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Scrum (software development) Methodology

Scrum is an iterative and incremental agile software development framework for managing software projects and product or application development. Its focus is on "a flexible, holistic product development strategy where a development team works as a unit to reach a common goal" as opposed to a "traditional, sequential approach". Scrum enables the creation of self-organizing teams by encouraging co-location of all team members, and verbal communication between all team members and disciplines in the project.

A key principle of Scrum is its recognition that during a project the customers can change their minds about what they want and need (often called requirements churn), and that unpredicted challenges cannot be easily addressed in a traditional predictive or planned manner. As such, Scrum adopts an empirical approach—accepting that the problem cannot be fully understood or defined, focusing instead on maximizing the team's ability to deliver quickly and respond to emerging requirements.

Roles

There are three core roles and a range of ancillary roles—core roles are often referred to as pigs and ancillary roles as chickens (after the story The Chicken and the Pig).
The core roles are those committed to the project in the Scrum process—they are the ones producing the product (objective of the project). They represent the scrum team.

Product Owner

The Product Owner represents the stakeholders and is the voice of the customer. He or she is accountable for ensuring that the team delivers value to the business. The Product Owner writes (or has the team write) customer-centric items (typically user stories), ranks and prioritizes them, and adds them to the product backlog. Scrum teams should have one Product Owner, and while they may also be a member of the development team, this role should not be combined with that of the Scrum Master. In an enterprise environment, though, the Product Owner is often combined with the role of Project Manager as they have the best visibility regarding the scope of work (products).

Team

The Team is responsible for delivering potentially shippable product increments at the end of each Sprint (the Sprint Goal). A Team is made up of 7 +/- 2 individuals with cross-functional skills who do the actual work (analyse, design, develop, test, technical communication, document, etc.). The Team in Scrum is self-organizing, even though there may be some level of interface with project management offices (PMOs).

Scrum Master

Scrum is facilitated by a Scrum Master, who is accountable for removing impediments to the ability of the team to deliver the sprint goal/deliverables. The Scrum Master is not the team leader, but acts as a buffer between the team and any distracting influences. The Scrum Master ensures that the Scrum process is used as intended. The Scrum Master is the enforcer of the rules of Scrum, often chairs key meetings, and challenges the team to improve. The role has also been referred to as a servant-leader to reinforce these dual perspectives. The Scrum Master differs from a Project Manager in that the latter may have people management responsibilities unrelated to the role of Scrum Master. The Scrum Master role excludes any such additional people responsibilities.

Project Manager

The individual responsible for the success of the project.

The Project Executive and Project Board

Those accountable for the project, particularly where issues and impediments need escalating outside of the Scrum team.

Project Assurance

The individuals with whom the Scrum team will consult in order to achieve their Sprint Goal, and with whom the Product Owner engages to understand what the ranked order of product backlog items should take in order to deliver enterprise value. The Project Assurance group consist of representatives of the Senior Supplier, Senior User and the Project Executive.

Managers

People who control the work environment.

Stakeholders

The individuals, not mentioned above, that often interface both with the Project Assurance group and with the Scrum Team. The stakeholders are sometimes customers, end-users, and vendors. They are people who enable the project and for whom the project produces the agreed-upon benefit[s] that justify its production. They may be involved in the Scrum process during the Sprint Review.

Sprint

A sprint is the basic unit of development in Scrum. The sprint is a "timeboxed" effort, i.e. it is restricted to a specific duration. The duration is fixed in advance for each sprint and is normally between one week and one month.
File:Scrum process.svgEach sprint is preceded by a planning meeting, where the tasks for the sprint are identified and an estimated commitment for the sprint goal is made, and followed by a review or retrospective meeting, where the progress is reviewed and lessons for the next sprint are identified.

Meetings

Daily Scrum


Each day during the sprint, a project team communication meeting occurs. This is called a daily scrum, or the daily standup. This meeting has specific guidelines:
    File:Scrum task board.jpg
  • All members of the development team come prepared with the updates for the meeting.
  • The meeting starts precisely on time even if some development team members are missing.
  • The meeting should happen at the same location and same time every day.
  • The meeting length is set (timeboxed) to 15 minutes.
  • All are welcome, but normally only the core roles speak.
During the meeting, each team member answers three questions:
  • What have you done since yesterday?
  • What are you planning to do today?
  • Any impediments/stumbling blocks? Any impediment/stumbling block identified in this meeting is documented by the Scrum Master and worked towards resolution outside of this meeting. No detailed discussions shall happen in this meeting.

Backlog refinement (grooming)

This is the process of creating stories, decomposing stories into smaller ones when they are too large, refining the acceptance criteria for individual stories, prioritizing stories on the product backlog and sizing the existing stories in the product backlog using effort/points. During each sprint the team should spend time doing product backlog refinement to keep a pool of stories ready for the next sprint.
  • Meetings should not be longer than an hour.
  • Meeting does not include breaking stories into tasks.
  • The team can decide how many meetings are needed per week.
  • Though everything can be done in a single meeting, these are commonly broken into two types of meetings for efficiency:
  1. The refinement meeting, when the product owner and stakeholders create and refine stories on the product backlog.
  2. The planning poker meeting, when the team sizes the stories on the product backlog to make them ready for the next sprint

Scrum of Scrums

Each day normally after the Daily Scrum:
  • These meetings allow clusters of teams to discuss their work, focusing especially on areas of overlap and integration.
  • A designated person from each team attends.
The agenda will be the same as the Daily Scrum, plus the following four questions:
  • What has your team done since we last met?
  • What will your team do before we meet again?
  • Is anything slowing your team down or getting in their way?
  • Are you about to put something in another team's way?

