Scrum development is one of the most popular software development frameworks, used by most organizations. Most companies prefer scrum due to its agile development approach. With the help of the scrum framework, the team can develop better products on time and within budget. In this blog, you will learn in detail about the stages of scrum development methodology, its benefits, and the best practices of scrum.
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What Is the Scrum in Agile Software Development?
Scrum is a subset of agile software development widely used to bring software developers together as a team to reach a common goal. It is used to develop software products through iterative and incremental processes. It is an easily adaptable, fast, efficient, and flexible framework.
One of the best practices in agile development is to use the scrum strategy to deliver quality software products to customers. It establishes an environment of transparency among the customers and developers intending to satisfy customer needs.
A Scrum framework is based on three major parts:
- Scrum Team Roles
- Scrum Events
- Scrum Artifacts
What Are the Differences Between Scrum vs Agile?
Agile and Scrum both rely on iterative processes and collaborative thinking but these two terms cannot be confused for the same meaning. The main difference between these two methodologies is that agile is a broader term consisting of many agile techniques to deliver quality. In contrast, Scrum is a part of the agile methodology that focuses on facilitating a project.
Agile is a whole philosophy for project management but Scrum is one type of agile methodology that provides value in the shortest time. Scrum technique involves specified roles in project management.
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What Is a Sprint in Scrum Development?
A sprint in scrum is a short time period where the scrum team completes a specific task by setting specific goals for that task. A new sprint follows the previous sprint until the product is finished. Scrum teams carry out tasks in the cycle of each sprint and make sure to achieve the goals set for every sprint. Teams do not deviate from the already planned tasks of the sprint to avoid endangering the sprint goal.
The Scrum Theory
Scrum gets its name from the Rugby game. In a rugby game, team members prepare through self-learning, self-experience, and team organization before a big game. In scrum development, the same tactics are used by teams to solve complex software problems with collaborative thinking and reviewing the plan.
The reason scrum theory is famous in agile development is that it can be applied to all types of teams. There are three empirical pillars of scrum theory, adaptation, transparency, and inspection.
Adaptation means that if any part of the process deviates from the desired output or the final product has not accomplished the client’s requirements, adjustments should be made in the process and materials. In simpler words, any deviation of results should be rectified through adjustments instead of causing a loss of the whole product. Scrum has to adapt to making such changes when faults are found during the inspection.
Transparency is a major quality of an agile software process. The work in progress must be visible to the developers as well as to the clients. Transparency makes inspection and prototyping of the software easier. It is convenient to resolve errors when each member is aware of the software process.
Inspection is an important part of scrum development. Scrum events are designed to perform an inspection at every stage. It involves a thorough examination of the product under development and incorporating feedback. It is done by everyone involved in the Scrum team including Scrum Master, Product Owner, and Stakeholders.
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5 Stages of Scrum Development Process
Scrum Development Process has a standard 5 stages cycle that applies this framework to the software. These stages are discussed in detail below:
- Initiation Phase
- Planning Phase
- Implementation Phase
- Reviewing Phase
- Releasing Phase
1- Initiation Phase
The first stage of scrum development strategy is the initiation phase. This stage focuses on visualizing the concept behind the product. It involves assigning roles to team members, identifying stakeholders, and constructing a backlog for the project.
2- Planning Phase
In the second phase, you start planning for sprints with team collaboration. With the competition of each sprint, you can combine the competition of all elements of the project backlog. This phase is also used to estimate the time it will take to complete each sprint and which elements the team will deliver in due time.
3- Implementation Phase
The most important phase is the implementation phase where the team starts acting upon the plan and completes sprints. A backlog is updated during this time with the competition of each task. This process is repeated many times in the SDLC.
4- Reviewing Phase
Another important phase of the scrum process is review and feedback. Proper review schedules and meetings are held with the team to discuss every sprint of the project. The errors are identified and processes are adjusted in this phase. Each team member gets the opportunity to present their work in the meetings.
The whole team gives feedback on each sprint and brainstorms ideas to solve project problems. The processes which need improvement are added back to the implementation and estimation phase.
