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The Definitive Guide to Scrum Framework

If you are new to the world of software development, then there is a likelihood that the terms “Scrum” and “Agile” will appear the same to you. But, there is a major distinction between the two.Agile comprises of self-organisation, cross-functionality of the teams, collaboration and refers to the methods and practices based on the values and principles expressed in the ‘Agile Manifesto’.Scrum is a framework that implements Agile development.Simply put, Scrum is an iterative and incremental structure for project management mainly used in agile software development. The scrum methodology indicates functional software, the versatility to change accompanying with emerging communication, collaboration, and business realities.If you are planning to put Scrum applications into practice in your team or organization, and are new to the concepts, then you have reached the right place. Read on to know the basics of Scrum, how it works along with in-depth detail on its frameworks, roles, and artifacts.Understanding ScrumScrum is a framework with the help of which people can address complex problems and at the same time deliver products with the highest possible creativity and productivity.Scrum is an agile way to manage projects, mostly emphasizing on software development. Many a time, it is perceived as a methodology, but it is a framework for managing processes, with its main focus on teamwork, accountability, and iterative progress to achieve a well-defined goal.Scrum helps teams to work together in a better way. An example of the same would be a properly functioning Rugby team, where the team members are encouraged to-Learn through their past experiencesBecome self-organized while working on a problemReflect on their victory as well as loss in order to improve continuously.Evolution of ScrumThere was a time once when the word ‘Scrum’ was used only as a rugby football term. Scrum is a technique to restart playing in Rugby, where players pack themselves closely together with their heads down in order to gain possession of the ball. This became the inspiration for the Scrum method in businesses. Let’s have a look at its history and how it came into being.The Scrum concept dates back to 1986. That year, two Japanese business experts Hirotaka Takeuchi and Ikujiro Nonaka introduced the term ‘Scrum’ in the subject of product development. They published the article ‘New New Product Development Game’ in the Harvard Business Review, where they described an approach for commercializing product development which would increase speed and flexibility.By taking real-life examples of companies like Honda, Canon, and Fuji-Xerox, who have achieved surpassing results using extensive, team-based techniques in product development, they emphasised more on self-organised teams and the role of management in the development process. This led to the birth of the concept of ‘Scrum’.In 1995, Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber presented a paper, ‘The Scrum Development Process’, at Object-Oriented Programming, Systems, Languages, and Applications (OOPSLA) conference, 1995 in Austin, Texas.In 2001, Sutherland and Schwaber, along with fifteen other colleagues, got together in Snowbird, Utah, where they drafted the Agile Manifesto. It acted as a revolution for the software developers around the globe, as now they had a new approach for creating new software.Since then, the community of Scrum practitioners has grown and is continuing to grow exponentially, generating thousands of high-performing teams in organisations all around the globe. It is now used widely outside of software development as well, changing the world of work for better!Why use ScrumUsing Scrum tools and processes in software development can be very beneficial for the organisation as the framework prefers to work and develop in short sprints. The major advantages of using Scrum are:Higher customer satisfaction: Sprints are short-spanned in Scrum. Hence, results are ready to be delivered and tested within a time span of 1-3 weeks. Scrum provides new features and corrections on a very frequent basis and collects feedback from its clients. This speeds up the process of fixing the bug, hence making the development process even faster. This keeps the customers satisfied.Increases the morale of the team: The teams are self-organised and self-managed. This allows the team members to be more innovative, creative and gives them acknowledgment for their work. They work in a cross-functional manner, helping them to learn new skills.Better exposure and improved progress visibility: All the members of the project team, including the stakeholders can know the updates of the project at any given time. Transparency helps the project team in identifying issues as well as making predictions about the progress of the project.Decreased time to market the product: Scrum has proved to deliver valued products to the customers 30 to 40 percent faster than the traditional methods.Increase in Return on Investment: The decrease in time to market the product is one of the major reasons for Scrum projects to receive a higher return on investment(ROI). The revenue starts coming in sooner,  which results in a higher total return over time.Better project control: The project performance is controlled by the Scrum team and corrections can be made by them. The priorities are adjusted by the Scrum teams at each sprint interval. This allows the team to address issues as they arise and get the requirements done as per necessity.More flexible and responsive: The requirements in the product backlog are unpredictable and volatile, unlike traditional models where requirements are fixed before the development process starts. This makes the business more responsive to the demands of the market.How Scrum Training has benefited companies in the pastOrganizations primarily focus on customer satisfaction in order to achieve success. Teams are self-organized in an Agile environment. They share ideas and collaborate their ideas to find solutions to produce high-quality products. But Agile is not a technique for success. It requires a framework and that is where Scrum plays its role.Scrum has gained immense popularity amongst software development organisations. To name a few:1. 3MAlso known as Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company, 3M is an American manufacturer that manufactures multiple numbers of products, ranging from electronic circuits to medical products.According to 3M, they previously relied on the traditional Waterfall methodology for its software development process. When they wished to increase their speed of development of new applications and lower their cost of software product development, they were not satisfied with the Waterfall process. They decided to opt for Agile with Scrum methodology and went for it. With the self-organised teams, they were able to push priorities as deemed. Hence, Agile and Scrum proved worth the effort for them.2. ANZThe third-largest bank in Australia, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) has thousands of employees who work together to provide commercial and retail banking to its customers.They adopted Agile with sprint framework in 2017 and since then, they have enjoyed the benefits of Agile. It now releases new functions and features on a monthly basis.3. SpotifySpotify provides music streaming service and has successfully implemented an Agile environment to attain positive results from the same.Spotify has its employees divided into teams and each team is responsible for building and maintaining a specific function of the app. They don’t fear that one bad commitment will break the entire platform. This has resulted in Spotify becoming the leading music streaming service.4. Google Google is a part of Alphabet Inc., which is the world’s second-biggest tech company. The main reason behind their success is the timely delivery of updates of its applications. Agile can be credited for this mindset.With multiple applications like Gmail, Google Maps, etc. they all are needed to be first tested extensively before being released for the users.One major example that can be taken from Google is that Google builds, works on, and improves its Android OS. They then release a beta version of the functioning Android OS for its users. It allows users to participate and give feedback. If the reports indicate bugs or usability issues, they fix it and an update is rolled back.5. IBMBeing one of the biggest technology companies, IBM is known for creating computer hardware around the world. Scrum has also helped improve IBM’s business operations in such a manner that now it offers its own management software that integrates an agile development environment, known as IBM Rotational Team Concert.Also known as the linear sequential life cycle, it was the first process model ever introduced. It was used in environments which were structured and weren’t adaptable to changes easily.In the Waterfall Model, each stage or task is needed to be completed before the next task can start. This is done to avoid any overlapping of project stages and to maintain the flow in a single direction.When it comes to the comparison between Waterfall and Scrum methods, a major drawback that Waterfall faces is that it doesn’t allow any changes or alterations. In case an issue occurs, it becomes very difficult to revisit the earlier stages. The project flow must follow the life-cycle as planned before making any changes. Since the market trend in today’s