Scrum

In software industry scrum become more and more popular framework for implementing agile. Do not get conduced as scrum and agile as the same thing, which is not. There are many other frameworks like kanban, FDD, Lean ( interesting article comparing many agile frameworks ) for implementing agile, yet scrum is widely used today as it consist of unique method which produces a short repetition of development.

Why scrum?

When practicing scrum it uses series of sprints that gives the software development teams ability to ship their software solutions in regular intervals. The duration of the sprint should be a fixed time period from one to four weeks. As result of this short fixed development cycle, the end of a sprint come frequently, which energizes everyone and providing them a feeling of tangible progress. Also short repetition also guaranteed a good estimation for the developments and fast feedback form the tests where waterfall projects lacks.

Scrum consist of below four ceremonies which are practiced in every sprint:

  • Sprint planning: The product development team initiate a planing meeting to determine what task should carry on for the coming sprint. The tasks are mostly taken out from the backlog as per the given priority.
  • Daily stand-up: Also known as a daily scrum, in this meeting the whole team sync up with the tasks. This should not exceed more than 15 minutes.
  • Sprint demo: A review meeting where the team demonstrate what they’ve deployed in that sprint.
  • Sprint retrospective: A complete review of the sprint to examine what did and didn’t go well in the development life cycle. And what action needed to make it the next sprint better.

The below flow shows the basic concept of scrum methodology.

During a sprint, visual artifacts like task boards and burn down charts, are used to motivate the team and also to educate whether the team is right on track in the sprint. Sprint demo is also very important as the developers get the opportunity to show off the latest works they’ve done. The continuous and consistent feedback where the developers get from the product owners are important as it is directly affect the quality of the software outcome.

Scrum Roles — The scrum team

Within the scrum framework there are three important roles are defined. Product owner, scrum master, and the development team. As the scrum team is multi functional the team consist of testers, ops engineers and designers in addition to the developers.

The product owner

Product owners are the masters of their software products. Their main responsibility includes understanding business, gathering market requirements, then prioritizing the work needed to be done by engineers as a team.

Product owners are not project managers. They does not manage the program status. The main focus of them are to make sure developers are in track with the business requirement. An effective product owner:

  • Create and manage the product backlog
  • Provide the clear guidance to the team the required features to be delivered
  • Decide when to release the product
  • Closely monitor the business and the team to make sure everyone understand the product backlog

The scrum master

They are the leaders for scrum within the team. Their responsibility include helping out his team members to optimize their delivery flow. Mentor the team, the product owner and the business on the scrum methodology and ways to enhance their practice on it. Importantly the scrum master should have good idea about the work done by each and every engineer on his/her team. As the man in charge they schedule all the sprint tasks like planning, stand-up, review, and retrospective.

Scrum master is the always go to guy to resolve instant distraction and problems from the development team. insulating the team from external distraction whenever possible.

Scrum masters are also not project managers. Actually the post of project manager doesn’t exists in scrum methodology. A scrum team controls whole flow of works, self-organize to and complete and commit works which are taken from the backlog which is very effective in maintaining the quality and the performance of the team over the long-term.

The scrum team

Scrum teams are the main players who has the main responsibility of providing high quality software solution which is committed in the sprint.

The team consist of 5 to 7 members (usually) who have different skill sets, who help and train each other so that there won’t be any blockers in the delivery of works. The main goal of the team is to compete the sprint successfully through helping each other.

The team drives the plan for each sprint. They concentrate the amount of work that they could complete by comparing their past velocity as a factor.

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Nirmal Fernando

Nirmal Fernando

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