The following article is part of the self-preparation for the modern BVOP® Scrum Master Certification program.
This chapter explains what Scrum is (and what it is not), and outlines the main elements, objectives, and characteristics of this framework.
- Scrum is a framework
- Scrum is not a methodology
- Scrum is a framework made up of roles, events, and artifacts
- Scrum means more independence
- What are a non-adaptive problem and a non-flexible work model?
- What are an adaptive problem and a flexible work model?
- Scrum requires regular inspections
- People and relationships are more important than processes and tools.
- Running software is more important than complex documentation.
- Customer involvement in product development is more important than contractual relationships.
- The Agile approach promotes repetitive, growing, and highly adaptable workflows
- Scrum and changes
- Scrum helps you organize your work
- Scrum and stakeholder feedback
Scrum is a framework in which people should be able to deal with complex problems while delivering products of the highest possible value, productively and creatively.
Scrum is not a methodology. It is not a project management practice or system. It does not provide specific guidance or methods to respond to the situation you are facing. Scrum is not a model that receives all the achievements and certainly does not guarantee any success for your products or projects.
This is the basic concept and idea of Scrum. No system or methodology can guarantee you success in any way.
Scrum is a framework made up of roles, events, and artifacts. It does not guide specific procedures and strategies on how to accomplish your task, or how to perform Scrum in your teams and organization.
Scrum gives you the independence to determine the methods that meet your specific needs.
As a framework, the benefit of Scrum is that it allows for unique and autonomous thinking. Project management methodologies, which have a mandatory set of predefined rules, in theory, do not allow creativity and autonomy.
Another claim is that Scrum helps organizations deal with complex issues. This claim is just a statement because success depends on your experience, the experience of teams, and the support of senior management.
Scrum, in theory, is designed for projects where new requirements related to your work are constantly emerging.
Scrum is designed to create products using flexible models that solve adaptive problems.
You build a building, for example. You are in the middle of the project, and suddenly the basements flood. To solve the problem, you can only use pumps for water drainage and invest more money and time.
Non-adaptive and inflexible models are, for example, legally binding. Another example is a close contractual relationship for projects such as integrating banking software, where you have neither the freedom of creativity nor the ability to make decisions independently when problems arise. Each activity is performed step by step, according to a specific plan in the contract. A popular term for these situations in project management is the word "waterfall". The waterfall pattern is a similarity to the falling water on the stones step by step, from its beginning to its end.
You create a completely innovative virtual reality platform. After six months, markets and users change. Users change, and new competitors emerge. Technologies evolve. This problem needs to be solved. The only way is to act according to your abilities, intuition, competence, and skills. You subsequently change your product, your technology, while simultaneously, research customers. You adapt to change. The popular term for a flexible working model is Agile.
Scrum requires regular work quality and results inspections. Inspection is performed daily and weekly, for example, which helps the team quickly identify obstacles and synchronize their efforts to overcome them. An adaptation then follows the inspection. This adaptability to changing requirements is key to achieving higher value.
Scrum is created with roles, events, artifacts, and rules with the mission of delivering the most value to the end-user in the present events. The purpose of time-limited iteration at Scrum is to provide value in the form of a potentially incrementing product that can be delivered. This term is known as “potentially releasable product increment”.
The success of an iteration is measured by the amount of value provided. The more value, the more success.
For beginners, terminology in Scrum is often incomprehensible and confusing. But one day, newcomers realize that ideas are not as scary as they sound.
The entire official Scrum Guide is 19 pages long. This means that Scrum gives you freedom. From these 19 pages of the guide, you have to create products that often cost millions. With that, we want to tell you that success will depend heavily on you.
For comparison, project management textbooks and guides are between 300 and 600 pages. Project management also cannot guarantee you success because achieving success by following any project management methodology also depends entirely on you, your teams, and everyone in the organization.
Scrum roles are your “positions” or what you do in your job: developer, Scrum Master, Product Owner.
A developer in Scrum can be a professional from different positions such as programmers, QA specialists, business analysts, technical documentation creators. Anyone who is not a Scrum Master or Product Owner is part of the so-called Development Team.
Events are defined as meetings. Those meetings can be between the team’s members only or can include other parties involved in the business. During the events, the completed work is demonstrated, or work processes are discussed.
The artifacts are your planned or completed “tasks”, the conditions they possess, scoreboards, and more.
The increment, in real terms, is what your customers want to see at the end of the week, month, etc. Increment refers to the work completed in the most recent period.
Rules are rules. For example, a meeting cannot be more than a certain number of minutes. Another rule is that your team cannot be more than 9 people. During a meeting, a role representative may be absent or may be present, but in no way engaging in the conversations.