scenario changes on a regular basis, the Waterfall model becomes very difficult to sustain and implement.How does Scrum work?The Scrum Framework has three distinct categories: roles, events, and artifacts. Read along to know about these three categories and the importance of the Scrum Framework.Scrum Framework: How it differs from AgileSince Scrum is centered around steady improvements and is also the core principle of Agile, people often confuse between the two. There are even instances where people (especially those newly introduced to Scrum) use the terms “Agile” and “Scrum” interchangeably.Hence before we begin to explain further, it is important to understand the differences between Agile and Scrum.Scrum is a framework for getting things done while Agile is a mindset. One can use frameworks like Scrum to think the Agile way and build the agile principles in their day-to-day work and communication.Scrum is regarded as an iterative, incremental framework. Let us understand why.An iterative framework like Scrum is one that makes progress towards a defined goal mainly through successive refinements. In Scrum, the iteration happens in the following steps -The development team takes the first important step in any iteration.They write the code based on the collected requirements.Next, the team identifies and refines the weak areas in the code until the product is satisfactory.In every iteration, refinements are made, the code undergoes further changes, and the software is improved.The work in every iteration is improved in the upcoming iterations.But, why is Scrum called an incremental process?In Scrum, the software is developed and delivered in pieces, in small increments. Every new increment is nothing but a subset of the final software. Each increment is fully coded and tested. In other words, “completed” work is delivered throughout the project.This explains why Scrum is regarded as an incremental process.Read along and learn about Scrum roles, artifacts and events, and how they work together in order to deliver a product in the market.Scrum RolesThe scrum framework defines three scrum roles, namely:Scrum TeamScrum MasterScrum Product OwnerAll of these roles have a defined set of responsibilities. They need to interact closely, work together and act according to their responsibilities to finish a project successfully.Each of these roles is explained below:Scrum Team: It is a group of individuals who work together to deliver the product as requested. They hold the responsibility to decide and delegate how a problem can be solved without the help of any team leader. The team as a whole decides how to address an issue and take care of it. The most effective scrum teams are close-knit, co-located, and small-scale. All team members have different skill sets and they help each other at any point needed to ensure a successful sprint completion.  In order to work more efficiently, a Scrum Team should:Follow a common goalAdhere to the same rules and regulationsRespect everyone aroundIt is the responsibility of the scrum team as a whole to deliver the product in the committed time frame and with the desired quality. A good result or a non-success of the product is never credited to a single team member but always to the Scrum Team as a whole.Characteristics of a Scrum Team:Scrum teams have the following attributes:The team as a whole is responsible for the delivery of the projectThe Scrum Team is self-dependent and empoweredThere aren’t any sub-teams under the Scrum TeamAll team members are collocatedThe skills within the Scrum Team are balancedThe team is cross-functional and holds mutual accountabilityScrum Master:A Scrum Master is a part of the Scrum Team who holds the responsibility to ensure that the Scrum Team abides by the Scrum theory, rules and practices. He is not the same as a Team Leader. A Team Leader leads the team as well as assigns tasks to the team members, whereas a Scrum Master ensures that the team is working according to the rules and that they have understood the Scrum method entirely. They act as an advisor for the team and are on a continuous lookout for the team’s improvements.Responsibilities of a Scrum Master:A Scrum Master has several important responsibilities, to name a few:Act as a coach for the Scrum TeamMake sure that the Scrum Team is protected from any external requests or disruptionsFacilitate the Scrum EventsTake measures to maximize the productivity of the teamBuild trust and transparencyEnsure that there is proper communication between the Scrum Team and the Product Owner.Product Owner:The Product Owner plays a very crucial role in a Scrum team. He acts as an interface between the team and the stakeholders and is responsible to ensure that the work is being in the correct order to deliver a product of the highest possible value. He works very closely with the Scrum Team and coordinates their activities throughout the project.Responsibilities of a Product Owner:A Product Owner has several responsibilities:Communicates with the stakeholders  (customers, marketing, etc.) and discusses the required functionality. These are then filtered and prioritized before being handed over to the team.He is the only person who is allowed to manage the Scrum Product Backlog and keep it in the order of the priority.Responsible for making it to the project goal, hence creating and maintaining the release plan.Make sure that all members of the team understand what is required of the project.The team reports the results to the Product Owner during the sprint review.He makes the schedule, scope and trade-off decisions.Responsible for the ROI of the product.Scrum Events (Ceremonies)To create regularity and to minimize the need for undefined meetings in Scrum, there are a few prescribed events in Scrum. All of these events are time-boxed and are conducted on a regular basis. The Scrum Events are stated below:SprintSprint PlanningDaily Scrum MeetingsSprint ReviewSprint RetrospectiveSprint: A Sprint is a time-boxed period in which specific work is completed, that is, the team works together to develop a product incrementally. Sprints are usually of a duration of one month or less. A new Sprint starts as soon as the previous Sprint gets over. The main motive behind a Sprint is to provide a pattern to work on for the team.Sprint Planning: A Sprint Planning is a meeting where the Product Owner along with the Development Team discusses the prioritization of the product backlog items and plans the delivery of the final product. It occurs at the beginning of a sprint. The work that is to be performed in a sprint is discussed and planned in this meeting. It is the responsibility of the Scrum master to make sure that the meeting takes place and that the team understands the purpose.  The necessary inputs for Sprint Planning are:Product BacklogConstraintsSprint GoalTeam capabilitiesDaily Scrum Meeting: A daily scrum meeting is commonly termed as a daily stand-up meeting, where all team members meet to discuss their progress since the last stand-up meet. It is a time-boxed meeting of 15 minutes.The main objective of this meeting is to discuss:Work in progressCreate a plan for the next 24 hours.Sprint backlogs, if anyAny new informationSprint Review: After the end of each Sprint, the development team along with the stakeholders hold a session to discuss the updates of the backlog items and receive feedback for the same. This session is known as the Sprint Review.The possible outcomes of the Sprint Review are:Demonstrate the results of the sprintsRevised Product BacklogCancel any further development, if neededRespond to questionsReceive feedbackResolve the impedimentsThe final result of the Sprint Review is the revised Product Backlog, which acts as the Product Backlog for the upcoming sprint.Sprint Retrospective: The Sprint Retrospective is a technique which is used for continuous improvement. It is conducted after the Sprint Review, preceding the upcoming Sprint Planning. In this meet, the Scrum Team examines the previous sprint and creates a plan for enhancement which can be put into action in the upcoming sprint. The Development Team, Product Owner and Scrum Master participate in this meet.The important inputs are:Data about team performanceImprovement backlogThe focus of the teamScrum ArtifactsThe Scrum Artifacts present the development team and the stakeholders with the key information that they need to be aware of. The main objective of the Scrum Artifacts is to provide transparency and opportunities for inspection and adaptation. It reflects a team’s progress towards the sprint goal.The Scrum framework defines three artifacts:Product BacklogSprint BacklogProduct IncrementProduct Backlog: Product Backlog outlines all the requirements that are needed for a project, product or system. It can be considered as a to-do list of all the changes that are to be made to a project. The Product Owner is responsible for the Product Backlog, where he can add, change and re-prioritize the tasks as needed. It is a living artifact as the requirements never stop changing. Any changes in the business requirements, market conditions or technology may result in changes in the Product Backlog.A Product Backlog may contain functional, non-functional, infrastructural, and architectural elements. They also work on the important risks that are needed to be removed or mitigated.The Product Backlog is refined and revised periodically so that it can be helpful for the next level of planning. This is known as Product Backlog Refinement. The Development Team along with the Product Owner estimate the items in