Monday, October 16, 2006


I am having Scrum training tomorrow. So what is Scrum anyway?

Scrum is an agile method for project management. Scrum was named as a project management style in auto and consumer product manufacturing companies by Takeuchi and Nonaka in "The New New Product Development Game" (Harvard Business Review, Jan-Feb 1986). They noted that projects using small, cross-functional teams historically produce the best results, and likened these high-performing teams to the scrum formation in Rugby. Jeff Sutherland, John Scumniotales, and Jeff McKenna documented, conceived and implemented Scrum as it is described below at Easel Corporation in 1993, incorporating team management styles noted by Takeuchi and Nonaka. In 1995, Ken Schwaber formalized the definition of Scrum and helped deploy it worldwide in software development.

Its intended use is for management of software development projects, and it has been successfully used to "wrap" Extreme Programming and other development methodologies. However, it can theoretically be applied to any context where a group of people need to work together to achieve a common goal - such as setting up a small school, scientific research projects or planning a wedding.

Although Scrum was intended to be for management of software development projects, it can be used in running maintenance teams, or as a program management approach: Scrum of Scrums.

Characteristics of Scrum
A living backlog of prioritized work to be done;
Completion of a largely fixed set of backlog items in a series of short iterations or sprints;
A brief daily meeting or scrum, at which progress is explained, upcoming work is described and impediments are raised.
A brief planning session in which the backlog items for the sprint will be defined.
A brief heartbeat retrospective, at which all team members reflect about the past sprint.
Scrum is facilitated by a ScrumMaster, whose primary job is to remove impediments to the ability of the team to deliver the sprint goal. The ScrumMaster is not the leader of the team (as they are self-organising) but acts as a productivity buffer between the team and any destabilising influences.

Scrum enables the creation of self-organising teams by encouraging verbal communication across all team members and across all disciplines that are involved in the project.

A key principle of Scrum is its recognition that fundamentally empirical challenges cannot be addressed successfully in a traditional "process control" manner. As such, Scrum adopts an empirical approach - accepting that the problem cannot be fully understood or defined, focusing instead on maximizing the team's ability to respond in an agile manner to emerging challenges.

Notably missing from Scrum is the "cookbook" approach to project management exemplified in the Project Management Body of Knowledge or Prince2 - both of which have as their goal quality through application of a series of prescribed processes.

This is what the training will cover tomorrow

Creating An Agile Environment (An introduction to Scrum)

Presentation Outline:
I. Definition of Agile
II. Agile Principles and Values
III. Historical Background in Software Development
IV. Overview of Scrum
V. Roles and Responsibilities
VI. Benefits and Challenges in using Scrum
VII. Agile adoption patterns for large organizations
VIII. Questions and Recommended Reading

What is Scrum? Scrum is an iterative, incremental process for developing any product or managing any work. It produces a potentially shippable set of functionality at the end of every iteration. It's attributes are:

  • Scrum is an agile process to manage and control development work.
  • Scrum is a wrapper for existing engineering practices.
  • Scrum is a team-based approach to iteratively, incrementally develop systems and products when requirements are rapidly changing
  • Scrum is a process that controls the chaos of conflicting interests and needs.
  • Scrum is a way to improve communications and maximize co-operation.
  • Scrum is a way to detect and cause the removal of anything that gets in the way of developing and delivering products.
  • Scrum is scalable from single projects to entire organizations. Scrum has controlled and organized development and implementation for multiple interrelated products and projects with over a thousand developers and implementers.
  • Scrum is a way for everyone to feel good about their job, their contributions, and that they have done the very best they possibly could.

So my question to you is, do you use Scrum? And if you do then did it improve the process of development? We do use it actually but the developers did not get training yet.

1 comment:

Michael Vizdos said...


I'd be interested in hearing more about your post-CSM training! Also, you may want to check out my site at -- I write a lot about what I see using Scrum on a daily basis. And there are cartoons (smile).

- mike vizdos