5- Releasing Phase
The last phase is called the releasing phase. In this phase, you deliver the products to stakeholders or clients. After completing the project retrospective product backlog sprint activity is carried out. In this activity team members discuss the performance of each sprint.
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Roles in Scrum Team
A Scrum team framework is confined to three roles: a scrum master, a product owner, and many development team members. A typical scrum team consists of 10-12 members because with a huge team it’s hard to get everybody on board and on the same track.
Let’s see the roles in scrum teams in detail.
A Scrum master is like a leader or manager of the whole scrum team. They have to make sure that the team members are on the right track and standing up to scrum values. Scrum master’s responsibilities vary from organization to organization but some main responsibilities of a scrum master are:
- Lead daily meetings on the scrum team’s progress.
- Conduct sprint planning meetings.
- Direct retrospective reviews of each sprint.
- Manage communication between the team members and key stakeholders.
The Product Owner is responsible for confirming that the team is working to fulfill all the requirements of the product. They also analyze the customer expectations and market trends for the product and handle incorporating feedback into the product. Some of the responsibilities of product owners are:
- Standardize a product vision.
- Convey the needs of stakeholders to the team.
- Keeping check that the team is completing product needs.
- Organizing product backlog.
The Scrum development team consists of highly skilled professionals who are responsible to complete each sprint of the project. Each member has different responsibilities and tasks. There are certain goals set by the scrum team which every member has to achieve. Typically the tasks of scrum team members are:
- Designing the product.
- Making improvements according to the feedback.
- Setting goals and sprint planning.
- Testing products to conform to quality assurance.
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There are four main events of scrum which must be carried out to complete a scrum. These events are called:
- Sprint Planning Meeting
- Scrum Meetings Daily
- Sprint Retrospective
- Sprint Review
1- Sprint Planning Meeting
Before starting each sprint, a sprint planning meeting is conducted to define the goal of a sprint and decide on tasks. During this meeting, the product owner sets the priorities of features in front of the team. The meeting is attended by the whole team and every scrum team member is assigned a specific role according to their expertise.
The meeting timing can be between 2-8 hours depending upon the duration to complete a sprint. The product backlog is also reviewed by the Product Owner in this session. Teams enjoy discussing the implementation policies in this event.
2- Scrum Meetings Daily
Daily scrum meetings are a healthy activity in which team members gather for a few minutes every day to assess their progress toward their goals. Each member gives their input on the status of the roles and analyzes whether they are on the track or not. Adaptation also occurs in these meetings.
3- Sprint Retrospective
In this event of the scrum, team members discuss the improvements and errors in the project. They make plans on how to conquer areas of improvement in the project. This event generally lasts for 45 minutes to up to 3 hours.
4- Sprint Review
In sprint review, the scrum team and stakeholders focus on the progress of the product. The primary focus is to assess the performance of the product and adapt to changes. The team also invites customers, users, and other stakeholders to test the performance of the product. From there, they get the feedback that they have to incorporate into their product in the adaptation phase.
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Scrum artifacts are like databases for the scrum teams where they keep their information about the product being developed. Each detail about the product, sprint, and actions performed in a sprint is recorded.
The main artifacts are:
- Sprint Backlog
- Product Backlog
1) Sprint Backlog
The sprint backlog contains a breakdown of the errands assigned in the product backlog. A product backlog only defines a certain task that has to be completed in a sprint but a sprint backlog divides it into steps necessary to complete that task. It is refreshed in the sprint planning phase.
If a team is unable to fulfill each task then it is kept in the sprint backlog to be completed in the next sprint.
2) Product Backlog
The product backlog contains new highlights, upgrades, bug fixes, undertakings, or work necessities expected to fabricate the product being developed. It is updated as soon as new information about the product is made available.
It is maintained and updated by the Product owner. It’s gathered from input sources like client assistance, contender examination, market requests, and general analyses.