it, which includes order, description, estimate, and value.The major activities involved during the backlog refinement are:Asking questions to the product owner for precise informationCreating new user storiesDeleting stories that are no longer requiredEstimating or re-estimating the user storiesRefining stories for preparation of future sprintsRe-prioritising the storiesReviewing the highest priority storiesSprint Backlog: A Sprint Backlog is a list of items that are taken from the Product Backlog which are to be completed within a Sprint. It also contains a plan to deliver the product increment and to realize the sprint goal. The development team plans and gives a forecast about the changes or increment in the functionality that will happen during the sprint, along with the work that is required to deliver the implemented functionality.The Development Team is responsible for creating and maintaining the Sprint Backlog. As soon as new work comes in, the development team adds it to the Sprint Backlog. The team can change, add, remove or modify the tasks any time as needed. The scrum master can give advice and make suggestions about any missing task(s).The Sprint Backlog needs to be updated by the team at least once every day. A sprint starts only when all the team members agree on the fact that the Sprint Backlog is achievable.The Sprint Backlog can be monitored and the work which is remaining can be calculated. By doing this, the likelihood of successfully achieving the Sprint Goal can be concluded as well, which will help the development team to manage its progress.Product Increment: Product Increment is the most important Scrum Artifact. It is the sum of all the Product Backlog items that have been completed in the sprint along with the values of the increments produced in the previous sprints. An increment is the product of a project which is potentially shippable. It should be acceptable by the Product Owner regardless of whenever he decides to release it.Challenges faced in applying Scrum and how to overcome themMastering the rules and practices of Scrum is not that simple. It will require a lot of time and effort to do so.Scrum doesn’t promise to fix all problems, but it helps bring them out in the open. Scrum can be mastered by facing different challenges and overcoming them. Scrum will certainly not fail you in doing so as it is designed to work for you, as long as you know how to make it work.Let’s address the common challenges that teams and organisations face during the implementation of Scrum and look at the possible solutions.1. Resistance to change: Organisations are generally resistant to changes. Change can be difficult and uncomfortable, hence people generally avoid it. Scrum may prove to be challenging to deploy for established organisations. The major challenge that they face is the change from yearly or semi-annual releases to weekly iterations. For an organisation to start using Scrum, it will require a shift in the fundamental mindset which will change the old habits and bring along new, more effective ones.Get out of comfort zone: It is very important to understand what an individual’s true feelings are towards adopting Scrum and why they resist changes. Learn about them and find measures to help them overcome it.An incremental approach can be observed as well. Start small, that is, involve one team and showcase their results. Let their experience inspire others.2. Distributed team: A major issue that a distributed (Scrum) team faces is communication. Conflicting working hours and a difference in time zones may diminish the overall effectiveness of the team, making collaboration difficult in many cases. Lack of communication may cause delays or unnecessary errors, which can lead to poor sustainability, ultimately affecting productivity.Everyone should be on the same page: It is very important to be considerate of the fact that team members of different nationalities will have different traditions. Apart from this, coordination and trust are very important as well. One can also take the following practical measures:A boot camp can be conducted where the whole team can come together. These sessions can give an understanding of a customer’s requirements and goals.Designated members can be relocated to different places, where they can work with the resident team on a temporary basis.Team members working in different time zones should be provided with different facilities like video conferencing, instant messaging software, and desktop-sharing abilities.Teams can be paired across different locations. It functions in a way that when one member is clocking off for the day, his corresponding team member may be starting his day across the globe. He can take over the work and continue working.3. Handling bugs and high-priority tasks: One can receive unexpected and urgent requests from stakeholders and customers. Bugs might also arise in the process. Some of these can be added to the Backlog, though it is recommended not to add all of them. They might be needed to be taken care of as soon as possible.Assign a person for the same and allow more time for bug fixing: Assign a person from the team who will focus all of his attention on tasks like fixing bugs, responding to urgent requests, etc. Also, with the development of progress, increase the time allocated for bug fixing.Scrum Vs KanbanAgile is a set of principles and ideas while Scrum and Kanban are frameworks that help teams and organizations to put these agile principles and values into practice to get things done.Kanban and Scrum follow the same principles, while their practices differ. The main aim behind both of these frameworks is to help you build better products.Kanban in a nutshell:Kanban is a tool which is used to organize work so that efficiency can be improved. Like Scrum, Kanban breaks down its work into small chunks and makes use of a Kanban Board. The Kanban Board is used to keep track of the work as it advances through the workflow. It not only displays the workflow but also optimizes the flow of tasks within different teams. The work to be done is time-bounded in Scrum, whereas Kanban limits the amount of work to be done in a condition, that is, it limits the ongoing tasks and the to-do list. Kanban visualizes the work and limits the work in progress so that the efficiency can be improved.There are several differences in the philosophies and practical applications of Kanban and Scrum, as well as many individual differences. Let’s have a look at them.ScrumFactorKanbanThe Scrum Team consists of the Scrum Master, Product Owner, and the Development Team.Team RolesThere are no defined roles in a Kanban Team. The roles need not be cross-functional.Each sprint is estimated or planned based on the Backlog Sheet.Work BoardWorkflow/ Work Item/ Kanban Board is used to track the work.Scrum emphasises on regular, fixed sprints.ScheduleThere is no iteration or time-boxing in Kanban. It has a continuous flow.No changes are made during the Sprints.Change philosophyChanges can happen at any time during the process.Releases are made at the end of each sprint.ReleaseThere is a continuous delivery in Kanban.Best applicable for teams which have stable priorities that will not change much over time.ApplicationBest applicable for projects which have a lot of varying priorities.Productivity is measured using velocity through sprints.Productivity MeasurementMeasures productivity by measuring the amount of time that a team takes to complete a piece of the project from the starting till the end.List of Scrum certificationsScrum Master certification is one of the oldest and also the most popular certification in Agile. Certifications help and are needed because they are a confirmation on the implementation and also a verification of the knowledge gained.They validate your knowledge in Agile and Scrum.The most popular certification programs are:Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM: Scrum Alliance)Certified Scrum Product Owner® (CSPO: Scrum Alliance)Certified Scrum Professional® (CSP: Scrum Alliance)SAFe® Agilist (SA)SAFe® Program Consultant (SPC4)Professional Scrum Master™ (PSM: Scrum.org)Certified Scrum Developer® (CSD: Scrum Alliance)LeSS (Large Scale Scrum)Scrum Master Certified (SMC™)Certified Agile Leader (CAL: Scrum Alliance)SAFe® 4.0 Advanced Scrum MasterSAFe® 4.0 for TeamsProfessional Scrum Product Owner™ (PSPO: Scrum.org )SAFe® 4.0 Product Manager/Product OwnerMost of the basic certifications do not require any experience as a Scrum Master and can be taken up directly after completing training. However, the Advanced certifications require completion of basic certification and work experience ranging from a minimum of 1 to 2 years.In conclusionThe Scrum Framework is simple and easy to understand, and so are the rules, artifacts, roles, and events. Scrum doesn’t keep a count of the amount of time that you have spent working but measures the tasks that have been accomplished. It makes one more efficient with their time and work.It is ideal for complex and difficult projects as the tasks are broken down into small user stories. The transparency throughout the development cycle along with the distribution of roles and planned events are added advantages. Progress can be observed in a small amount of time which might even lead to quick releases.But, if the team is accustomed to the traditional Waterfall model, then they might feel difficulty in adopting Scrum. But the long-term benefits outweigh the problems faced in the initial learning curve, making it a cogent framework to adopt for your organization.

