What is Scrum, in simple terms?
If you’re hearing about “Scrum”, “Scrum Masters” and “Daily Standups” without a clue as to what they mean and how they fit in a business environment, you’ve hit on the right article.
Scrum is fantastic. It’s one of the biggest game changers in today’s business world.Our goal with this article is to give you a clear, simple outline of what scrum is and how it works.
Let’s start from the top: What is Scrum?
Scrum is a form of Agile. What is Agile? Agile is a project management methodology. It’s a set of principles for managing projects that have changing or difficult-to-define requirements.
There are several frameworks (methods) for implementing Agile. Scrum is the most popular of these frameworks.
Scrum was originally inspired by how rugby teams self-organise to achieve results during a match. It’s particularly suited to projects or businesses where there is a strong project team culture.
Who uses Scrum?
Almost every kind of business uses Scrum. It originated in the software development industry in the early 90s, but its popularity has spread throughout every sector in the years since its birth.
You’ll find that Scrum is used in small and medium enterprises almost as often as it’s adopted in large organisations.
How does Scrum Work?
There are many elements that make Scrum work. When combined, they form a very efficient and powerful way to manage projects.
3 Pillars of Scrum
These could be called the “key concepts” of Scrum. They are:
Transparency means that everyone in the business can see the progress of a Scrum project – not just the members of the team.
Inspection refers to a continuous improvement approach. Scrum teams have many opportunities to review what’s working and what’s not working throughout the Scrum Cycle.
Adaption is perhaps the defining characteristic of Scrum. It’s an approach to managing projects that can respond well to, and even welcome changes to requirements and circumstances.
Sprints and the Scrum Cycle
This is the life cycle of a Sprint or period of activity for a Scrum Team. Sprints are usually between 2 and 4 weeks long.
Sprints follow the same set of stages each time they run. These stages within the cycle provide a flexible structure for the team to manoeuvre within.
The Scrum Team
We mentioned above that Scrum is built around tightly-knit, high-performance teams. Let’s take a closer look at how that team is structured.
Everyone within the team has a very clearly outlined role and set of responsibilities.
The Product Owner is a very important stakeholder within a Scrum project. They act as the voice of the customer and define the deliverables.
There’s a reason why Scrum Master courses are always in such demand. The Scrum Master is a key role within the team. They create the right environment for the team to work on the project, block disruptions, and help to overcome obstacles.
Scrum Masters also ensure that the values of Scrum are upheld and that Scrum processes are correctly applied. They mentor the team and work closely with the Scrum Product Owner on prioritising tasks.
These are the members of the team who work actively on what the project is trying to achieve. Scrum Team members must have a good understanding of the values and processes of Scrum.