Scrum Process Flow: Diagram & Development

Instructor: David Whitsett

David has taught computer applications, computer fundamentals, computer networking, and marketing at the college level. He has a MBA in marketing.

Many people hear the word 'scrum' and think of rugby, but Scrum has a different meaning in the business world. In this lesson, we'll define Scrum Process Flow and show how scrum is used in software development and for projects.

No Ball Required

In the sports world, a scrum is a restart in a rugby game after a penalty. Players from both teams pack closely together, the ball is thrown in the middle, and everyone fights for possession. In the business world, we don't want anyone fighting (hopefully) but there are times when teams form to get things done.

Imagine this scene in your conference room
Rugby scrum

Scrum is a framework for teams to get projects accomplished, most often software development projects. Previously the dominant paradigm for development projects was the Waterfall approach, named because the steps seem to flow one way: downhill. This approach is more linear and doesn't allow for customer feedback until towards the end of the process.

In response to shortcomings with the Waterfall approach, a new movement known as Agile was created in 2001. The Agile process was designed to be more iterative and team-based, emphasizing collaboration. Scrum is one of the approaches born out of the Agile movement.

Scrum has three primary roles:

  • Scrum Master - It sounds like this would be the 'boss,' but the Scrum Master's role is to protect the team from outside interference and distractions so they can accomplish their tasks. They have a leadership role but don't really have any management authority over the team, which is self-organizing.
  • Product Owner - This person takes input from Stakeholders, sets the product vision and decides when the product is ready to release.
  • Scrum Team - A small (usually less than 10 people), self-managing group that delivers results for the product's stakeholders. The team is cross-functional (developers, analysts, designers, etc.) and in many cases may work in the same room to foster close collaboration.

Another important entity in the process is the Stakeholder. These are the folks in the company who need the software or project completed. They communicate their desires, wants and needs to the Product Owner, who then passes that info along to the Scrum Team.

Scrum Process Flow

It's hard to go someplace unfamiliar without a set of directions, so the first phase in the Scrum process is the Visioning phase, where parties meet to decide on an overall focus for the project and to develop a Product Roadmap. The short, timed work phases in developing the product are called Sprints. Within each Sprint, a Product Backlog is created, which is a prioritized list of items to be completed during the Sprint, all of which should support the strategy and goals for the product release.

A diagram of Scrum process flow through the Sprint
Scrum process flow

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