Scrum - An awesome management framework that you should try

Scrum (noun): an ordered formation of players, used to restart play, in which the forwards of a team

Scrum (noun): an ordered formation of players, used to restart play, in which the forwards of a team form up with arms interlocked and heads down, and push forward against a similar group from the opposing side. The ball is thrown into the scrum and the players try to gain possession of it by kicking it backward toward their own side.

Why Scrum is called Scrum, you wonder?

In 1986, Hirotaka Takeuchi and Ikujiro Nonaka used the term Scrum in their paper "The New New Product Development Game", that was the first time ever Scrum appeared in the world of management. According to these Japanese authors, the usage of the word Scrum is to emphasize the great importance of teams in building complicated projects.

So, what exactly is Scrum?

Scrum is a framework that is used to implement Agile development. And Agile, as you may already know, is a lightweight software development methodology that has been used as far back as the 1970s. But in this article, we won't go too deeply into Agile, we are just going to dive right in Scrum.

Scrum’s spirit is the self-organizing, cross-functional team. Normally, a Scrum team has 5 to 7 members, they are not only excellent at coding but also expert on commitment, focus, openness, respect, and courage. They will take on and choose the technique to deliver pieces of works in frequent increments. They are their own boss, no one should tell them how to do their jobs.

The other two roles are product owner and Scrum master. Product owner is the one who decides what needs to be accomplished and place the priorities to deliver the uppermost value. The duty of Scum master is to shield the Scrum process and block any distractions. This position requires someone who completely understands Scrum, has strong communication skills, be able to guide, coach, teach Scrum team and leads them to successfully employ this framework.

How Scrum works?

It is not that hard to grasp the concept of Scrum. We will break the process down so you can easily see how to apply it into your complex projects:

Step 1. Product owner collects information from end-users, customers, stakeholders, etc to form a list of features. That is called product backlog.

Step 2. After receiving the product backlog, Scrum team conducts a sprint planning meeting. In this meeting, they have two big questions to answer:

What can be done at the end of this sprint?

How to achieve the work?

The result of a sprint planning meeting is a sprint backlog, it includes all the tasks and timeline for each task.

Step 3. Sprinting

One sprint lasts from 1 to 4 weeks. There should be no changes in duration or goal during the sprint.

Daily scrum meeting is held every day for 15 mins at the same time and same place. All team members have to go through 3 questions:

What did I do yesterday?

What will I do today?

Do I encounter any problems while doing my work?

Step 4. When the sprint is coming to an end, backlog refinement will take place. In this stage, items are reviewed and revised, the purpose is to make the requirements more transparent and to prepare the backlog for next coming sprint.

Step 5. Sprint finishes, Scrum team hands over the product increment to the product owner. The product owner, Scrum master, Scrum team has a Sprint review where they sit together, inspect the increment and update the product backlog.

Sprint retrospective, the chance to look back at what we have done and gather experience to improve Scum skills for the next period.

One sprint ends, another sprint starts; this process repeats until we get the perfect product which satisfies the product owner.

All the above is the basic knowledge about Scrum framework. On the next article, I will go through some more artifacts of Scum that are quite helpful. If you are interested, stay tuned!

By Demi