The Definitive Guide to Scrum Framework

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The Definitive Guide to Scrum Framework

If you are new to the world of software development, then there is a likelihood that the terms “Scrum” and “Agile” will appear the same to you. But, there is a major distinction between the two.

Agile comprises of self-organisation, cross-functionality of the teams, collaboration and refers to the methods and practices based on the values and principles expressed in the ‘Agile Manifesto’.

Scrum is a framework that implements Agile development.

Simply put, Scrum is an iterative and incremental structure for project management mainly used in agile software development. The scrum methodology indicates functional software, the versatility to change accompanying with emerging communication, collaboration, and business realities.

If you are planning to put Scrum applications into practice in your team or organization, and are new to the concepts, then you have reached the right place. Read on to know the basics of Scrum, how it works along with in-depth detail on its frameworks, roles, and artifacts.

Understanding Scrum

Scrum is a framework with the help of which people can address complex problems and at the same time deliver products with the highest possible creativity and productivity.

Scrum is an agile way to manage projects, mostly emphasizing on software development. Many a time, it is perceived as a methodology, but it is a framework for managing processes, with its main focus on teamwork, accountability, and iterative progress to achieve a well-defined goal.

Scrum helps teams to work together in a better way. An example of the same would be a properly functioning Rugby team, where the team members are encouraged to-

  • Learn through their past experiences
  • Become self-organized while working on a problem
  • Reflect on their victory as well as loss in order to improve continuously.

Evolution of Scrum

Evolution of Scrum

There was a time once when the word ‘Scrum’ was used only as a rugby football term. Scrum is a technique to restart playing in Rugby, where players pack themselves closely together with their heads down in order to gain possession of the ball. This became the inspiration for the Scrum method in businesses. Let’s have a look at its history and how it came into being.

The Scrum concept dates back to 1986. That year, two Japanese business experts Hirotaka Takeuchi and Ikujiro Nonaka introduced the term ‘Scrum’ in the subject of product development. They published the article ‘New New Product Development Game’ in the Harvard Business Review, where they described an approach for commercializing product development which would increase speed and flexibility.

By taking real-life examples of companies like Honda, Canon, and Fuji-Xerox, who have achieved surpassing results using extensive, team-based techniques in product development, they emphasised more on self-organised teams and the role of management in the development process. This led to the birth of the concept of ‘Scrum’.

In 1995, Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber presented a paper, ‘The Scrum Development Process’, at Object-Oriented Programming, Systems, Languages, and Applications (OOPSLA) conference, 1995 in Austin, Texas.

In 2001, Sutherland and Schwaber, along with fifteen other colleagues, got together in Snowbird, Utah, where they drafted the Agile Manifesto. It acted as a revolution for the software developers around the globe, as now they had a new approach for creating new software.

Since then, the community of Scrum practitioners has grown and is continuing to grow exponentially, generating thousands of high-performing teams in organisations all around the globe. It is now used widely outside of software development as well, changing the world of work for better!

Why use Scrum

Using Scrum tools and processes in software development can be very beneficial for the organisation as the framework prefers to work and develop in short sprints. The major advantages of using Scrum are:

  1. Higher customer satisfaction: Sprints are short-spanned in Scrum. Hence, results are ready to be delivered and tested within a time span of 1-3 weeks. Scrum provides new features and corrections on a very frequent basis and collects feedback from its clients. This speeds up the process of fixing the bug, hence making the development process even faster. This keeps the customers satisfied.
  2. Increases the morale of the team: The teams are self-organised and self-managed. This allows the team members to be more innovative, creative and gives them acknowledgment for their work. They work in a cross-functional manner, helping them to learn new skills.
  3. Better exposure and improved progress visibility: All the members of the project team, including the stakeholders can know the updates of the project at any given time. Transparency helps the project team in identifying issues as well as making predictions about the progress of the project.
  4. Decreased time to market the product: Scrum has proved to deliver valued products to the customers 30 to 40 percent faster than the traditional methods.
  5. Increase in Return on Investment: The decrease in time to market the product is one of the major reasons for Scrum projects to receive a higher return on investment(ROI). The revenue starts coming in sooner,  which results in a higher total return over time.
  6. Better project control: The project performance is controlled by the Scrum team and corrections can be made by them. The priorities are adjusted by the Scrum teams at each sprint interval. This allows the team to address issues as they arise and get the requirements done as per necessity.
  7. More flexible and responsive: The requirements in the product backlog are unpredictable and volatile, unlike traditional models where requirements are fixed before the development process starts. This makes the business more responsive to the demands of the market.

How Scrum Training has benefited companies in the past

How Scrum Training has benefited companies

Organizations primarily focus on customer satisfaction in order to achieve success. Teams are self-organized in an Agile environment. They share ideas and collaborate their ideas to find solutions to produce high-quality products. But Agile is not a technique for success. It requires a framework and that is where Scrum plays its role.

Scrum has gained immense popularity amongst software development organisations. To name a few:

1. 3M

Also known as Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company, 3M is an American manufacturer that manufactures multiple numbers of products, ranging from electronic circuits to medical products.

According to 3M, they previously relied on the traditional Waterfall methodology for its software development process. When they wished to increase their speed of development of new applications and lower their cost of software product development, they were not satisfied with the Waterfall process. They decided to opt for Agile with Scrum methodology and went for it. With the self-organised teams, they were able to push priorities as deemed. Hence, Agile and Scrum proved worth the effort for them.

2. ANZ

The third-largest bank in Australia, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) has thousands of employees who work together to provide commercial and retail banking to its customers.

They adopted Agile with sprint framework in 2017 and since then, they have enjoyed the benefits of Agile. It now releases new functions and features on a monthly basis.

3. Spotify

Spotify provides music streaming service and has successfully implemented an Agile environment to attain positive results from the same.

Spotify has its employees divided into teams and each team is responsible for building and maintaining a specific function of the app. They don’t fear that one bad commitment will break the entire platform. This has resulted in Spotify becoming the leading music streaming service.

4. Google 

Google is a part of Alphabet Inc., which is the world’s second-biggest tech company. The main reason behind their success is the timely delivery of updates of its applications. Agile can be credited for this mindset.

With multiple applications like Gmail, Google Maps, etc. they all are needed to be first tested extensively before being released for the users.

One major example that can be taken from Google is that Google builds, works on, and improves its Android OS. They then release a beta version of the functioning Android OS for its users. It allows users to participate and give feedback. If the reports indicate bugs or usability issues, they fix it and an update is rolled back.

5. IBM

Being one of the biggest technology companies, IBM is known for creating computer hardware around the world. Scrum has also helped improve IBM’s business operations in such a manner that now it offers its own management software that integrates an agile development environment, known as IBM Rotational Team Concert.

Also known as the linear sequential life cycle, it was the first process model ever introduced. It was used in environments which were structured and weren’t adaptable to changes easily.

In the Waterfall Model, each stage or task is needed to be completed before the next task can start. This is done to avoid any overlapping of project stages and to maintain the flow in a single direction.

When it comes to the comparison between Waterfall and Scrum methods, a major drawback that Waterfall faces is that it doesn’t allow any changes or alterations. In case an issue occurs, it becomes very difficult to revisit the earlier stages. The project flow must follow the life-cycle as planned before making any changes. Since the market trend in today’s scenario changes on a regular basis, the Waterfall model becomes very difficult to sustain and implement.

How does Scrum work?

The Scrum Framework has three distinct categories: roles, events, and artifacts. Read along to know about these three categories and the importance of the Scrum Framework.