An iteration is just one period - for example, two weeks during which you work.
The success of iteration and its value is again something simple. During your period of work, you should have completed tasks that are important to your client. For example, the product already has more functionalities, or you have fixed essential bugs.
A simple understanding of Agile is a type of software development approach that is explained in the four Agile manifesto values and principles. The "Agile Manifesto" states:
- Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
- Working software over comprehensive documentation
- Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
- Responding to change over following a plan
This means that people’s personal qualities and their interactions are much more critical to your success. This is the opposite of project management methodologies where it is not the people that matter but the processes, documents, and tools.
Agile manifesto authors want to say that it is more important for the software you are developing to work better than spending months writing documentation.
This means that it is better for you to get along well with your clients, to understand their dynamically changing requirements, and to make the necessary changes than to rely on contracts and legal relationships.
The Agile approach promotes repetitive, growing, and highly adaptable workflows that lead to the delivery of a functioning product as soon as possible after the start of the project (within weeks, not months). The Agile approach encourages teams to find ways to become more productive and then test them in practice. Also, Agile requires high levels of collaboration between self-organizing cross-teams.
Responding to change is more important than following the initial plan. Agile thinking means that people are aware of the many changing factors during product development.
BVOP focuses on the following significant Agile principles:
The highest priority is customer satisfaction through early and continuously phased delivery of a high-value customer product.
Changing requirements are welcomed and not seen as troublesome or inconvenient, even if the change is in the final stages of the project.
Businesses and developers need to work together and help each other on a daily basis.
Products should be created by motivated people who are given freedom of expression and the right environment.
The most effective method of transmitting information is a face-to-face conversation.
A working product is a substantial measure of progress.
Sustainable development is encouraged. Sponsors, developers, and users must be able to maintain a steady pace as the project progresses.
Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design increase flexibility.
Teams must focus primarily on the work that is currently being done. Many started tasks are not recommended.
At regular intervals, the team gathers and discusses how to become more productive and adjust their actions appropriately.
Teams need to be self-organizing, responsible, and disciplined because, in Agile principles, this is the most crucial element to success.
Scrum often requires many changes, including attitudes and culture. To effectively implement Scrum, it is not enough to simply accept the structure it offers but to truly understand the flexible principles and apply them consistently as a team.
Scrum can help you respond more effectively to rapid changes in the environment, market, consumers and businesses. It is designed to provide predictability of events, if you are monitoring change and to control risk.
Scrum helps you organize your work so that you deliver something valuable to every customer. This “something valuable” is called “Potentially Shippable Product Increment”.
Scrum allows you to gather stakeholder feedback at the end of each iteration. Based on this feedback, you can further customize your processes and product and increase their value. If market demands change, Scrum allows you to adapt faster. In this way, it helps you reduce risk.
The following issues related to chapter "What is Scrum?" are included in the certification exam. The sequence of questions is presented in the table.
The data is current as of November 25, 2023, 12:51 am
|0||Running software is more important than complex documentation.||60 sec||SM, PO|
|1||Scrum means more independence||60 sec||SM, PO|
|2||The Agile approach promotes repetitive, growing, and highly adaptable workflows||60 sec||SM, PO|
|3||Customer involvement in product development is more important than contractual relationships.||60 sec||SM, PO|
|4||People and relationships are more important than processes and tools.||60 sec||SM, PO|
|5||Scrum is a framework||60 sec||SM, PO|
|6||Scrum helps you organize your work||60 sec||SM, PO|
|7||What are a non-adaptive problem and a non-flexible work model?||60 sec||SM, PO|
|8||Scrum is a framework made up of roles, events, and artifacts||60 sec||SM, PO|
|9||What are an adaptive problem and a flexible work model?||60 sec||SM, PO|
|10||Scrum and changes||60 sec||SM, PO|
|11||Scrum and stakeholder feedback||60 sec||SM, PO|
|12||Scrum requires regular inspections||60 sec||SM, PO|
|13||Scrum is not a methodology||60 sec||SM, PO|
Comments from the BVOP™ community on "What is Scrum?"
Comparison between Scrum and Kanban
Modern organizations often combine the terms Scrum and Kanban, which is somewhat wrong.
The Scrum method is representative of Agile methodologies, as it is a framework for achieving defined goals.
The process in this method consists of separate periods called sprints. The sprint is the smallest unit of development time. Each Scrum Sprint is an attempt to improve the available increment (a current version of the product).
The sprints last from one to four weeks. At the end of each sprint, the team presents a working version of the product.
The Scrum framework is designed for companies whose activities require a high added value for the products and increase their value after each activity. The aim is to improve long-term product development.
