scrum Team and Roles

The Scrum team is composed of a small team of people. Within the team, we have a Product Owner, a Scrum Master and the Development Team.

The team is typically self-managing with no sub-teams or hierarchies.

The Product Owner is one team member who represents the voice of the customer.

The PO is responsible for maximizing the value of the product. They own the Product Backlog, which is a list of what is needed to build or improve the product. The PO is constantly prioritizing and keeping the items up-to-date in the Product Backlog.

The Scrum Master is a leader who serves the Scrum Team. They are responsible for making sure the team executes using the Scrum framework. They provide any coaching or help with the Scrum theory and practice. They help the team stay focused on the goal and active work. They remove any impediments the team might have that stand in their way of achieving the goal. They also capture team metrics and ensure that all Scrum events take place in a timebox.

The Development Team are the people that are building the product. In the world of digital products, the development team could be composed of designers, software developers, data engineers, quality assurance engineers and anyone else needed to build a digital product.

The team should have all the skills necessary to create value each Sprint.

Scrum Workflow

Each digital product starts with a vision that ultimately is transformed into a set of features and user stories that live in a Product Backlog.

The Scrum Workflow starts with the Product Backlog, which usually has more work than the team can handle in one iteration. This is why the product backlog is prioritized by the PO with what is most important to the customer or stakeholders. The items are refined with the Development Team and prepared for sprint planning.

Sprint Planning

During the Sprint Planning, the PO and Development Team agree on a Sprint Goal that defines what the upcoming sprint is supposed to achieve. Using this goal, the development team reviews the product backlog and determines the highest priority items that the team can realistically accomplish in the upcoming Sprint.

The user stories that are refined and brought into the Sprint Planning, create what is called the Sprint Backlog, this will be the focus for the Development team during the active Sprint.

Most teams work within Sprints of two week to a month in duration.

Daily Scrum

Once the sprint starts, on each day of the Sprint, ideally at the same time, the Scrum Team holds a timeboxed scrum event called Daily Scrum, usually about 15 minutes long. The purpose of the Daily Scrum is to inspect progress toward the Sprint Goal and adapt the Sprint Backlog as necessary, adjusting the upcoming planned work.

Sprint Review

At the end of the Sprint, the Scrum Team and Stakeholders review what was accomplished in the Sprint during a Scrum event called Sprint Review.

The goal of this activity is to inspect and adapt the product that is being built and make any necessary changes to the Product Backlog.

A successful Sprint Review results in bi-directional flow of information between the Scrum team and the Stakeholders. The stakeholders learn more about the development effort and the Scrum team learns more about the business and product vision.

Sprint Retrospective

The last scrum event at the end of the Sprint is the Sprint Retrospective.

This is a session where the internal Scrum Team inspects how the last Sprint went with regards to individuals, interactions, processes, tools, and their Definition of Done.

The purpose of the Sprint Retrospective is to plan ways to increase quality and effectiveness. This session is usually facilitated by the Scrum Master.

Once the Retrospective ends, the entire process repeats.

A common approach for the daily Scrum has been for the Scrum Master to facilitate by asking each team member 3 questions for the benefit of the other team members:

  1. What did I accomplish since the last daily scrum?

  2. What do I plan to work on by the next daily scrum?

  3. What are the blockers or impediments that are preventing me from making progress?

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