As the fourth industrial revolution is taking over our workplaces, skill development has become essential for advancing your career. It diversifies your job options and helps you develop new techniques to keep up with the fast-changing world. Mastering Scrum will provide the edge you need to thrive at your work.
What is Scrum
Scrum is a framework that helps teams work together. It encourages teams to learn through experiences, self-organize while working on a problem, and reflect on their wins and losses to improve continuously. The scrum framework is based on continuous learning and adjustment to fluctuating factors. It acknowledges that the team doesn’t know everything at the start of a project and will evolve through experience. Scrum is structured to help teams naturally adapt to changing conditions and user requirements, with re-prioritization built into the process and short release cycles so your team can continuously learn and improve. While Scrum is structured, it is not entirely rigid. Its execution can be tailored to the needs of any organization.
Essential Scrum Tools
Product Backlog is the master list of work that needs to get done and maintained by the product owner or product manager. It is a dynamic list of features, requirements, enhancements, and fixes that acts as the input for the sprint backlog. It is, essentially, the team’s “To Do” list. The product backlog is continuously revisited, re-prioritized, and maintained by the Product Owner. As we learn more or as the market changes, items may no longer be relevant or problems may get solved in other ways.
Sprint Backlog is the list of items, user stories, or bug fixes selected by the development team for implementation in the current sprint cycle. Before each sprint, in the sprint planning meeting (which we’ll discuss later in the article), the team chooses which items it will work on to sprint from the product backlog. A sprint backlog may be flexible and can evolve during a sprint. However, the fundamental sprint goal – what the team wants to achieve from the current sprint – cannot be compromised.
Sprint Goal is the usable end-product from a sprint. However, the definition of a goal varies greatly depending on the nature of the organization. For example, some teams choose to release something to their customers at the end of every sprint. So their definition of ‘done’ would be ‘shipped.’ Concurrently, the goal might ultimately be different for companies that ship products to customers quarterly.
Organize the backlog: Sometimes known as backlog grooming, this event is the product owner’s responsibility. The primary objective is to drive the product towards its vision and constant pulse on the market and the customer. Therefore, he/she maintains this list using feedback from users and the development team to help prioritize and keep the list clean and ready to be worked on at any given time.
Sprint Planning: The work to be performed (scope) during the current sprint is planned during this meeting by the entire development team. This meeting is led by the scrum master and is where the team decides on the sprint goal. Specific use stories are then added to the sprint from the product backlog. These stories always align with the plan and are also agreed upon by the scrum team. At the end of the planning meeting, every scrum member needs to be clear on what can be delivered in the sprint and how the increment can be delivered.
Daily Scrum/Stand Up: It is a daily short meeting at the same time. The daily Scrum goal is for everyone on the team to be on the same page, aligned with the sprint goal, and get a plan out for the next 24 hours.
Sprint review: At the end of the sprint, the team gets together for an informal session to view a demo of, or inspect, the increment. The development team showcases the backlog items that are now ‘Done’ to stakeholders and teammates for feedback. The product owner can decide whether to release the increment, although the increment is released in most cases.
Sprint retrospective: The retrospective is where the team comes together to document and discuss what worked and what didn’t work in a sprint, a project, people or relationships, tools, or even for certain ceremonies. The idea is to create a place where the team can focus on what went well and what needs to be improved for the next time, and less about what went wrong.