Quick overview of SCRUM process

04 September 2016

SCRUM Process

The SCRUM approach and methodolgy can be described in infinite detail and with infinite changes between teams (ever improving and evolving process).  The aim of this article is to provide quick 10 second overview of the process and to identify the core/key elements which every SCRUm team will follow.  The illustration above covers this very well (thank you ScrumAliance.org). 

Product Backlog and Product backlog grooming

The product owner/business needs to identify what the software needs to do, where the software needs to improve etc.  All feature requests, enhancements and bug fixes need to be placed somewhere.  This place is the product backlog, it is a list of all stories which need implementing within the software.  

Before a story can be added to a sprint, the team needs to ensure the story has all the approapriate information.  The process of ensuring stories has the required information is usually done in the backlog grooming meeting.  

It advised the SCRUM team, draws up a list of criteria a story must have before it is allowed to be added to a sprint.  This will enpower the team and ensure the team wastes as little time during sprint planning. 

Sprint Planning

The meeting where the SCRUM team agree to and add stories from the product backlog into a sprint is know as the sprint planning meeting.  As part the meeting, the team will provide story points and estimates for every story added to the sprint.  Using the story points the team is able to identify the amount of work they can add to the sprint (when combined with the team velocity).  All members of the team have equal say into what can and cannot be added to the sprint.  By the end of this meeting the team will know what stories need to be delivered.  All information required to implement these stories will have been gathered and presented to the team prior to this meeting.

As part of this meeting the team will break down the stories into workable items/tasks.  Everything the team needs to now to complete the tasks is recorded and know at this point.  These tasks are then given a team estimate (in hours).  These estimates will then be used by the burn-down chart to momitor the sprint progress.

It is advised to keep the tasks to no more than a day in length.  If they cannot, then we should be asking questions about why this is?  Is there to much functionality, are there any unknowns in the task etc.

The Sprint itself

The sprint begins when the sprint plan is complete and the team has accepted and commited to the delivery of the sprint backlog.   The sprint is the part of the process where the team implements the individual tasks, which inturn implement the requested product backlog items/stories.  At the end of the sprint the team will deliver a "shippable" entity. It is advised a sprint lasts not shorter than 2 weeks and not longer than 4 weeks - personnaly 3 weeks seems the sweet spot.

Every day of the sprint the team will attend a daily stand-up where everyone wil provide a 3 minute overview of what they done yesterday, what they plan to do today and if they have any stopping points.  It is the SCRUM master responsibility to facility these meetings.  Again SCRUM activiely encourages responsibility and transparency.  During the sprint the team will work through the sprint backlog items. 

At the end of the sprint the team willl have two specific cermonies/meetings: 1) Sprint Demo - Provide a demo to all company employees, illustraing the shippable components created and 2) End of sprint retrospective - provides a envirnoment where the SCRUM team can feedback on what went weel, what went not so well, and what we can do during the next sprint.  Continual improvement!  

Summary

This was a very quick overview on the various key meetings which take place in the standard SCRUM cycle, I will provide more indepth articles relating to each of these.  For the time being please see the MDSN link below on how this may look as a complete example.

Further Reading

  • Scrum Aliance: Why Scrum - link
  • Scrum Aliance: The Scrum framework in 30 seconds Poster - link
  • MSDN: To Scrum or to Runw... - link
 Agile  SCRUM