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Scrum: Rules & Best Practices

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  • 0:04 Scrum Process
  • 1:19 Scrum Team
  • 2:25 Scrum Documentation
  • 3:14 Scrum Meetings
  • 5:12 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Olga Bugajenko

Olga is a registered PRINCE2 Practitioner and has a master's degree in project management.

Scrum is the most popular Agile software development methodology at the moment. Become acquainted with its rules, and learn to apply the best practices!

Scrum Process

On a typical day, you wake up to an alarm clock on your smartphone, turn on your laptop in the office, check your e-mail, and maybe even shop online. Once in while, new functionalities are added to your favorite services, making you either very frustrated or even happier with the service. Each of these processes is operated by software, and the process of creating new software or adding new functionalities to the existing one is called software development.

Scrum is an Agile software development methodology. The development process is split into sprints and these are development intervals of equal lengths, usually two to four weeks. The length of the sprint is determined in the beginning of the project, and should be long enough to deliver a meaningful chunk of work but short enough to keep the planning simple. The project planning is performed for one sprint at a time, and the work is assigned to the team members in the beginning of each sprint. The progress is monitored on a daily basis. Because of the close monitoring and very short planning horizon, this approach works best for small teams with a limited development calendar.

This lesson will introduce the main roles and milestones of the process together with the rules safeguarding them. The main aim of Scrum rules is to optimize the development process and minimize time wasted.

Scrum Team

Scrum is usually used for small development teams of five to nine people. There are two main roles within the team: the product owner and Scrum master. Within the team, there can only be one product owner and one Scrum master.

The product owner is the project customer and defines the requirements and priorities of the project. The Scrum master is the team leader, who is responsible for moderating meetings, producing documentation, and resolving any issues during the project. He has the authority to terminate any development sprint in case unresolvable issues arise or the workload proves to be inadequate. He/she is also responsible for making sure that everyone follows the Scrum rules.

There are no assigned roles and hierarchy within the rest of the team. The Scrum master and other team members are all responsible for the actual implementation of the project: design, development, testing, and any other arising tasks. The Scrum team is self-managing, and while it can seek help and advice from outside the team, the inner workings of the team should not be affected by people outside of the team, like top management.

Scrum Documentation

Scrum advocates for creation of minimal documentation. There are only two mandatory documents: the product backlog and the sprint backlog. Both documents are lists of items or features that are included in the project. A product backlog lists all features of the project, while a sprint backlog lists only those items that must be completed within a sprint, which is the two- to four-week long development interval.

The items are added to the product backlog by the product owner in the beginning of the project. The product owner can continue to add items to the product backlog during the project, but only during the sprint planning meetings and not during the sprints themselves. Before each sprint, the sprint backlog is created based on all team members' opinions using the product backlog and any unfinished items from the previous sprints.

Scrum Meetings

There are four main types of meetings in the Scrum process. The four main types of meetings in the Scrum process are the following:

  1. Daily Scrum meetings
  2. Sprint Planning meetings
  3. Sprint Review meetings
  4. Sprint Retrospective meetings

Each meeting is attended by the product owner, the Scrum master, and all team members. People from outside of the Scrum team should be invited only if their input is vital to the project.

Daily Scrum meetings take place at the same time and at the same place every morning and should not be longer than 15 minutes. It is often a custom to conduct these while standing up to keep them short and sweet. Every team member must answer three short questions during the meeting:

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