How does Scrum work

Scrum Framework: How it differs from Agile

Since Scrum is centered around steady improvements and is also the core principle of Agile, people often confuse between the two. There are even instances where people (especially those newly introduced to Scrum) use the terms “Agile” and “Scrum” interchangeably.

Hence before we begin to explain further, it is important to understand the differences between Agile and Scrum.

Scrum is a framework for getting things done while Agile is a mindset. One can use frameworks like Scrum to think the Agile way and build the agile principles in their day-to-day work and communication.

Scrum is regarded as an iterative, incremental framework. Let us understand why.

An iterative framework like Scrum is one that makes progress towards a defined goal mainly through successive refinements. In Scrum, the iteration happens in the following steps -

  1. The development team takes the first important step in any iteration.
  2. They write the code based on the collected requirements.
  3. Next, the team identifies and refines the weak areas in the code until the product is satisfactory.
  4. In every iteration, refinements are made, the code undergoes further changes, and the software is improved.
  5. The work in every iteration is improved in the upcoming iterations.

But, why is Scrum called an incremental process?

In Scrum, the software is developed and delivered in pieces, in small increments. Every new increment is nothing but a subset of the final software. Each increment is fully coded and tested. In other words, “completed” work is delivered throughout the project.

This explains why Scrum is regarded as an incremental process.

Read along and learn about Scrum roles, artifacts and events, and how they work together in order to deliver a product in the market.

Scrum Roles

The scrum framework defines three scrum roles, namely:

  • Scrum Team
  • Scrum Master
  • Scrum Product Owner

Scrum Roles

All of these roles have a defined set of responsibilities. They need to interact closely, work together and act according to their responsibilities to finish a project successfully.

Each of these roles is explained below:

Scrum Team

It is a group of individuals who work together to deliver the product as requested. They hold the responsibility to decide and delegate how a problem can be solved without the help of any team leader. The team as a whole decides how to address an issue and take care of it. The most effective scrum teams are close-knit, co-located, and small-scale. All team members have different skill sets and they help each other at any point needed to ensure a successful sprint completion.  

In order to work more efficiently, a Scrum Team should:

  • Follow a common goal
  • Adhere to the same rules and regulations
  • Respect everyone around

It is the responsibility of the scrum team as a whole to deliver the product in the committed time frame and with the desired quality. A good result or a non-success of the product is never credited to a single team member but always to the Scrum Team as a whole.

Characteristics of a Scrum Team:

Scrum teams have the following attributes:

  • The team as a whole is responsible for the delivery of the project
  • The Scrum Team is self-dependent and empowered
  • There aren’t any sub-teams under the Scrum Team
  • All team members are collocated
  • The skills within the Scrum Team are balanced
  • The team is cross-functional and holds mutual accountability

Scrum Master:

A Scrum Master is a part of the Scrum Team who holds the responsibility to ensure that the Scrum Team abides by the Scrum theory, rules and practices. He is not the same as a Team Leader. A Team Leader leads the team as well as assigns tasks to the team members, whereas a Scrum Master ensures that the team is working according to the rules and that they have understood the Scrum method entirely. They act as an advisor for the team and are on a continuous lookout for the team’s improvements.

Responsibilities of a Scrum Master:

A Scrum Master has several important responsibilities, to name a few:

  • Act as a coach for the Scrum Team
  • Make sure that the Scrum Team is protected from any external requests or disruptions
  • Facilitate the Scrum Events
  • Take measures to maximize the productivity of the team
  • Build trust and transparency
  • Ensure that there is proper communication between the Scrum Team and the Product Owner.

Product Owner:

The Product Owner plays a very crucial role in a Scrum team. He acts as an interface between the team and the stakeholders and is responsible to ensure that the work is being in the correct order to deliver a product of the highest possible value. He works very closely with the Scrum Team and coordinates their activities throughout the project.

Responsibilities of a Product Owner:

A Product Owner has several responsibilities:

  • Communicates with the stakeholders  (customers, marketing, etc.) and discusses the required functionality. These are then filtered and prioritized before being handed over to the team.
  • He is the only person who is allowed to manage the Scrum Product Backlog and keep it in the order of the priority.
  • Responsible for making it to the project goal, hence creating and maintaining the release plan.
  • Make sure that all members of the team understand what is required of the project.
  • The team reports the results to the Product Owner during the sprint review.
  • He makes the schedule, scope and trade-off decisions.
  • Responsible for the ROI of the product.

Scrum Events (Ceremonies)

Scrum Events

To create regularity and to minimize the need for undefined meetings in Scrum, there are a few prescribed events in Scrum. All of these events are time-boxed and are conducted on a regular basis. The Scrum Events are stated below:

  • Sprint
  • Sprint Planning
  • Daily Scrum Meetings
  • Sprint Review
  • Sprint Retrospective

Sprint:

 A Sprint is a time-boxed period in which specific work is completed, that is, the team works together to develop a product incrementally. Sprints are usually of a duration of one month or less. A new Sprint starts as soon as the previous Sprint gets over. The main motive behind a Sprint is to provide a pattern to work on for the team.

Sprint Planning: 

A Sprint Planning is a meeting where the Product Owner along with the Development Team discusses the prioritization of the product backlog items and plans the delivery of the final product. It occurs at the beginning of a sprint. The work that is to be performed in a sprint is discussed and planned in this meeting. It is the responsibility of the Scrum master to make sure that the meeting takes place and that the team understands the purpose.  

The necessary inputs for Sprint Planning are:

  • Product Backlog
  • Constraints
  • Sprint Goal
  • Team capabilities

Daily Scrum Meeting:

 A daily scrum meeting is commonly termed as a daily stand-up meeting, where all team members meet to discuss their progress since the last stand-up meet. It is a time-boxed meeting of 15 minutes.

The main objective of this meeting is to discuss:

  • Work in progress
  • Create a plan for the next 24 hours.
  • Sprint backlogs, if any
  • Any new information

Sprint Review: 

After the end of each Sprint, the development team along with the stakeholders hold a session to discuss the updates of the backlog items and receive feedback for the same. This session is known as the Sprint Review.

The possible outcomes of the Sprint Review are:

  • Demonstrate the results of the sprints
  • Revised Product Backlog
  • Cancel any further development, if needed
  • Respond to questions
  • Receive feedback
  • Resolve the impediments

The final result of the Sprint Review is the revised Product Backlog, which acts as the Product Backlog for the upcoming sprint.

Sprint Retrospective: 

The Sprint Retrospective is a technique which is used for continuous improvement. It is conducted after the Sprint Review, preceding the upcoming Sprint Planning. In this meet, the Scrum Team examines the previous sprint and creates a plan for enhancement which can be put into action in the upcoming sprint. The Development Team, Product Owner and Scrum Master participate in this meet.

The important inputs are:

  • Data about team performance
  • Improvement backlog
  • The focus of the team

Scrum Artifacts

The Scrum Artifacts present the development team and the stakeholders with the key information that they need to be aware of. The main objective of the Scrum Artifacts is to provide transparency and opportunities for inspection and adaptation. It reflects a team’s progress towards the sprint goal.

The Scrum framework defines three artifacts:

  • Product Backlog
  • Sprint Backlog
  • Product Increment

Scrum Artifacts

Product Backlog: 

Product Backlog outlines all the requirements that are needed for a project, product or system. It can be considered as a to-do list of all the changes that are to be made to a project. The Product Owner is responsible for the Product Backlog, where he can add, change and re-prioritize the tasks as needed. It is a living artifact as the requirements never stop changing. Any changes in the business requirements, market conditions or technology may result in changes in the Product Backlog.

