The scrum framework is in actual fact quite simple. There are only 4 meetings or ceremonies as sometimes referred to and 6 artefacts, although I add an extra one as I think it is vital to helping the team work.
If you are not doing these meetings or maintaining these artefacts then you are not doing scrum, missing things out will cause you to lose all of the benefits that you would otherwise have gained. As there are only a few simple things to do then there really is no need not to do them.
Scrum is built upon delivering working software at no longer than 30 days at a time, many people now deliver in sprints of 2 or 3 weeks and in fact I have been working successfully with 3 weeks sprints for quite some time.
- Sprint Planning – Takes place at the start of each sprint. The team meet with the product owner and discuss the next set of highest priority items from the product backlog. The result of this meeting is a sprint backlog which contains the stories broken down into tasks with estimates for each task. The team also agree with the product owner the commitment for the sprint and a sprint goal. This commitment is generally based on the teams known velocity.
- Daily scrum – The team meet for a maximum of 15 minutes per day with the scrum master around the team task board. Team members update the task board, align with each other on tasks and answer 3 questions. What have you done in the last 24 hours, what will you do in the next 24 hours and what is getting in your way.
- Sprint Review or demo – Takes place at the end of each sprint. The team meet with the product owner and demonstrate the working software produced during that sprint. This allows the team and product owner to inspect and adapt the product.
- Retrospective – Occurs at the end of each sprint. The team meet with the scrum master and look at want went well and what can be improved. Individual actions are taken to improve the process. This allows the team and scrum master to inspect and adapt the process.
Let’s take a look at the scrum artifacts:
- Vision Statement – Every project should have a vision. It is vital for the team and any one else involved to know what they are aiming for. It should be simple and straight to the point providing a description of the product to be built.
- Product Backlog – This is the list of all the requirements known about for the system whether they be functional or non-functional. This list must be prioritised and it describes the what of the system. Requirements are often described using a technique called user stories. The product back log is always in flux and can be changed and re-prioritised as the project needs.
- Sprint Goal – The Vision for the current sprint. This is an agreement between the team and the product owner and helps the team to meet the objectives for the sprint.
- Sprint Backlog – The team break the product backlog items down into the tasks they need to do to complete the backlog item. This is the how of the system.
- Impediments – All things that are slowing down or stopping the development process are identified and prioritised. This can be at daily scrums or in team retrospectives. These impediments can be team or organisational.
- Sprint Burndown – A visual representation of the teams progress for the sprint. This allows the team, scrum master and other interested parties to see the current progress.
- Task Board – Not technically a scrum artefact but I believe that it is vital. It allows the team to be transparent with its progress. It creates a focal point for the team; daily scrums can be held around it and it aides and focuses communication. You can also expand it with your impediments and sprint burndown charts.
The diagram below puts into context the scrum flow
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