Agile Project Management Masterclass

Although not originally a core scrum practice, backlog refinement was added to the Scrum Guide and adopted as a way of managing the quality of product backlog items entering a sprint. It is the ongoing process of reviewing and amending/updating/re-ordering product backlog items in the light of new information. The Product Backlog is a dynamic list of features, requirements, enhancements, and fixes that must be completed for project success. It is essentially the team’s to-do list, which is constantly revisited and reprioritized to adapt to market changes. The product owner maintains and updates the list, removing irrelevant items or adding new requests from customers.

  • As you prepare for the certification exam, you can begin to build practical skills to help you successfully lead teams.
  • 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.
  • Scrum methodology entails a small team led by a Scrum Master, who is accountable for eliminating obstacles and ensuring timely completion of tasks.
  • The gap progression between the terms in the Fibonacci sequence encourages the team to deliver carefully considered estimates.
  • The Scrum framework is fairly simple being made up of a team with three accountabilities, who take part in five events and produce three artifacts.
  • Having access to a community of like-minded individuals who are on the same journey as you can be incredibly valuable.
  • Self-organize and approach their projects with an evident we attitude.

Developers might be tempted to exclude product owners or scrum masters from meetings thinking that it is up to them to figure out the “how” of the sprint. They may influence certain areas of the product manager’s responsibilities, such as release planning and feature definition. But their main focus is to serve as a representative of the customer and advocate for the business case on the scrum team. They are the only people who can change the order of features in the product backlog and who decide whether to release a sprint.

Do Scrum Masters need to be technical?‎

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. In kanban, however, the number of tasks or the work in progress to be implemented in the current cycle is fixed at first. The time taken to implement these features is then calculated backward.

Scrum aims to release products and their features in predictable increments using well-defined sprints. The entire product does not need to be done for features to be released. Sprints are designed to add shippable features at every increment. Complete products made up of those shipped features are known as complex products. Scrum focuses on a predictable, sustainable delivery pace and consistent feedback that gives teams a chance to mitigate risk early and often.

Tracking Progress

Working cross-functionally allows members to learn new skills and mentor each other. As a result, Scrum creates an environment of support and trust, increasing people’s overall motivation and morale. In this event, the team estimates the work to be completed in the next Sprint. Members define Sprint Goals that are specific, measurable, and attainable.

What is Scrum

Jeff Sutherland, John Scumniotales and Jeff McKenna then tried Scrum software development at Easel Corp., a software company, in 1993. Another principle of Agile is recognizing that the best work emerges from self-directed teams. They give teams what they need to do their work, and the freedom to set their own course. They then act as a servant leader, coaching teams to solve problems, reach goals and resolve conflicts. Development teams incorporate Scrum into their Agile strategy to add a layer of specificity. It has an overarching philosophy, or framework, that informs the methodologies under it, as explained in the Agile Manifesto.

Product Backlog

In some organizations, the product manager assumes the responsibilities of the product owner. These are discrete roles that require different skill sets and full attention. When you try to get two for the price of one, you can easily end up with a person who has an unrealistic workload and compromised scrum team roles and responsibilities priorities. Today, scrum is inarguably the most popular agile framework in business and IT organizations. The 16th annual “State of Agile” report for 2022 showed that scrum far outpaced any other framework or method — 87 percent said they leverage scrum, compared to 50 percent who leverage kanban.

What is Scrum

Therefore, they contribute to the creation of ‘Sprint Backlogs’. The team also plays a key role in creating tasks by segregating Sprint items and approximation to these sprint items. The Scrum team is responsible for developing and upgrading the product after every sprint cycle, based on the listed items in the Product Backlog. In addition, the team must ensure that the product increments meet the desired quality standards and are defect-free.

Key Scrum Tools to Get You Through Your Next Sprint

Scrum was originally developed for complex software development projects, but is now being used on almost any type of team-based product work. Typically, a Scrum Team includes five to eleven people who share the various tasks and responsibilities related to the delivery of the project/product. It is a group of self-motivated individuals who work collaboratively towards successful product delivery. A high level of communication is expected between the Scrum Team members to ensure they are focused on the same goal while maintaining mutual respect throughout the process. As per the Scrum team definition, they are cross-functional, highly productive, and self-organized teams that work together to deliver high-quality product increments. The sprint backlog is more than just a list of work — it is a plan.

Scrum Teams choose their own metrics to measure project performance. They estimate timelines, budgets, and quality metrics based on their experience and capabilities. Teams get more support at the beginning of the project and naturally speed up over time.

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Takeuchi and Nonaka posited that the rugby method had the potential to revolutionize how organizations brought new products to market. They also included some cautions, including managerial implications and the potential for overworked teams. A Scrum of Scrums is a virtual team consisting of delegates with embedded links to the originating delivery teams. Compared to typical organizational hierarchies or project-based teams, these interlinking team structures reduce communication paths. Teams who apply Scrum of Scrums not only coordinate delivery, but ensure a fully integrated product at the end of every sprint. Therefore, Scrum of Scrums acts as a release team that delivers value to customers.

What is Scrum

When IT organizations try to scale these frameworks across multiple teams, problems can occur. These methods don’t provide guidance on how to work across teams at the end of a sprint, for example. At the end, at least one increment — a usable piece of software — should be produced.


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. The rules, artifacts, events, and roles are easy to understand. Its semi-prescriptive approach actually helps remove the ambiguities in the development process, while giving sufficient space for companies to introduce their individual flavor to it. The product owner compiles a list of all the tasks necessary to complete the project, and is known as the product backlog.

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