Scrum is a methodology (and framework) of agile project and product management. It is based on the Agile Manifesto. Originally this comes from software development. The methodology was developed there in order to quickly find solutions for (potential) issues. This approach helps a lot with ever faster changing framework conditions and software requirements. This was then adapted as an organizational form in companies. The reason is VUCA (VUCA: volatility, uncertainty, complexity ambiguity). In an increasingly dynamic, globalized, digital world, long planning horizons for products, solutions, services and business models are virtually no longer possible. Therefore, companies inevitably have to adapt and implement a dynamic business organization to become agile. This also results in the New Work movement, which is primarily based on agile principles.
One of the characteristics is that it is simple and there are very few rules. Basically, these four events (Sprint Planning, Daily Scrum, Sprint Review, Retrospective), three artifacts (Product Backlog, Sprint Backlog, Product Increment) and three roles (Scrum Master, Product Owner, Team) describe the core. These rules are described in the Scrum Guide, there is another short description in the Agile Atlas. The framework is concretized by techniques for the implementation of events, artifacts and roles.
Basically there are 3 roles: Scrum Master, Product Owner and the Team. The master should ensure compliance with the rules (in the guide). The Product Owner is responsible for the definition of the product backlog (i.e. the “catalogue of requirements”, which is processed step by step). The team is responsible for the implementation of the product backlog.
Predefined work packages (the Sprint Backlog created in the Sprint Planning Meeting) are processed in so-called sprints, which often have a defined length of 3 weeks. For this purpose the DoR (Definition of Ready) and the DoD (Definition of Done) are defined in order to complete the work packages measurably. In a sprint review, the implemented elements are then shown by the team to the product owner. The Product Increment is the sum of all product backlog entries that were completed during the current and all previous sprints. Grooming can also take place prior to a review in order to be able to adjust the product at an early stage.
- What have I done since the last Daily?
- What do I plan to do until the next Daily?
- What hindered my work (impediments)?
In some organizations the meetings are Tuesday to Thursday, because external consultants are often involved. Due to arrival and departure, Monday and Friday cannot be guaranteed. Some also introduce a weekly meeting (aka “Weekly” – usually on Thursday against late morning) to increase coordination and communication.
The methodology can be staggered over several levels. This is called “Scrum of Scrum”, aka S2, or “Scrum of Scrum of Scrum”, aka S3, etc. .
The template for many organizations is the implementation of the company Spotify. These also use so-called squads and tribes as organizational roles.
See videos for Chief Digital Officer (CDO): ScrumWhy this is interesting for a Chief Digital Officer (CDO)?
Scrum is a form of agile business. Today, many agree that digitalization only works agilely in companies. Many New Work followers also see it this way. For this reason Scrum is important for Chief Digital Officer (CDO) to know. A wide variety of startups have also developed special adaptions (e.g. Spotify). For corporates there are also special adaptations of the Scrum Model (e.g. SAFe), so that you can work fast and structured agile. Because often there are large resistances in traditional structures. Perhaps these approaches can help to break up encrusted structures and transform the company into an agile startup. This can free up a lot of energy. However, this should go hand in hand with sensible change management. Otherwise there is a great danger that agile will become chaos.
See also (glossary Scrum):
- Agile Manifesto
- Definition of Done (DoD)
- Definition of Ready (DoR)
- Independent, Negotiable, Valuable, Estimable, Small, Testable (INVEST)
- Product Backlog
- Product Backlog Item
- Product Increment
- Product Owner
- Scrum Master
- Sprint Backlog
- Sprint Planning
- Sprint Review
- User Story