SCRUM Introduction

(this notes are my watered-down, personal version of the following Udemy Course: “Preparation For Professional Scrum Master Level 1 (PSM1)” by Vladimir Raykov. If you want to get ready for the exam, I recommend buying and watching his course)

What’s SCRUM

Scrum is a lightweight framework that helps people, teams and organizations generate value through adaptive solutions for complex problems.

Scrum is NOT a methodology, process or method. It’s a framework. Scrum is based in empirical processes. Empiricism asserts that knowledge comes from experience and making decisions based on what’s observed. Lean thinking reduces waste and focuses on the essentials.

Scrum employs an iterative, incremental approach to optimize predictability and to control risk.

All Scrum items defined here are mandatory. We’re not allowed to skip an event regardless of the reason, the same as we cannot miss a Scrum Master, as the resulting framework cannot be called Scrum.

For the exam, is important to remember that each artifact contains a commitment, and both artifacts and commitments are mandatory.

Scrum Artifacts

Transparency is a quality of the Scrum artifacts, which are the following. Each artifact contains a commitment for the product backlog.

artifact commitment
Product Backlog Product Goal
Sprint Backlog Sprint Goal
The Increment Definition of Done

Product Backlog

Emergent, ordered list of what is needed to improve the product. It’s the single source of work undertaken by the Scrum Team. The Product Owner is accountable for the Product Backlog.

The items on top are the most valuable and are ordered in a way that maximizes the value of the product.

The product backlog is never complete.

Product Goal

The Product Goal describes a future state of the product which can serve as a target to plan against. The Product Goal is the long term objective for this Scrum Team. We cannot have multiple Product Goals at the same time. The team can achieve multiple product goals, but we do that one after another. The idea is to provide focus.

Sprint Backlog

The Sprint Backlog is composed of:

  • the Sprint Goal
  • a set of Product Backlog Items, selected for the Sprint
  • an actionable plan for delivering the Increment.

During the Sprint Planning event, the Developers decide how many items to move from the Product Backlog to the Sprint Backlog.

The Product Owner decides the order in which the product will be built, but the Developers decide how many items to select for development. The developers who will be doing the work are responsible for the sizing.

The Sprint Backlog changes during the Sprint as more is learned.

Sprint Goal

It’s the work the developers plan to get done in order to achieve the Sprint Goal, which is the leading element here. It’s the single objective for the Sprint.

The Increment

An Increment is a concrete stepping stone toward the Product Goal. An increment is a incremental version of the same product. The Scrum Team decides when to release the increment. This may be a few increments at a time. It’s not a rule to release an increment each sprint or to release only once per sprint.

We can basically release whenever we have a usable increment.

Definition of Done

This increases transparency. Everyone in the team knows what means to be done. Think of it as a checklist. It may change over time as the Scrum Team matures. They may add more bullet points and increase the quality of the work detail.

If we have multiple Scrum Teams working on the same product, all teams must mutally define and comply with the same Definition of Done.

Scrum Pillars

Scrum relies on transparency. This is one of the pillars that uphold scrum. All three being:

  1. Transparency
  2. Inspection
  3. Adaptation

Scrum Values

Commitment - people commit to achieving the guals of the Scrum Team
Courage - people dare to work on tough problems.
Focus - people focus on the work of the sprint.
Openness - all the parts agree to be open about the challenges.
Respect - people respect each other.

Scrum Accountabilities (former Scrum roles)

The Scrum Team is composed of:

Scrum Master - he’s accountable for establishing Scrum as defined in the Scrum Guide. They do this by helping everyone understand Scrum theory and practice, both within the Scrum Team and the organization. He’s considered a troop leader. They serve the scrum team, the product owner and the organization. His main accountability is the team’s effectiveness. He’s not a project manager. Project management activities are distributed among all members.

Developers (former Development Team!) - Within a Scrum Team, there’re no sub-teams or hierarchies. It’s a cohesive unit of professionals focused on one objective at a time, the Product Goal. They’re the people in the Scrum Team that are commited to creating any aspect of a usable Increment each Sprint. They create and adapt a plan each sprint.

Product Owner - he’s accountable for maximizing the value of the product resulting from the work of the Scrum Team. How this is done may vary across organization, Scrum Teams and individuals. He manages the Product Backlog. Communicates and engages with stakeholders. He explains the Product Items to Developers. Communication is critical. He’s also responsible for developing and communicating the Product Goal.

Characteristics of Scrum Teams

Cross-Functional - The members of the team have all the skills necessary to create value each spring.
Self-Managing - They’re empowered to decide who does what, when and how.

The size of the scrum team is typically 10 or fewer people. If the team grows, we should always consider splitting into smaller, more cohesive Scrum Teams.

Scrum Events

All events have a maximum set time for a 1 month Sprint. This time will be proportionally shorter, if the Sprint is also shorter.

Scrum Event Maximum Timebox
Sprint Planning 8 hours
Sprint Review 4 hours
Sprint Retrospective 3 hours
Daily Scrum always 15 minutes

Sprint planning - Is where the Scrum team discusses three main questions.

  1. Why is this Sprint valuable?
  2. What can be Done this Sprint?
  3. How will the chosen work get done?

During the planning the Scrum Team creates the Sprint Goal. The developers select Stories from the Product Backlog to be included in the Sprint Backlog.

The sprint - Is a container for all other events. maximum duration of one month. there’re no pauses between the sprints and sprints starts immediately after the conclusion of the previous one. During the sprint it’s the sprint goal that helps teams stay focused. Only the Product Owner has the authority to cancel a Sprint. That happens when the sprint goal becomes obsolete. This is always bad for the team.

Daily scrum - 15 minutes meeting for the developers. It’s purpose is to inspect progress toward the Sprint Goal and adapt the Sprint Backlog as necessary, adjusting the upcoming planned work. During this event the developers plan the work for the next day. This is not the only time developers are allowed to adjust their plan.

Sprint review - The purpose of the Sprint Review is to inspect the outcome of the Sprint and determine future adaptations. The Scrum Team presents the results of their work to key stakeholders and progress toward the Product Goal is discussed. Key stakeholders attended this event and provide feedback, they share information about any changes. The scrum team considers the information, and as a result, they think what would be best to do next.

Sprint retrospective - It happens after the Sprint Review and before the next Sprint Planning. It’s an opportunity to inspect and adapt. The purpose of the Sprint Retrospective is to plan ways to increase quality and effectiveness.