Scrum what it is, how it works, and why it's awesome



The scrum framework includes scrum practices, ceremonies, and meetings that scrum teams perform on a regular basis. The agile ceremonies are where we see the most variations for teams. For example, some teams find doing all of these ceremonies cumbersome and repetitive, while others use them as a necessary check-in.

definition of SCRUM

The scrum framework was based on research by Schwaber with Babatunde Ogunnaike at DuPont Research Station and University of Delaware. Ogunnaike advised that attempts to develop complex products, such as software, that weren't based in empiricism were doomed to higher risks and rates of failure as the initial conditions and assumptions change. Empiricism, using frequent inspection and adaptation, with flexibility and transparency is the most suitable approach. Hirotaka Takeuchi and Ikujiro Nonaka introduced the term scrum in the context of product development in their 1986 Harvard Business Review article, ‘The New New Product Development Game’. Takeuchi and Nonaka later argued in The Knowledge Creating Company that it is a form of “organizational knowledge creation, […] especially good at bringing about innovation continuously, incrementally and spirally”.


Scrum focuses on teams with multifaceted know-how, whereas Kanban makes specialized, functional teams possible. Story points define the effort in a time-box, so they do not change with time. For instance, in one hour an individual can walk, run, or climb, but the effort expended is clearly different. The gap progression between the terms in the Fibonacci sequence encourages the team to deliver carefully considered estimates. Estimates of 1, 2 or 3 imply similar efforts , but if the team estimates an 8 or 13 , the impact on both delivery and budget can be significant. The value of using story points is that the team can reuse them by comparing similar work from previous sprints, but it should be recognized that estimates are relative to that team.

Scrum is a lightweight, iterative, and incremental framework for developing, delivering, and sustaining complex products. Definition of Done in Scrum is a checklist used by the Scrum teams to deliver high-quality value to the product. DoD is very helpful in reducing the bugs of the developed product which reduces the workload of the support team. It helps a high-quality product feature that has been code reviewed, tested, and deployed.

What is Definition of Ready in Scrum?

The term is pretty simple as the basic explanation of the term is that it is the set of criteria that has to be completed by a single User Story so that it is accepted to be adapted during the Product Increment. For any Sprint to be successful, it is very important for the team to decide a proper Definition of Done, which means that the team has to decide what “done” exactly means. This article gives an insight into the various aspects of the Definition of Done and explains how it is essential for Sprint to become successful. The newly formed Scrum of Scrums team applies nearly the same practices, participates in the same events, and has the same roles as a Scrum team.

definition of SCRUM

The stand up is the time to voice any concerns you have with meeting the sprint goal or any blockers. At the end of the planning meeting, every scrum member needs to be clear on what can be delivered in the sprint and how the increment can be delivered. Once all the “NEXT” or “Inside” items are moved to Definition of Done, then its time to move on to the “FUTURE” or “Outside” items.

In Scrum, this is called a Scrumble, as a reflection that theDevelopersstumbled because something is missing. You should stop adding new features and create a usable increment before you continue Sprinting and adding new features. Once you have repaired the issue, you can increase yourDefinition of Doneto make sure that all futureIncrementsmeet the new requirements. Acceptance Criteria for Increment pass– Making sure you at least meet the prescribed criteria is a laudable goal andautomating them with ATDD practicesis even better. Increment’s Code Coverage stays the same or gets higher– Looking at a specific measure, like 90%, of code coverage is a read hearing and tells you nothing of code quality. However, it might be advantageous to monitor and measure for adverse change in code coverage, and wealways advocate for TDD practices.

In rugby, the team comes together in what they call a scrum to work together to move the ball forward. In this context, Scrum is where the team comes together to move the product forward. If it is less significant, you might want to keep working and add what you need to yourProduct Backlog. You can then deliver improvements over the next few Sprints that mitigate and then resolve the identified issue. Once you have resolved it, you can then pin the outcome by adding something to your DoD.

A scrum team should have the courage and feel safe to be transparent about roadblocks, project progress, delays, and so on. A step-by-step guide on how to drive a scrum project, prioritize and organize your backlog into sprints, run the scrum ceremonies and more, all in Jira. Learn how to facilitate great agile ceremonies like sprint planning, daily stand-ups, iteration review and retrospectives. Your next steps and focus are to begin strengthening your Definition of Done, to be closer to be a releasable increment.

Sprint backlog

Making these activities and challenges transparent early on will also help with some early discussions that are likely needed with key members or leaders to bring these into Definition of Done. The Scrum of Scrums proceeds otherwise as a normal daily meeting, with ambassadors reporting completions, next steps and impediments on behalf of the teams they represent. Resolution of impediments is expected to focus on the challenges of coordination between the teams; solutions may entail agreeing to interfaces between teams, negotiating responsibility boundaries, etc. Sprint Retrospective is used to analyze what went right in the Sprint and what could be improved upon. This Retrospective feedback helps improve the process in Sprints to follow.

