What is Scrum?

By | December 27, 2016

This week’s blog post is based on a chapter from our book, Scrum 101: the most frequently asked questions about Agile with Scrum, which is available to buy for £9.90.

Scrum is a framework that can be used to help apply the core values and principles of the Agile Manifesto (Beck et al., 2001), and is especially effective when people are working with complex adaptive systems (i.e. uncertain, unpredictable, changing environments).

Unlike many other project management approaches, the Scrum framework is ‘lightweight’. So, while heavyweight approaches demand a lot of up-front documentation, detailed specifications, planning, scheduling and reporting, Scrum minimises these: it encourages splitting up a product into small segments, releasing these segments to customers as they are completed, then using customer feedback on the completed items as a guide for future work. This means that Scrum relies on multiple cycles of planning, building and monitoring.

Although Scrum prescribes roles, events and artefacts (all of which are discussed in greater detail throughout the book), it is a simple framework that gives some structure, rather than a complete set of prescriptive rules. Scrum provides flexibility so teams can tailor it to their needs, and relies on the self-organisation of teams rather than micro-management. However, this freedom comes at a cost: teams have to think for themselves about how they should work, and this book aims to help clarify some of the common questions that arise.

Although iterative, cyclical approaches can be accredited to many others, the Scrum we all know is largely due to the work of Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland from the 1990s to date.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

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