A Product Backlog may contain functional, non-functional, infrastructural, and architectural elements. They also work on the important risks that are needed to be removed or mitigated.

The Product Backlog is refined and revised periodically so that it can be helpful for the next level of planning. This is known as Product Backlog Refinement. The Development Team along with the Product Owner estimate the items in it, which includes order, description, estimate, and value.

The major activities involved during the backlog refinement are:

  • Asking questions to the product owner for precise information
  • Creating new user stories
  • Deleting stories that are no longer required
  • Estimating or re-estimating the user stories
  • Refining stories for preparation of future sprints
  • Re-prioritising the stories
  • Reviewing the highest priority stories

Sprint Backlog: 

A Sprint Backlog is a list of items that are taken from the Product Backlog which are to be completed within a Sprint. It also contains a plan to deliver the product increment and to realize the sprint goal. The development team plans and gives a forecast about the changes or increment in the functionality that will happen during the sprint, along with the work that is required to deliver the implemented functionality.

The Development Team is responsible for creating and maintaining the Sprint Backlog. As soon as new work comes in, the development team adds it to the Sprint Backlog. The team can change, add, remove or modify the tasks any time as needed. The scrum master can give advice and make suggestions about any missing task(s).

The Sprint Backlog needs to be updated by the team at least once every day. A sprint starts only when all the team members agree on the fact that the Sprint Backlog is achievable.

The Sprint Backlog can be monitored and the work which is remaining can be calculated. By doing this, the likelihood of successfully achieving the Sprint Goal can be concluded as well, which will help the development team to manage its progress.

Product Increment: 

Product Increment is the most important Scrum Artifact. It is the sum of all the Product Backlog items that have been completed in the sprint along with the values of the increments produced in the previous sprints. An increment is the product of a project which is potentially shippable. It should be acceptable by the Product Owner regardless of whenever he decides to release it.

Challenges faced in applying Scrum and how to overcome them

Challenges faced in applying Scrum and how to overcome

Mastering the rules and practices of Scrum is not that simple. It will require a lot of time and effort to do so.

Scrum doesn’t promise to fix all problems, but it helps bring them out in the open. Scrum can be mastered by facing different challenges and overcoming them. Scrum will certainly not fail you in doing so as it is designed to work for you, as long as you know how to make it work.

Let’s address the common challenges that teams and organisations face during the implementation of Scrum and look at the possible solutions.

1. Resistance to change

Organisations are generally resistant to changes. Change can be difficult and uncomfortable, hence people generally avoid it. Scrum may prove to be challenging to deploy for established organisations. The major challenge that they face is the change from yearly or semi-annual releases to weekly iterations. For an organisation to start using Scrum, it will require a shift in the fundamental mindset which will change the old habits and bring along new, more effective ones.

Get out of comfort zone: It is very important to understand what an individual’s true feelings are towards adopting Scrum and why they resist changes. Learn about them and find measures to help them overcome it.
An incremental approach can be observed as well. Start small, that is, involve one team and showcase their results. Let their experience inspire others.

2. Distributed team

A major issue that a distributed (Scrum) team faces is communication. Conflicting working hours and a difference in time zones may diminish the overall effectiveness of the team, making collaboration difficult in many cases. Lack of communication may cause delays or unnecessary errors, which can lead to poor sustainability, ultimately affecting productivity.

Everyone should be on the same page: It is very important to be considerate of the fact that team members of different nationalities will have different traditions. Apart from this, coordination and trust are very important as well. One can also take the following practical measures:

  • A boot camp can be conducted where the whole team can come together. These sessions can give an understanding of a customer’s requirements and goals.
  • Designated members can be relocated to different places, where they can work with the resident team on a temporary basis.
  • Team members working in different time zones should be provided with different facilities like video conferencing, instant messaging software, and desktop-sharing abilities.
  • Teams can be paired across different locations. It functions in a way that when one member is clocking off for the day, his corresponding team member may be starting his day across the globe. He can take over the work and continue working.

3. Handling bugs and high-priority tasks: 

One can receive unexpected and urgent requests from stakeholders and customers. Bugs might also arise in the process. Some of these can be added to the Backlog, though it is recommended not to add all of them. They might be needed to be taken care of as soon as possible.

Assign a person for the same and allow more time for bug fixing: Assign a person from the team who will focus all of his attention on tasks like fixing bugs, responding to urgent requests, etc. Also, with the development of progress, increase the time allocated for bug fixing.

Scrum Vs Kanban

Agile is a set of principles and ideas while Scrum and Kanban are frameworks that help teams and organizations to put these agile principles and values into practice to get things done.

Kanban and Scrum follow the same principles, while their practices differ. The main aim behind both of these frameworks is to help you build better products.

Kanban in a nutshell:

Kanban is a tool which is used to organize work so that efficiency can be improved. Like Scrum, Kanban breaks down its work into small chunks and makes use of a Kanban Board. The Kanban Board is used to keep track of the work as it advances through the workflow. It not only displays the workflow but also optimizes the flow of tasks within different teams. The work to be done is time-bounded in Scrum, whereas Kanban limits the amount of work to be done in a condition, that is, it limits the ongoing tasks and the to-do list. Kanban visualizes the work and limits the work in progress so that the efficiency can be improved.

There are several differences in the philosophies and practical applications of Kanban and Scrum, as well as many individual differences. Let’s have a look at them.

ScrumFactorKanban
The Scrum Team consists of the Scrum Master, Product Owner, and the Development Team.Team RolesThere are no defined roles in a Kanban Team. The roles need not be cross-functional.
Each sprint is estimated or planned based on the Backlog Sheet.Work BoardWorkflow/ Work Item/ Kanban Board is used to track the work.
Scrum emphasises on regular, fixed sprints.ScheduleThere is no iteration or time-boxing in Kanban. It has a continuous flow.
No changes are made during the Sprints.Change philosophyChanges can happen at any time during the process.
Releases are made at the end of each sprint.ReleaseThere is a continuous delivery in Kanban.
Best applicable for teams which have stable priorities that will not change much over time.ApplicationBest applicable for projects which have a lot of varying priorities.
Productivity is measured using velocity through sprints.Productivity MeasurementMeasures productivity by measuring the amount of time that a team takes to complete a piece of the project from the starting till the end.

List of Scrum certifications

Scrum Master certification is one of the oldest and also the most popular certification in Agile. Certifications help and are needed because they are a confirmation on the implementation and also a verification of the knowledge gained.

They validate your knowledge in Agile and Scrum.

The most popular certification programs are:

  1. Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM: Scrum Alliance)
  2. Certified Scrum Product Owner® (CSPO: Scrum Alliance)
  3. Certified Scrum Professional® (CSP: Scrum Alliance)
  4. SAFe® Agilist (SA)
  5. SAFe® Program Consultant (SPC4)
  6. Professional Scrum Master™ (PSM: Scrum.org)
  7. Certified Scrum Developer® (CSD: Scrum Alliance)
  8. LeSS (Large Scale Scrum)
  9. Scrum Master Certified (SMC™)
  10. Certified Agile Leader (CAL: Scrum Alliance)
  11. SAFe® 4.0 Advanced Scrum Master
  12. SAFe® 4.0 for Teams
  13. Professional Scrum Product Owner™ (PSPO: Scrum.org )
  14. SAFe® 4.0 Product Manager/Product Owner

Most of the basic certifications do not require any experience as a Scrum Master and can be taken up directly after completing training. However, the Advanced certifications require completion of basic certification and work experience ranging from a minimum of 1 to 2 years.