Product Increment is updated by completing tasks in the product backlog. It contains the client’s expectations of the product and the amount of progress made to fulfill each expectation. For each sprint, there is an increment which means that the whole information about the completion of each sprint is added to the Product increment. Groups benefit from keeping all their work stored in this artifact.
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Pros & Cons of the Scrum Development Team
While the Scrum framework in software teams is very popular as it provides many benefits, there are also some disadvantages of this technique. In this blog, we will discuss both pros & cons of scrum development.
Pros of Scrum
Some major benefits of using scrum techniques are:
- It s a budget-friendly team management approach that does not require any outside investments to facilitate team goals.
- Many scrum tools are available in the market to optimize tasks and communication.
- You gain increased transparency and visibility in the project.
- It results in an increase in ROI.
- Reduces Idle time in the team.
- SDLC is made less complicated by dividing tasks into small sprints.
- All the information and data were recorded about the project.
- Daily meetings help in building healthy employee relations.
- Planning keeps the tasks on track.
- It motivates team members to work faster.
- It’s easier to obtain clients’ and users’ feedback.
- Customizations are easy due to adaptation.
Cons of Scrum
As we know the benefits of scrum there are also some cons that we have to consider:
- Constant monitoring by the Scrum master can create tension between employees.
- Without carefully deciding time and cost evaluations, the project can be endangered.
- Loyal and strongly committed employees are required.
- If a team member is absent or quits midway project, it is difficult to find someone else to fill up that position.
18 Best Practices in a Scrum Team
Now that you have learned everything about the scrum methodology you must be worried about what practices should I adopt that will make my work more agile than my competitors who are also using scrum. We have created a list of best practices that you should follow while using a scrum framework. These practices will provide you with an efficient agile workflow.
- Creating Backlogs with the Input of Stakeholders
- Involving Stakeholders in Scrum Meeting
- Reduce Team’s Idle time
- Avoid Regrouping in Teams
- Enhance Communication
- Reveal project estimates to Key Stakeholders
- Manage Resources efficiently
- Review Risks
- Do not deviate from sprint timings
- Keep separate backlogs
- Task Prioritization
- Use Scrum Tools
- Provide Communication guidelines to Remote teams
- Use Planning tools
- Use MoSCoW method
- Capture Bottlenecks
- Use Burndown Charts
- Implement Iterative Improvements
1- Creating Backlogs With the Input of Stakeholders
It is an effective practice to involve your stakeholders in the whole process. They are able to contribute to the product vision and create an outline for its development. If the scrum team and key stakeholders are on the same page, it’s easier to make improvements to the product. So don’t neglect stakeholders in this process.
2- Involving Stakeholders in Scrum Meeting
Stakeholders can be involved in the process via scrum meetings. It’s a healthy activity to involve the product owner and stakeholders in daily scrum meetings so that they can negotiate about product features, capabilities, and requirements. They can offer valuable feedback to the development team.
3- Reduce Team’s Idle Time
Daily meetings are a way to keep team members active and not become lazy in idle time. An agile process must have a minimum amount of idle time to boost development speed. So you should plan your daily scrum meetings in this idle time and keep your members active.
4- Avoid Regrouping in Teams
Regrouping in teams is a bad practice and can often lead to group conflicts. A scrum team shouldn’t have a large number of members as it results in regrouping and conflicts. Team members also indulge in free riding. So only choose the amount of workforce that is enough to complete tasks.
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5- Enhance Communication
Communication is the key to solving problems. Especially in a business environment, you have to collaborate in thinking and decision-making. Therefore use tools that allow remote as well as onsite employees to participate in the meetings. Take input of everyone in scrum meetings and planning.
6- Reveal Project Estimates to Key Stakeholders
Apart from involving stakeholders in meetings, it is important to involve them in project estimations and financial decisions. This action represents the accountability of the team. And as the stakeholders are also investors in the project they should be aware of the ROI.
7- Manage Resources Efficiently
Resource management is crucial in any business project but efficient scrum teams should be able to utilize the fixed budget. It starts by making a suitable budget for the project in sprint meetings while involving every scrum member in it. Adaptation also allows you to save resources in the scrum.
