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Agile Project Management - What is SCRUM (Part 2)

SCRUM as a method in Agile Project Management

 

In the preparation of this article, we discussed several ideas, how to introduce Scrum to you. In search of inspirations we have found the introduction video from the Scrum alliance.

In the end, this is a pretty short 80-seconds introduction to Scrum, which we would like to show to you, instead of reinventing the wheel again.

 

 

In addition to the video we would like to share more information:

 

 

Expectations to Scrum:

 

Scrum is very good when it comes to establishing agile methods into an organization. By providing a simple approach it can easily be picked up and enhanced. Also Scrum is very well known and there are lots of experienced Scrum Coaches in the outside world of Covestro.

 

Scrum is a framework which provides a basis of 3 roles, 4 activities and 3 artifacts, which will now be explained in detail.

Each Scrum implementation is different though. Depending on the project or the organization there will be additional roles or activities. Scrum focuses on communication and collaboration by discussing requirements and short feedback cycles, which is the most important thing to keep in mind.

 

In the following we want to explain the different roles, activities and artifacts. Furthermore we want to provide you a check list what you have to prepare for your first Scrum project.

 

 

Terms:

User Stories

A simple method to describe requirements, by a user's perspective, with only one or a few sentences. Usually a user story consist of Who? What? And Why?

e.g.: "As a user I want to be able to back up my data in order to recover it in case of an error."

User stories are constantly refined and extended during the project. They are the basis for discussion about the features. This will help to get a clear understanding of the requirements.

Sprint

An iteration of Scrum which is usually between 1 and 4 weeks long. Or in other words: This is the timeframe, in which work is planned continuously. Once the duration is set it should not be changed during the project though.

Artifacts

Artifacts provide information about the product, the requirement and the progress. The scrum team permanently works with the artifacts. For instance, an artifact is the list of requirements which are known so far.

Activities

Activities are mostly meetings which are part of each sprint. (The sprint itself can be seen as an activity too) By discussing and/or working with the artifacts during the activities, the project progress and obstacles become transparent.

Definition of Done

A project specific agreement which defines when a user story is completed.

 

Roles:

  • Product Owner
    • Manages the product backlog and overviews all user stories
    • Drives the product vision
    • Represents the project stakeholders and gathers requirements and feedback from them
  • Scrum Master
    • Establishes the Scrum process and makes sure that the process is followed
    • "Coach" of the Dev. Team
  • Development Team
    • Self-organized and cross functional (tester, designer, architect, developer)
    • Realizes the user stories

 

Additional involved persons:

  • Stakeholder
    • Involved in creating the requirements
    • Give feedback about the product increment
    • Examples: User, Application Owner, Application Manager, etc.

 

Activities:

  • Daily Scrum
    • Dev. Team + Scrum Master
    • Daily stand up meeting: What did I do yesterday? What am I doing today? Anything that hinders my work?
  • Sprint Planning
    • Product Owner + Dev. Team + Scrum Master
    • "Sprint Kickoff" - once per Sprint
    • Define Sprint scope, clarify last questions and estimate effort
    • Outcome = Sprint Backlog
  • Sprint Review
    • Product Owner + Dev. Team + Scrum Master
    • Review product increment with stakeholders and collect their feedback
    • At the end of each Sprint
  • Sprint Retrospective
    • Scrum Master + Dev. Team
    • Review the Scrum process
    • Identify optimizations for the Scrum Process and define tasks to realize the optimizations
    • At the end of each Sprint

 

Artifacts:

  • Product Backlog
    • List of all requirements to the product, which are known so far
    • Prioritized and refined by the Product Owner
    • Requirements can be changed, added or removed from the backlog
    • Single source of requirements for changes to the product
  • Sprint Backlog
    • List of all requirements which are planned to be realized in the next sprint
    • Cannot be changed during the sprint
    • Managed by the Dev. Team once the sprint started
  • Product Increment
    • Result of each sprint
    • Can potentially be used by the customer

 

When you want to start your first Scrum project there are several tasks which should be completed upfront:

 

  • Define your Scrum team (Product Owner, Scrum Master, Development Team)
  • Explain Scrum to the project team and especially explain the roles
  • Identify Stakeholders and involve them into the project setup
  • Establish an agile mindset, explain reasons for Scrum and the agile approach, make sure the approach is understood and accepted
    • The initial set up is not carved in stone, it will evolve during the project together with the Scrum experience of the team mainly based on the Sprint Retrospective
  • Decide on a Sprint duration
  • Set up the meetings, reserve rooms and plan them ahead ideally for the whole project time
  • If needed design additional roles/activities but do not overcomplicate the process

 

 

This was the second part of our small Series about Agile Project Management. Look out for the next part which we are going to publish soon called "Agile Project Management – Agile Project Management in real Life"

The whole Series contains 4 pieces:

Agile Project Management – Basics (Part1)
Agile Project Management – What is SCRUM (Part2)
Agile Project Management – Agile Project Management in real Life (Part3)
Agile Project Management – Agile on the next Level – Program Management (Part4)

If you have any comments on our Articles, your Feedback is highly welcome.

 

 



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