In conclusion

The Scrum Framework is simple and easy to understand, and so are the rules, artifacts, roles, and events. Scrum doesn’t keep a count of the amount of time that you have spent working but measures the tasks that have been accomplished. It makes one more efficient with their time and work.

It is ideal for complex and difficult projects as the tasks are broken down into small user stories. The transparency throughout the development cycle along with the distribution of roles and planned events are added advantages. Progress can be observed in a small amount of time which might even lead to quick releases.

But, if the team is accustomed to the traditional Waterfall model, then they might feel difficulty in adopting Scrum. But the long-term benefits outweigh the problems faced in the initial learning curve, making it a cogent framework to adopt for your organization.

KnowledgeHut

KnowledgeHut

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KnowledgeHut is an outcome-focused global ed-tech company. We help organizations and professionals unlock excellence through skills development. We offer training solutions under the people and process, data science, full-stack development, cybersecurity, future technologies and digital transformation verticals.
Website : https://www.knowledgehut.com

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The Scrum Master is seen as an evangelist for practicing and promoting Scrum in the enterprise.The Agile Manifesto and servant-leadershipThe Agile Manifesto states that one must value: Individuals and interactions over Process and tools Working software over Comprehensive documentation Customer collaboration over Contract negotiation Responding to change over Following a plan These again align with the values of servant leadership, which is all about putting people or employees first. The Agile Manifesto describes focusing on building projects around motivated individuals and giving them an environment of support, trust and collaboration—all characteristics of servant leadership.Who Are These Servant Leaders?The Scrum Guide defines the service provided by the Scrum Master as servant leadership. The Scrum Master selflessly provides servant leadership to the development team, product owner and the whole organization. By serving these entities, the Scrum Master can create a high performing team, a valuable product and an efficient organization that is able to meet business objectives and keep customers happy.  Though the term Scrum Master may be deceptive, the Scrum Master is not a master of the team but in fact serves the team in order to ensure smooth functioning and productivity.Servant Leadership and Scrum Master Roles of Servant LeadershipServant leadership:The day-to-day activity of a Scrum Master involves servant leadership. Servant leadership in a scrum team involves performance planning, coaching, helping the team self- organize, resolving conflicts through conflict management, removing obstacles that hinder progress and serving the team. The Scrum Master, while practicing servant leadership, helps the team grow and mature and become independent enough to make their own decisions. Servant leadership in Scrum is all about making the team self-reliant, so they can cope with the pressures of the role. As a servant leader the Scrum Master creates a high performing team, helps them become collaborative and high performing in order to achieve goals and meet the requirements of the customer.  Service to the Scrum Team: As a servant leader, the primary responsibility of the Scrum Master is to help the development team perform. They help the team perform to the best of their abilities by giving them an environment that is conducive to work in, encouraging them, guiding them and removing obstacles that may hinder progress. As a coach, the Scrum Master will guide the team on scrum processes and help them adhere to Agile values during the development of the product. The Scrum Master is responsible for the scrum team’s effectiveness, and they work tirelessly to ensure that the team is motivated, encouraged, creative and innovative. The Scrum Master through servant leadership helps the team improve Scrum practices which helps them become more productive and generate value. The Scrum Team’s role in motivating and helping the team comes through in the daily stand-up meetings that are arranged as part of the sprint. The Scrum Master encourages team members to share their grievances and progress made through the sprint. Team members can talk about obstacles that may be hindering their work and due cognizance will be taken up by the Scrum master to ensure that these obstacles are removed.  According to the Scrum Guide, the Scrum Master helps the Development Team by: Coaching the team in becoming self-organized and cross-functional Helping the Scrum Team focus on creating high-value increments by removing impediments Helping the team deliver within the timeframe of the sprint Service to the Product Owner: The Scrum Master is a servant leader not just for the development team but also the Product Owner. While the Product Owner is primarily responsible for the product backlog, they cannot do this alone. The Scrum Master aids the development team and the Product Owner with effective product backlog management.The Scrum Master is involved at every stage of the product backlog grooming, helping the product owner with Scrum events, product planning and to identify backlog items along with the development team. The Scrum Master helps the Product Owner define the product vision to the team.   According to the Scrum Guide, the Scrum Master helps the Product Owner by: Helping in Product Goal definition and Product Backlog management Helping the Scrum Team understand manage the Product Backlog items Setting up empirical product planning in complex environments and, Managing and facilitating stakeholder collaboration.Service to the Organization: The Scrum Master is a coach and motivator not just for the development team but goes beyond the team to spread the awareness of Scrum in the entire organization. Scrum Masters coach and help teams and departments understand Scrum and develop an Agile mind-set. Besides servant leadership to the team a Scrum Master is also involved in promoting the ideas and values of Scrum. An organization can get an agile mind-set only if the entire organization adopts Scrum and not just a few teams. This is where the Scrum Master comes in, helping other teams not involved with Scum to gain the Agile mind-set, through training and coaching. The Scrum Master is an Agile evangelist and promotes Scrum enterprise-wide.According to Scrum.org the Scrum Master serves the organization by: Leading, training, and coaching the organization in adopting Scrum Planning and advising Scrum implementations within the organization Coaching employees and stakeholders in the way Scrum works Helping stakeholders work with Scrum TeamsSome Servant-Leader Behaviours for every Scrum MasterBeing empathetic: This is the foremost personality trait required for anyone wanting to become a Scrum Master. Your empathy will shine through in your interactions with the team members and your dealings with the stakeholders. You should be able to see problems from the point of view of each party and work towards solving these problems. Caring: As a caring and empathetic Scrum Master, your team will feel free to approach you and share their concerns. Providing a listening ear will make you more approachable. You will be able to more clearly understand the impediments that are stopping project progress and work towards providing a solution.  Managing Conflicts: Not all team members will get along with each other and this can cause disruptions and problems within the team, lowering their productivity. As a Scrum Master you need to be great at conflict management, help others solve their problems, work with each other and create a high performing and harmonious team. Building relationships: You need to build a rapport with your team, the product owner and the stakeholders. This will help you communicate freely and help others approach you with their problems and issues. You need to build that relationship of trust and take everyone along on the journey of success.  Being ethical: Ethics play an important role in software development, especially since software now controls every aspect of our lives. The product created should be free of malice and fraud. The Scrum Master should guide the team in delivering the product at a value and standard that is expected and agreed upon with the stakeholder. There should not be any shortcuts or concessions made on the quality of the product delivered as this will affect not just the Scrum Master and the team’s reputation but will cause a dent in the reputation of the organization.   Conclusion  Servant leadership and the Scrum Master’s role is the backbone of Scrum. The Scrum Master as a servant leader re-emphasizes the values of Scrum and helps to enhance teamwork, collaboration, motivation and value. Under the able servant leadership of the Scrum Master, individual members and the team will grow, become more confident and help in delivering value.  
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Scrum Master – The Scrum Team’s Servan...