8- Review Risks
The scrum team needs to learn the art of risk management. In this case, product owners and scrum masters are usually responsible for risk analysis. But reviewing risks during the project is also important as it alerts you about the potential risks beforehand.
9- Do Not Deviate From Sprint Timings
A sprint is ideally planned in sprint meetings where the timing decided for each sprint must be followed by the members. A deviation from time can cause delays in the project or make room for errors. Therefore, careful time panning should be a priority.
10- Keep Separate Backlogs
Scrum teams cannot use a single backlog to record everything. The product backlog and sprint backlog must be kept separated from each other as the Product backlog is updated regularly while the sprint backlog is updated at the end of each sprint.
11- Task Prioritization
Tasks should be set in order of their priorities. This helps in completing the more complex tasks first with the complete attention of the team.
12- Use Scrum Tools
Scrum Tools are the best way of managing the whole scrum cycle in an organization. There are many tools available in the market that are inexpensive but provide numerous benefits to teams in a scrum.
13- Provide Communication Guidelines to Remote Teams
Today many software developer teams are working remotely but are providing quality products in a short amount of time. Scrum can also be implemented with remote teams. With business communication apps it is easier to share project guidelines with remote staff.
14- Use Planning Tools
There are tools that are built for agile project planning. These tools also help in time tracking and measurement of metrics. Planning tools can also be beneficial for calculating the velocity of the project.
15- Use MoSCoW Method
MoSCoW method is a task prioritization technique that can help in agility. This is another technique that can help in project planning. It saves time and reduces project costs. If scrum teams use this technique then they can create pleasant product features for users.
16- Capture Bottlenecks
The art of minimizing bottlenecks in a process is known to some. Luckily scrum strategy also helps in capturing bottlenecks. With extensive planning, scrum teams can be aware of the bottlenecks that might occur in each sprint beforehand. This helps in finding the solutions to potential problems before they even occur.
17- Use Burndown Charts
A burndown chart reveals the estimations of the amount of work done and time left in each sprint. This practice motivates scrum teams to complete tasks in due time. These charts are easy to follow for the team and keep the project on track.
18- Implement Iterative Improvements
Iterative improvement is an important concept in the scrum. This concept provides optimal solutions for solving small problems. It helps in adaptation and customizing the product during the project as you gain user feedback.
20 Best Tools for Scrum Teams
While you might be familiar with scrum tools like Zoho sprints and Microsoft azure boards, we have some other options for you which can help you optimize your scrum teams. Read the list of tools below and choose the best one for your company:
- Active Collab
- Orange Scrum
- Pivotal tracker
- Hubstaff Tasks
Scrum Development Strategy is the process of following the best practices in a team, which will help you to manage the development process of a software product. Each member in a scrum team follows his specified roles which leads to team success. The practices used in a scrum framework are ideal to manage business projects and implement them in the shortest amount of time.
Once you are familiar with the 5 states of scrum development, scrum roles, scrum artifacts, and events, you will be able to develop a healthy team environment in your organization. We at ENOU Labs also use scrum techniques and tools like Trello to manage our daily tasks and team routine. We hope with the help of this blog you will also use scrum-like agile methodologies to optimize your business programs.
How Many Sprints Do You Need in a Scrum Framework?
The number of sprints in a scrum depends upon the length of the scrum framework. It is decided in the sprint planning how many sprints you will need in total. It can be as less as 2-3 sprints or 10-12 sprints in the total scrum cycle.
What Is a Cross-Functional Team?
A cross-functional team consists of members from different departments of an organization, assigned to work collaboratively with different roles in a project. Scrum teams are mostly cross-functional teams as there are different skills required to develop different phases of software.
How to Implement Scrum in Real Life?
Scrum strategy is not confined to being used only in software development. It can be used in your everyday life or routine organization tasks to optimize them. You can use scrum in your routine tasks by:
1. Organizing daily meetings.
2. Managing a backlog for events.
3. Choose a team leader who acts like a scrum master.
4. Train team members to adopt collaborative thinking.