What is Agile Scrum?

Ken Schwaber’s book on Scrum, which falls under the Agile umbrella of methodologies, is a great introduction to Scrum, and I love the mini case studies (1-2 pages) he puts in the book to make the concepts more accessible.  Here’s how I’d summarize Ken’s description of the Scrum software development process at a high level featuring the Product Owner (client representative), ScrumMaster (process representative), and the cross-functional, self-organizing team.

  1. Product Owner defines vision with Product Backlog (spreadsheet showing requirements or user stories, sorted by priority, shows estimated complexity)
  2. Sprint planning meeting is 8 hour meeting:  first half is Product Owner discussing priorities for next 30 day sprint and the team estimates how much can be completed in next sprint; in the second half, the team builds the Sprint Backlog (spreadsheet that shows  tasks (should be 4-16 hours of work each), responsible team member, status, and hours of remaining work), decomposes the requirements into tasks, and updates the Burndown chart (line graph showing days of remaining work on Y axis and sprint number on X axis, which can project the end date with a trend line)
  3. Team develops, with a daily scrum (15 minute coordination meeting focused on yesterday’s accomplishments, today’s focus, and risks), focusing on delivering complete functionality by the end of the sprint (designed, developed, tested, and documented for users)
  4. At end of sprint, Sprint Review meeting is held (4-hour meeting where the team demonstrates new functionality to Product Owner and other stakeholders, and upcoming priorities are discussed
  5. ScrumMaster leads Sprint Retrospective meeting with team (3-hour meeting to refine how the team should revise it development processes)
  6. Repeat steps 2-5 until project is completed or funding ends

For a great 9 minute YouTube summary of Scrum, check out Intro to Agile Scrum in Under 10 Minutes


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