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Nikel has a masters degree in Engineering management. She is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and a Certified Scrum Production Owner (CSPO)
Scrum is an Agile methodology that focuses on small incremental and iterative cycles called sprints. Each sprint produces a minimally viable product that delivers business value. It consists of four mandatory ceremonies (or meetings), one optional meeting, three artifacts, and three core roles.
The four core meetings are sprint planning, daily Scrum, sprint review, and the sprint retrospective. Backlog refinement is an optional but highly recommended ceremony. The three key artifacts include the product backlog, the sprint backlog, and the product increment. The product backlog is the first artifact created. The three core roles include the product owner, Scrum master, and the development team.
Now, let's take a closer look at each of these elements in greater detail:
Before you can start creating a product, you must determine stakeholder needs. Stakeholders are the people who have an interest in the product, including the product's users. Creating an initial list of prioritized user needs is called seeding the product backlog. The product backlog items, or PBIs, are often in the form of a user story.
For example, a user story may be:
Though Scrum supports a collaborative process, creating and maintaining the product backlog by working closely with the stakeholders is the responsibility of the product owner as they represent the voice of the customers.
The development cycle is called a sprint, and the user stories that make it into the sprint are collectively called the sprint backlog. A sprint typically last between one to four weeks, but two-week sprints are the most common. The Scrum team works together to decide ultimately what can be accomplished in the next sprint.
Two questions are addressed during sprint planning:
The Scrum master moderates this meeting and ensures that the team is following the Scrum process, clears any roadblocks, and ensures that the team does not deviate from the sprint goal. This sprint planning meeting typically lasts at least two hours.
At the sprint planning meeting, the product owner presents the prioritized list, represents the stakeholder, and helps the team understand the user stories by answering questions and providing explanations and additional information.
The development team is the group of individuals responsible for performing the work. It may consist of both IT and non-IT personnel. The development team assigns story points to indicate the level of effort required for each top priority user story and determines which stories can be completed in the sprint and how the tasks need to be performed.
The daily Scrum meeting is a 10-15 minute meeting held every day and is primarily for the development team. Each member of the development team answers three fundamental questions:
It ensures that the team is working towards a single goal and is an opportunity to request support or assistance from other team members. It is highly recommended that the product owner and Scrum master are available for these meetings.
Backlog refinement is the responsibility of the product owner. Their primary goal is to ensure that the product backlog is prioritized and that there are completed user stories available for the next one to two sprints. But, this last task is actually a collaborative effort and includes the Scrum team and the stakeholders.
Sprint backlog refinement involves the creation, improvement, deletion, reprioritization, and the splitting of stories into smaller independent user stories. The initial story may be split into two different stories, so using our previous example, the user story might become:
It is important to note that any team member can add stories to the product backlog at any time. For a two-week sprint, backlog refinement may last up to two hours per sprint.
During the sprint review, the development team showcases the work completed to the stakeholders and product owner, at which point they will accept or reject what has been delivered with the sprint. And, this latest version of the end product is called the product increment.
The sprint retrospective is an opportunity to reflect, adapt, and continuously improve, moving the team toward becoming a high performing team.
The team should highlight what worked and what did not work. The goal is not to create an exhaustive list but rather to identify a few areas around which action plans can be designed to eliminate inefficiencies in the operation of the team. As you can see, the theme of iterative and incremental development is applied throughout the Scrum process - and this even applies to team development.
The Scrum cycle begins with the sprint planning and ends with the sprint retrospective. This cycle continues until budgets have been depleted, the scheduled timeline has elapsed, or the project ends. Regardless of how the project ends, this process ensures the most valuable features are delivered.
Here's the Scrum cycle in a nutshell:
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Back To CourseAgile & Scrum Training
9 chapters | 131 lessons
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