The term servant leader is synonymous with a Scrum... Read More

A Guide to Scaling Scrum

Scrum has been proven to work well for small teams. But the true benefits of Agile can only be reaped if Agile and Scrum are scaled at the enterprise level. However, this is easier said than done. According to statistics, 47% of Agile transformations are not successful. While this is a worrying trend, there are still hundreds of organizations who have got it right and are able to survive the competition by innovating faster, delivering value and adapting to changing markets. How are they doing it? By using scaled Scrum.There are several tools and frameworks available for scaling Scrum at the enterprise level. In this blog, we attempt to look at a few of these.  Scaling Scrum with NexusNexus is among the most popular frameworks for scaling Scrum. According to the Nexus Guide, “Nexus is a framework for developing and sustaining scaled product delivery initiatives. It builds upon Scrum, extending it only where absolutely necessary to minimize and manage dependencies between multiple Scrum Teams while promoting empiricism and the Scrum Values.” How is Nexus different from Scrum? Scrum defines three primary roles: The Product Owner, the Scrum Master and the development team. These three roles work together in one team.The Nexus framework consists of several Scrum teams that work together toward a common product goal and defines the Nexus Integration Team as an additional accountability.  Nexus helps to build on the values of Scrum and also solves the collaboration and dependency challenges that tend to occur between teams in Scrum.Benefits of using Nexus Nexus extends Scrum in the following ways:  Accountabilities: Nexus introduces the Nexus Integration Team, which consists of the Scrum Master, Product Owner, and members. This team is accountable for delivering a workable product at the end of each sprint.  Events: Nexus events aim to add to or supplement Scrum events and serve not just individual teams but also the Nexus Integration Team. The objective of a sprint is to achieve the Nexus sprint goal. Artifacts: Although the teams are different, within the Nexus framework they all work towards a single goal and follow a single product backlog. There’s a high amount of transparency and work is allocated to each team. The Nexus Integration TeamAccording to the Nexus Guide, “the Nexus Integration Team exists to coordinate, coach, and supervise the application of Nexus and the operation of Scrum so the best outcomes are derived.” The Nexus Integration Team or NIT comprises of the Scrum Master, the Product Owner and Nexus integration team members. There are generally three to nine Scrum teams working together in Nexus. All of them follow a single product backlog and work towards delivering a single product. The Nexus Integration Team forms an essential role within Nexus and is tasked with providing transparent accountability among the teams in Nexus.Product OwnerThe Product Owner is accountable for maximizing the product value and the work carried out in Nexus. Their primary task is to order and refine the product backlog. Being a member of the Nexus Integration Team, the product owner will work with all the Scrum teams in the Nexus Integration team. The product owner and the teams work towards better defining and refining the product backlog.Scrum MasterJust like in regular Scrum, the Scrum Master in the Nexus Integration Team is also responsible for ensuring that the Nexus framework is understood by everyone on the team as prescribed by the Nexus Guide.   MembersThe members of the Nexus Integration Team are the Scrum team members who aid the Scrum teams in adoption of tools and practices that will help the team and members deliver value at the end of each sprint that meets the definition of done. Nexus Integration Team membership should be considered more important than the individual Scrum Team membership and members should work towards first fulfilling their Nexus team responsibilities.What are the Events in Nexus?Nexus adds or augments the events as defined by Scrum. The Nexus event durations are like Scrum event durations and are guided by the Scrum Guide.  Nexus events consist of: Sprint- A Nexus sprint is the same as in Scrum, at the end of which a single increment is delivered.  Cross team refinement- The aim of Nexus is to enhance collaboration and reduce cross team dependencies. Cross team refinement helps to make dependencies and responsibilities more transparent. This makes it easier for Scrum teams within the Nexus to clearly identify and deliver their allocated tasks.  Nexus Sprint Planning- Nexus sprint planning will involve the participation of the Product Owner and concerned teams' members from each team. The purpose of the Nexus Sprint Planning is to assign and co-ordinate activities for a single sprint.  Nexus Daily Scrum- This is like the daily stand up in Scrum. Nexus daily scrum is used to identify any issues and track progress. Any issues are immediately prioritized and solved so that they do not hinder the work of the developers.  Nexus Sprint Review- This event is held at the end of sprints to provide feedback on the increment that has been built and on any future updates that have to be made. Nexus Sprint Retrospective- Like in Scrum, Nexus retrospectives are an important part of the project and are used to reflect on how quality and consistency can be improved.  Some Nexus ArtifactsNexus artifacts are the same as Scrum artifacts and when implemented correctly ensure transparency and value maximization. Every artifact is designed to give a commitment. For example, the product backlog is the artifact and its commitment is the product goal. Other artifacts and their commitments include: Nexus Sprint Backlog-Nexus Sprint Goal Integrated Increment-Definition of Done Along with Nexus, LeSS is another popular framework for scaling agile.  Scaling Scrum with LeSS The Large-Scale Scrum (LeSS) framework is an offering from Atlassian and is a framework for scaling Scrum to multiple teams that are working on the same product. The idea behind LeSS is to start with a single Scrum team as defined in the Scrum Guide and then replicate it to multiple teams who are working on a single product. LeSS has earned the label of being “barely sufficient” as it is a simple framework to apply and uses the basic concepts of Scrum to scale.  How do Sprint Planning meetings in LeSS work?  LeSS generally carries out sprint planning in two stages. Sprint Planning One focuses on selecting items that are of topmost priority, solving unanswered issues and defining the sprint goal. The Sprint Planning Two is like the sprint plan of regular Scrum and focuses on creating a plan of action for getting things done.  Daily meeting  The daily Scrum meeting in LeSS is similar to how it is done in normal single Scrum teams and involves team members discussing the work accomplished and the work to be done during the day. It is a time-boxed meeting and helps teams address any issues that may be hindering work.   Sprint Delivery Meeting (Review) The sprint review meeting is an essential part of LeSS and helps teams and stakeholders review the product built during the sprint and suggest changes and new ideas.   Retrospective The retrospective for LeSS is similar to one team Scrum. These retrospectives held at the end of the sprint will help teams to reflect on the progress of tasks, and identify the obstacles that may hinder or impede the overall project.  Let’s take a look at some of the other frameworks that are used for scaling agile. Scaling Scrum with SAFe®The Scaled Agile Framework, SAFe in short, follows the principles of lean and agile and helps in scaling Scrum to the enterprise. It helps to manage alignment, collaboration, and delivery from multiple agile teams to ensure enterprise success. It systematically focuses on applying Scrum at each level of the enterprise, to maximize value and ensure a successful agile transformation.A successful SAFe adoption ensures end-to-end business agility with significant improvements in strategy, delivery, execution and business competencies. It helps organizations overcome competition and ensure innovative business solutions to gain customer trust and partnership. The SAFe framework is continuously improvised in order to help organizations cope with the digital age and ensure that business outcomes are delivered.Scaling Scrum with the Scrum@Scale frameworkAnother framework that allows organizations to implement Scrum at scale is the Scrum@Scale framework. This framework expands on the core principles of Scrum and helps to scale Scrum over a wide range of industries and sectors, ensuring customer satisfaction and creation of successful products. It promotes communication across all teams and departments, and optimizes resources, removes roadblocks and ensures creation of innovative products.A Final Word By driving Agile at the organizational level, companies can gain all the benefits of team-level Scrum at scale. More often than not the principles of team level Scrum are not sustainable at the enterprise level and the transformation fails. Tested and proven Agile scaling frameworks are now able to turn this around, and help organizations scale up the principles and practices of Scrum to become more adaptable, flexible and responsive. Professionals can master these frameworks and help their organization adopt the culture, mind-set and principles of Scrum and agile.  
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A Guide to Scaling Scrum

Scrum has been proven to work well for small tea... Read More

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