What is the Kanban method?
The name of the Kanban method comes from the Japanese language and means "signal card".
This method is representative of Agile methodologies based on the gradual change of processes and systems in the organization. Kanban is not only a method of development but also a method aimed at improving the activities of the organization.
This is an activity management method that emphasizes delivery on time without overloading team members. In this approach, the process from defining the task to the delivery of the product is shown to all participants, while team members work on tasks from the so-called "queue".
Kanban uses a system that limits the amount of current work at any point in the workflow.
The basic principles of Kanban
The Kanban method has the following principles: Start with what you are doing now - there are no specific roles and steps, but start with the available roles and processes and stimulate changes in the processes.
Kanban encourages long, small, and gradual changes in processes. Sudden changes seem more effective, but have a better chance of failure. The organization must agree that lasting, growing, and evolutionary change is the path to success.
The main six practices of Kanban
Visualization. Visualizing the workflow is key to understanding the work in depth. A popular method is to use a board with columns and maps, as columns are the different states of the workflow.
Limit the tasks that are in the process of work. A system for taking on tasks relating to part or all of the work process must be implemented.
Manage the workflow. This is the only way to assess whether long-term, gradual changes in the system will have a positive or negative effect.
Clarify the requirements. To discuss problems more rationally, empirically, and effectively, you need to understand correctly and accurately how things work and how to work. In this way, consensus on the proposals is more likely.
Use feedback. Improve together, develop experimentally. Use models and scientific methods.
Use Kanban to identify problems
Kanban is an excellent method for identifying problem areas and promoting improvements. This method sets a work limit and would help in the accumulation of redundant tasks. Kanban reduces defects and increases productivity.
The teams decide for themselves how many tasks they have to work on. Whether the team will choose this method must be decided based on the project being worked on, the competencies of the team, its strengths and weaknesses.
Scrum is a framework for dealing with complex problems while delivering valuable products creatively and productively. It is not a methodology or project management practice and does not guarantee success. It consists of roles, events, and artifacts but does not provide specific procedures or strategies.
Scrum allows for independence in determining methods to meet specific needs. Unlike other project management methodologies, Scrum allows for unique and autonomous thinking, promoting creativity and autonomy. It is designed for projects with constantly emerging new requirements and solves adaptive problems using flexible models.
Lack of the ability to adjust or change
Non-adaptive problems and non-flexible work models are those that lack the ability to adjust or change. An example of a non-adaptive problem is a flooded building site where the only solution is to use pumps and invest more resources. Non-flexible work models are often legally binding or involve close contractual relationships where decisions must follow a specific plan without room for creativity or independent problem-solving. This is known as the "waterfall" pattern in project management, where activities are performed step by step according to a contract.
Innovation requires adaptation to changing markets and users. A flexible work model, known as Agile, allows for the necessary adjustments to be made to products and technologies.
Scrum is a framework for delivering value
Scrum is a framework for delivering value to end-users through regular inspections and adaptations. The time-limited iterations aim to produce a potentially releasable product increment. The success of an iteration is measured by the amount of value provided. Scrum roles include the developer, Scrum Master, and Product Owner. Events are meetings where completed work is demonstrated or work processes are discussed. Artifacts are planned or completed tasks and their conditions. Rules include meeting time limits and team size limits. An iteration is a period of work, and success is measured by completed tasks that are important to the client. Agile is a software development approach that values individuals and interactions, working software, customer collaboration, and responding to change.
Personal qualities and interactions are critical to success. This differs from project management where processes, documents, and tools are prioritized. Running working software > complex documentation. Agile manifesto values software functionality over extensive documentation. Customer involvement > contractual relationships. Building a positive relationship with clients and adapting to their changing needs is preferred over relying solely on contracts.
Agile promotes adaptable workflows
Agile promotes adaptable workflows that lead to a functioning product quickly. Teams collaborate and prioritize customer satisfaction through phased delivery. Changing requirements are welcomed, and businesses and developers work together daily. Motivated people create products in the right environment, and face-to-face conversation is the best way to transmit information. A working product is a measure of progress, and sustainable development is encouraged. Technical excellence and good design increase flexibility, and teams must be self-organizing, responsible, and disciplined.
Scrum and attitudes and culture
Scrum requires changes in attitudes and culture to be effectively implemented. It helps respond to rapid changes and provides predictability of events while controlling risk. Scrum organizes work to deliver valuable products to customers. Stakeholder feedback is gathered at the end of each iteration to customize processes and increase product value. Scrum allows for faster adaptation to changing market demands, reducing risk.
- Next article The Three Pillars of Scrum