Sprint planning meeting

At the beginning of the sprint cycle (every 7–30 days), a "Sprint planning meeting" is held:
  • Select what work is to be done
  • Prepare the Sprint Backlog that details the time it will take to do that work, with the entire team
  • Identify and communicate how much of the work is likely to be done during the current sprint
  • Eight-hour time limit
    • (1st four hours) Entire team: dialog for prioritizing the Product Backlog
    • (2nd four hours) Development Team: hashing out a plan for the Sprint, resulting in the Sprint Backlog

End of cycle

At the end of a sprint cycle, two meetings are held: the "Sprint Review Meeting" and the "Sprint Retrospective".
At the Sprint Review Meeting:
  • Review the work that was completed and the planned work that was not completed
  • Present the completed work to the stakeholders (a.k.a. "the demo")
  • Incomplete work cannot be demonstrated
  • Four-hour time limit
At the Sprint Retrospective:
  • All team members reflect on the past sprint
  • Make continuous process improvements
  • Two main questions are asked in the sprint retrospective: What went well during the sprint? What didn't went well? What could be improved in the next sprint?
  • Three-hour time limit
  • This meeting is facilitated by the Scrum Master

Artifacts

Product Backlog

The product backlog is an ordered list of "requirements" that is maintained for a product. It consists of features, bug fixes, non-functional requirements, etc. - whatever needs to be done in order to successfully deliver a working software system. The items are ordered by the Product Owner based on considerations like risk, business value, dependencies, date needed, etc. 
The features added to the backlog are commonly written in story format . The product backlog is the "What" that will be built, sorted in the relative order in which it should be built. It is open and editable by anyone, but the Product Owner is ultimately responsible for ordering the stories on the backlog for the Development Team. The product backlog contains rough estimates of both business value and development effort, these values are often stated in story points using a rounded Fibonacci sequence. Those estimates help the Product Owner to gauge the timeline and may influence ordering of backlog items. For example, if the "add spellcheck" and "add table support" features have the same business value, the one with the smallest development effort will probably have higher priority, because the ROI (Return on Investment) is higher.
The Product Backlog and business value of each listed item is the responsibility of the Product Owner. The estimated effort to complete each backlog item is, however, determined by the Development Team. The team contributes by estimating Items and User-Stories, either in Story-points or in estimated hours

Sprint Backlog

The sprint backlog is the list of work the Development Team must address during the next sprint. The list is derived by selecting stories/features from the top of the product backlog until the Development Team feels it has enough work to fill the sprint. This is done by the Development Team asking "Can we also do this?" and adding stories/features to the sprint backlog. The Development Team should keep in mind the velocity of its previous Sprints (total story points completed from each of the last sprint's stories) when selecting stories/features for the new sprint, and use this number as a guide line of how much "effort" they can complete.
The stories/features are broken down into tasks by the Development Team, which, as a best practice, should normally be between four and sixteen hours of work. With this level of detail the Development Team understands exactly what to do, and potentially, anyone can pick a task from the list. Tasks on the sprint backlog are never assigned; rather, tasks are signed up for by the team members as needed during the daily scrum, according to the set priority and the Development Team member skills. This promotes self-organization of the Development Team, and developer buy-in.
The sprint backlog is the property of the Development Team, and all included estimates are provided by the Development Team. Often an accompanying task board is used to see and change the state of the tasks of the current sprint, like "to do", "in progress" and "done".
Once a Sprint's Product Backlog is committed, no additional functionality can be added to the Sprint except by the team. Once a Sprint has been delivered, the Product Backlog is analyzed and reprioritized, if necessary, and the next set of functionality is selected for the next Sprint.

Increment

The increment is the sum of all the Product Backlog Items completed during a sprint and all previous sprints. At the end of a sprint, the Increment must be done according to the Scrum Team's definition of done. The increment must be in usable condition regardless of whether the Product Owner decides to actually release it.

Burn down

The sprint burn down chart is a publicly displayed chart showing remaining work in the sprint backlog. Updated every day, it gives a simple view of the sprint progress. It also provides quick visualizations for reference. There are also other types of burndown, for example the release burndown chart that shows the amount of work left to complete the target commitment for a Product Release (normally spanning through multiple iterations) and the alternative release burndown chart, which basically does the same, but clearly shows scope changes to Release Content, by resetting the baseline.

FAQ:

Q. How do  you get the user stories which are put in product backlog?
Q. How Scrum master remove impediments to ability of team. If a team member is facing a problem how will he get to know about it and how he fix it. With example?
Q. How project manager is different from Scrum Master and what are it's role and responsibility.
Q. Who verifies the quality of your code. How it is checked for performance?
Q. Explain your daily work routine.
Q. What happen if you are not able to complete your sprint in defined time or week.
Q. According to grooming - "During each sprint the team should spend time doing product backlog refinement to keep a pool of stories ready for the next sprint.". How this is done in daily routine. Who drives it?
Q. In Backlog refinement meeting where "creating stories, decomposing stories into smaller ones when they are too large, refining the acceptance criteria for individual stories, prioritizing stories on the product backlog" is done, who is involved and what role do you play in it?
Q. We have single team or people are divided in multiple teams. If multiple teams then how they communicate with each other.
Q. What you need to do if you are not able to complete a sprint in particular time?

9 comments:

I can never correct the way you wrote, the style you presented, in the order you explained., I agreed that reposting this post would be helpful to some. Thanks!

 

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I didn't know much about Scrum. This blog post has explained this methodology in so much detail. Thank you blogger for writing such an informative article.

Regards,
Prasant Saxsena
Software Development Company

 

This is one of the good articles you can find in the net explaining everything in detail regarding the Scrum software devlopment methodology. I thank you for taking your time sharing your thoughts and ideas to a lot of readers out there. - See more

 

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