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What is Scrum?

Posted by SCRUMstudy® on November 22, 2022

Categories: Agile Iterative Development SBOK® Guide Scrum Scrum Guide

What is Scrum?

Scrum is the most widely used Agile framework for developing and managing complex software and product applications. In its simplest terms, Scrum is characterized by its core values of Plan ahead and Inspect and Adapt. Therefore, Scrum successfully manages projects in which there is marked uncertainty and ambiguity at the early stages of the project.

This is because with Scrum the entire project is split into a sequence of iterations called Sprints. Each Sprint is time-boxed for not more than one month and planned well in advance. Planning is completed not according to a set of prescribed tools, but according to the requirements as decided by the Scrum team. As such, a self-organizing and a cross-functional team is the backbone of the Scrum method. In order to ensure maximum cooperation among team members, face-to-face communication is encouraged. Also, the business stakeholders and the technical team work in close collaboration, thereby ensuring the delivery of high-quality, working software.

The two keys roles in the Scrum team are those of Scrum Master and Product Owner. The latter represents the product users and customers while the former is the chief facilitator who steers the technical team in the right direction. These two people prepare a list of priority-based features, which is called the Scrum Product Backlog. These features are developed one by one in small, repetitive development cycles consisting of the phases such as coding, testing, integrating and delivering. At the end of each Sprint, a feedback session called a Sprint Review is held during which the team delivers the developed feature to the actual production scene, and the business stakeholders provide feedback based on their evaluation of the feature. The feedback obtained during the Sprint Review Meeting provides teams with input that can be used during the next Sprint.

What is Scrum of Scrums?

Posted by SCRUMstudy® on November 21, 2022

Categories: Agile Agile Frameworks SBOK® Guide Scrum Scrum Guide

What is Scrum of Scrums?

What is a Scrum of Scrums and how does it work in the product development process? The first thing to know about the Scrum of Scrums is that it acquires relevance only for large projects where multiple Scrum Teams are involved. In this process Scrum Team representatives convene for Scrum of Scrums Meetings at predetermined intervals or whenever required to collaborate and track their respective progress, impediments, and dependencies across teams.

Normally, one member from each Scrum Team will represent his or her team in the Scrum of Scrums Meeting. In most cases, this is the Scrum Master, but at times someone else may represent the team. A single person may be nominated by the team to represent them in every Scrum of Scrums Meeting, or the representative may change over time, based on who can best fulfill the role depending on current issues and circumstances. Each person involved in the meeting should have the technical understanding to be able to identify instances in which teams could cause each other impediments or delays. Other important participants of Scrum of Scrums meeting include the Chief Scrum Master and the Chief Product Owner.

The main purpose of the Scrum of Scrums Meeting is to communicate progress between multiple teams. The Chief Scrum Master (or any Scrum Master who would facilitate the Scrum of Scrums Meeting) can announce an agenda prior to the meeting. This allows individual teams to consider the agenda items in preparation for the Scrum of Scrums Meeting. Any impediments being faced by a team, which may also affect other teams, should be indicated so they can be shared at the Scrum of Scrums Meeting. In addition, if a team becomes aware of a large scale issue, change or risk that may affect other teams that also should be communicated at the Scrum of Scrums Meeting. Outputs from the Retrospect Sprint process may identify issues that could impact multiple Scrum Teams and could be used as an input for an effective Scrum of Scrums Meeting.

These meetings are preferably short (but usually not Time-boxed to allow for more sharing of information between teams) where a representative from each Scrum team meets to share status of the respective teams. The Scrum of Scrums Meeting facilitate the face-to-face sharing of information among different Scrum Teams through which issues, dependencies, and risks impacting multiple Scrum Teams can be closely monitored, helping the teams better coordinate and integrate their work. It is the responsibility of the Chief Scrum Master (or another Scrum Master who facilitates the Scrum of Scrum Meetings) to ensure that all representatives have an environment conducive to openly and honestly sharing information, including feedback to other team representatives. For larger projects, involving a significant number of teams, multiple levels of these meetings may be convened.

Each Scrum Team representative will provide updates from his/her team in turn. These updates are usually provided in the form of answers to these four specific questions:

  1. What has my team been working on since the last meeting?
  2. What will my team do until the next meeting?
  3. What were other teams counting on our team to finish that remains undone?
  4. What is our team planning on doing that might affect other teams?

The answers to these four questions provide information that allows each team to clearly understand the work status of all other teams.

It is recommended that a dedicated conference room be made available for the Scrum of Scrums Meeting, where all the Scrum Team Representatives are comfortable.

In the Convene Scrum of Scrums process, Scrum Guidance Body expertise could include documented best practices about how to conduct Scrum of Scrum Meetings, and incorporate suggestions from such meetings in the project work of individual Scrum Teams. There may also be a team of subject matter experts who may help the Chief Scrum Master facilitate the Scrum of Scrum Meeting.

Some of the important outputs of the Scrum of Scrums meetings are:

  • Coordination of work across multiple Scrum Teams. This is especially important when there are tasks involving inter-team dependencies
  • Incompatibilities and discrepancies between the work and deliverables of different teams are quickly exposed
  • This forum also gives teams the opportunity to showcase their achievements and give feedback to other teams
  • Identified and mitigated risks

By using Scrum of Scrums Meetings, there is collaboration across the organization as opposed to people working in closed teams concerned primarily with their individual responsibilities. The Scrum of Scrums Meeting is a forum where Scrum Team members have the opportunity to transparently discuss issues impacting their project. The need to deliver every Sprint on time forces the teams to actively confront such issues early instead of postponing seeking resolution. The timely discussion and resolution of issues in the Scrum of Scrums Meeting greatly reduces the need for redesign and rework. Risks related to dependencies and delivery time tables are mitigated as well.