  • Every Product Backlog item will have Acceptance Criteria that have to be completed before the Sprint.
  • In my last post aboutProfessional software teams creating working softwareDavid Corbinmade a good point.
  • I often hear project managers saying that agile methods should not be used for complex projects, which involve a large development team, dispersed in distant geographic points.
  • Once the time period for a sprint is finalized, the stories or product backlog entries that can be implemented during this sprint cycle are then determined.
  • Both scrum and kanban use visual methods such as the scrum board or kanban board to track the progress of work.

A Product Backlog item would only be accepted if it meets the item-specific Acceptance Criteria and also the Definition of Done. If you're struggling with scrum at the individual team level, you can't scale these practices across a team of teams. Pull the Andon Cord, and address your team's challenges before beginning to scale.


Professionals who have entered the Agile world have to learn about the Scrum values and principles, and the tools and techniques used in the Scrum framework. As the individual learns about making Product Increments through Sprints and delivering value, there are few terms that the Scrum team member has to learn and understand completely. One of these terms which are often used throughout the Sprint process is “Definition of Done”.

definition of SCRUM

The product owner role exists in Scrum to address challenges that product development teams had with multiple, conflicting direction or no direction at all with respect to what to build. The Sprint Backlog is the collection of product backlog items selected for delivery in the Sprint, and if the team identifies tasks, the tasks necessary to deliver those product backlog items and achieve the Sprint Goal. Once the team and product owner establish the scope of the Sprint as described by the product backlog items no more items can be added to the Sprint Backlog. In the first part, the product owner and the rest of the team agree on which product backlog items will be included in the Sprint.

Acceptance criteria are a set of conditions that a Product Backlog item has to satisfy so that it is integrated into the Product Increment at the end of the Sprint. These are the conditions that are set by the Product Owner and these conditions are verified in the acceptance tests. Each Product Backlog item would have a few sets of tasks so that it could function appropriately and fulfill the needs of the User Story. Every Product Backlog item will have Acceptance Criteria that have to be completed before the Sprint. The Definition of Done varies based on the type of it and also depends on the team members and the customers as to what they expect from the product increment.

Scrum values

Focus on Quality, which is what theDevelopersare accountable for, and make sure that yourIncrementmeets that new quality bar before you start. The next Increment can only reach the quality bar of all those that came before do. I recommend that you run a workshop with the entireScrum Team, and likely some other domain experts. If there are Stage Gates that your software has to pass afterDevelopersare Done, then you need representatives from those Gates to participate in the workshop. Regardless of your product you likely need representatives with the following expertise; Code, Test, Security, UX, UI, Architecture, etc.

The definition of done is a team’s shared agreement on the criteria that a Product Backlog Item must meet before it is considered done. The team constantly investigates how things are going and revises those items that do not seem to make sense. Frequent inspection points built into the framework to allow the team an opportunity to reflect on how the process is working. These inspection points include the Daily Scrum meeting and the Sprint Review Meeting.

You cannot expect all your aspirations from a Product Increment to be fulfilled if you list all the things in a particular Definition of Done. This will create more burden on the team members and also most of them would treat it as optional as they do not have sufficient time to finish developing the feature. This role doesn't need to be performed by a dedicated person and the role should have the same responsibilities as a product owner, just at scale. When multiple teams are created to deliver a common objective, coordination is needed. Daily Scrums improve communications, eliminate other meetings, identify impediments to development for removal, highlight and promote quick decision-making, and improve the Development Team’s level of knowledge.

What is Agile?

Creative work always needs a good dose of autonomy and freedom and SCRUM allows this to be done in a collaborative, transparent and incremental environment. Several companies linked to the areas of marketing and advertising have used agile methods to build their products with great success. Even better results are achieved when other methodologies such as Lean Startup are added.

Learning Opportunities for Scrum Masters

They tested scrum and continually improved it, leading to their 1995 paper, contributions to the Manifesto for Agile Software Development in 2001, and the worldwide spread and use of scrum since 2002. We recommend that you read insights from the experiences of Professional Scrum Trainers who are experts in their field as well as expertise from staff on the Blog. Articles, white papers, videos, webinars and other materials are published regularly by the community and are available in the Resources section of our website as well. Lastly, if you have questions or want to learn from what questions others have had, check out the Scrum Forum as an additional way to connect with and learn from the community. To be effective with Scrum requires something more than just following the mechanics and fundamentals of the framework. Sometimes Scrum Teams fall into the habit of simply going through the motions.

The term scrum was chosen by the paper's authors because it implies teamwork. The software development term scrum was first used in a 1986 paper titled “The New New Product Development Game” by Hirotaka Takeuchi and Ikujiro Nonaka. The paper was published in the January 1986 issue of Harvard Business Review. The product backlog is an ordered definition of SCRUM list of all the possible changes that could be made to the product. Items on the product backlog are options, not commitments in that just because they exist on the Product Backlog does not guarantee they will be delivered. No further work– There should be no further work required from theDevelopersto ship your product to production.