Scrum in a nutshell
In order to provide a better understanding of the topic “Agile Transformation”, especially for readers of our homepage who are inexperienced in this area, we have summarised the essential terms of the Scrum framework once more here.
The Scrum Cycle
The basis for the product development project. Describes the goal of the project from the customer’s point of view. It serves to establish a common source of orientation and the alignment of the Scrum team with the goal. The vision describes why the project is being implemented and what the desired state to be achieved actually is.
Listing of all product features in prioritised order. Structured according to Epics, Features and Stories. Subject to constant change. The Product Owner is responsible for it and it is jointly maintained by the Scrum Team. Prioritisation is based on customer value and risks.
Always consists of the three roles of Product Owner, Scrum Master and Development Team. Should not exceed a total team size of 11 members. The Scrum Team is self-organised and interdisciplinary. It possesses all the competencies required for the development of the desired product.
Responsible for the Product Backlog and, thus, for the effectiveness of the team (= that the right things are done). Has budget responsibility. Knows the market and customers as well as technology and project processes. Is the main link to the stakeholders.
Is the methodological specialist and bears responsibility for efficiency (= that what is done is done with the least possible use of resource). Supports and coaches the team, as well as the stakeholders, on how to provide the best possible support to the team.
Responsible for implementing the backlog to the required quality. Organises its own work based on the prioritised Backlog. Contributes to the maintenance of the Product Backlog. Is interdisciplinary with all competencies required for the development of the product. In an ideal Scrum, there are no further subdivisions within the Development Team into specialist areas, which in practice is to be achieved by developing employees with T-shaped areas of competence (= in addition to their own expert knowledge in their specialist area, the employee has a foundation knowledge from other specialist areas).
The self-organised agreement of the Scrum Team, in which all questions relevant to the team are clarified. This mainly concerns the dates for the events, the premises and, if necessary, the sprint length, if the team is not bound by constraints from a scaling to a fixed sprint length. In addition, it can also be clarified, for example, as to how teams make decisions.
Definition of Done
Is a checklist of activities that must be completed for each Product Backlog item or how the acceptance criteria must be met. It is agreed between the Development Team and the Product Owner and serves the purpose of ensuring that the quality of the completed tasks meets expectations. The Definition of Done is discussed at the beginning of each Sprint in the planning meeting and adjusted as needed.
Is the time interval in which the Scrum Team carries out a complete iteration. The iteration includes all events and has the goal of generating a new increment – ideally an MVP (= Minimum Viable Product). The duration of a sprint is between one and four weeks and is kept at one value at least for longer phases.
First meeting (event) in the sprint. Objective: Setting a Sprint Goal and committing a body of work to achieve it. In the first part of the Sprint Planning, the entire Scrum Team participates. When the Sprint Goal has been ascertained and the required tasks have been clarified, the PO can leave the meeting. The Development Team then organises the completion of the work itself. To do this, the prioritised tasks are drawn from the team members and the effort required to complete them is estimated in Story Points. For each sprint, the team should plan a firmly committed scope of work. In addition, tasks can be scheduled for team members to complete when they have finished completing the committed Stories. Sprint Planning takes 2h per Sprint Week.
Daily synchronisation of the team. Takes a maximum of 15 minutes. Each team member reports on what he or she completed the day before, what is planned for today and where there are any impediments (= obstacles). Participants are the Development Team and the Scrum Master, as well as the Product Owner (optionally).
Serves to revise the Backlog. Time required: 4 hours per sprint week. The meeting can be organised freely, e.g. weekly or once per sprint if the sprint duration is two weeks or more. The whole team takes part. The aim is to update the backlog and adjust the prioritisation if necessary. If possible, backlog items are also estimated.
The Sprint Result (increment) is presented to the stakeholders. Stakeholders are the affected managers of the company and the customers. They provide feedback on the results and advise the Scrum Team with them. However, they do not make any decisions. The feedback from the stakeholders flows into the next Sprint Planning or the next Backlog Refinement. Each team member presents the result he/she has worked out and thus receives direct feedback on it. In addition to the stakeholders, the entire team takes part in the review. The Sprint Review lasts 1 hour per Sprint Week.
All team members take part in the review and discuss how the collaboration was during the last sprint. The aim is to increase efficiency. The Scrum Master acts as event facilitator/moderator here and ensures that specific measures with deadlines and responsible individuals are worked out. The Retrospective lasts 45 minutes per Sprint Week.
For more detailed information, please refer to the official Scrum Guide by Ken Schwaber & Jeff Sutherland.