Notes on Scrum

Business

What is Scrum?

Scrum is an Agile development framework that allows teams to adapt to the changing nature of requirements. It does this by delivering software in small pieces that can be used to garner feedback from stakeholders and, ultimately, users via rapid iterations.
Scrum can be compared to an holistic rugby approach, where the team try to get to distance as a unit.
This is in contrast to Waterfall, where the structure is rigid and usually follows this order:
  1. Plan:
    a long set of design and requirements gathering. This is often a flaw -> the planning is done without fully understanding the project (ex-ante), making 1 to 3 or 4 often go in a loop although attempting to get it right the first time (and often failing).
  2. Build:
    development time based on the requirements. Often, releases are regularly scheduled to incorporate multiple projects.
  3. Testing
  4. Review
  5. Deploy
By the time we get to phase 4 or 5, demand may have changed or the necessary requirements have evolved since the original plan.
With Scrum however the product is built in a series of fixed-length iterations called Sprints that give teams a framework for shipping software on a regular cadence.
It usually follow the following steps in several Sprints:
  1. Minimal plan
  2. Build
  3. Test
  4. Review
  5. Potentially shippable product
screen-shot-2016-10-09-at-14-47-31
At the end of each Sprint we end up with a potentially shippable product, which is improved upon by several incremental releases until the product owner decides it is ready to be shipped.
Let’s go and see how this works in more detail…

 

Scrum Framework:

 

3 Key Roles:

  1. Product Owner – represents the product’s stakeholders and the voice of the customer; and is accountable for ensuring that the team delivers value to the business; often, the idea originator.
  2. Development Team –  are responsible for delivering potentially shippable increments (PSIs) of the product at the end of each Sprint (i.e. the Sprint Goal). It involves everyone that helps with the building of the products.
  3. Scrum Master – The Scrum Master ensures that the Scrum Framework is followed; removes distraction from teams; and acts as a team facilitator or servant-leader to reinforce these dual perspectives.
    • As the “facilitator-in-chief”, the Scrum Master schedules the needed resources (both human and logistical) for sprint planning, stand-up, sprint review, and the sprint retrospective.

3 Artefacts:

  1. Product Backlog: Product owners’ Priority List of Features are known as User Stories;
    • Users Stories are used to describe a feature set ( As a____ I need ____ So that ____ )
      • This should provide enough information for the development team to estimate the size of the task.
  2. Sprint Backlog: User Stories with the highest priority go into the Sprint backlog, which gets estimated for size and committed to in preparation for the next sprint.
  3. Burndown Chart: This shows the progress during the sprint completion of tasks. The chart should approach 0 as the work is completed and the Sprint goal is approaching.

3 Ceremonies:

  1. Sprint Planning: Product owner, Scrum master and Development Team meet to discuss the user stories and estimate their relative sizes.
  2. Daily Scrum: short standup meeting to check progress and identify any potential roadblocks.
  3. Sprint Review & Retrospective: demonstrate completed work to the product owner and discuss how to improve the process.

Timeline:

screen-shot-2016-10-09-at-14-48-52
 
  1. Kick-off Meeting: typically start with a Product Backlog
    • Wishlist of all stakeholders (executives, developers, customers, sales support staff etc.)
  2. Prioritised by the product owner in user stories format:
      • Start as epics (user stories generally referencing the features);
      • Evolves into more precise user stories and often has acceptance criteria (short bullet points of minimum requirements for a story to be considered ready for QA).
  3. These stories are organised in themes and used by the Product Owner to create a Release Backlog.
  4. Sprint Planning Meeting: Stories from the Release Backlog will be covered in sprint planning meeting to generate tasks for a Sprint Backlog (a task should be no longer than 5 hours of work):
      • Select stories from the Release backlog that can be accomplished in two to four weeks, if Product Owner is satisfied sprints are locked in.
      • Daily Scrum: a quick 15 minute meeting for the team to discuss what has been done since the last scrum and what still needs to be done. Scrum Master aims at removing roadblocks so as to achieve completion.
      • Burndown Chart: this shows the progress during the sprint completion of tasks; chart should approach 0 as the work is completed.
  5. Sprint Goal: Potentially shippable product (the Product Owner can decide if the product is ready to ship or needs further features, iterations before being shippable)
    1. Sprint Review: showcase their work to the product owner.
    2. Sprint Retrospective: what they can do to improve their process.

Sources:
Video [link]
Video 2 [link]
Blog post [link]

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