Getting to know SCRUM: from basic definition to various applications
Key Tools: Product Backlog and Sprint Backlog
A key point of Scrum is that everyone knows what is happening in the project, that is, everyone has the same vision. The main Scrum tools are product backlog and sprint backlog, which achieve this transparency within the team.
It is the list of tasks, known as user stories, that has an entire project. Anything we need to do must be in the product backlog and with a time estimated by the development team.
The Product Owner, who is in constant communication with the customer to ensure that priorities are well established, is responsible for the Product Backlog, including content, availability and ordering, so the tasks above must be the ones with highest priority.
The development team chooses product backlog tasks in the sprint planning to generate both the sprint backlog and the sprint goal.
This list evolves and changes priorities with every sprint. Users stories are a way of describing a feature set that follows the: as a_____ user, I need_____, so that____. This way of phrasing a user story allows the product owner to specify the right amount of detail for the team, to estimate the size of the task.
It is the group of tasks of the product backlog that the development team chooses in the sprint planning together with the plan to carry them out. It should be known by the whole team, to ensure that the focus should be on this task group.
The sprint planning does not change during the sprint, it is only allowed to change the plan to be able to develop them.
Each Scrum project could have multiple Release Cycles and each release could have multiple prints. There are a number of repeating sequence of meetings, to be held before, within and after the sprint cycle.
Scrum suggests four ceremonies:
- The Sprint Planning Meeting: which goal is to answer the questions “What are we going to work on, and how are we going to do it?” It’s also important for the team to have a shared goal and a shared commitment to this goal before beginning their Sprint – the list of items the team plans to work on during that specific Sprint. The team then breaks down these items into tasks, typically no bigger than a 2 days’ worth of work.
- The Daily Stand-Up Meeting: which is a brief stand-up meeting where the team discusses what they have completed since the previous meeting, what they are working on, and anything that might be blocked or need help.
- Sprint Review Meeting: Held at the end of each sprint to demonstrate the added functionality. The goal is to get feedback from the product owner and other stakeholders to ensure that the delivered increment met the business need and to revise the Product Backlog based on the feedback. This feedback will then become items that will be looped back into the Product Backlog, where it can be ordered and pulled in by the team in a future Sprint.
- Sprint Retrospective Meeting: Retrospectives typically last 90 minutes and are there to help us incorporate continuous improvement into our team culture and into our Sprint cadence. This is where the Scrum Team meets to reflect on their previous Sprint and to figure out how to improve as a team by asking – what went well, what did not, and what can be improved. It allows the team to focus on its overall performance and identify strategies for continuous improvement.