What is the Scrum Model of Management ?


Scrum is a way to get work done as a team in small pieces at a time, with continuous experimentation and feedback loops along the way to learn and improve. It helps members and teams deliver value incrementally in a collaborative way.

The term comes from a 1986 Harvard Business Review article in which the authors Hirotaka Takeuchi and Ikujiro Nonaka compared high-performing, cross-functional workforce teams to the scrum formation used by rugby teams. 

Just as in rugby, players come together to collaborate and work towards moving the ball forward, scrum in the business context is where the teams come together to move the product forward.

With its roots in software development, today scrum can be described as a lightweight framework that is used in every industry to deliver complex and innovative products that truly satisfy the customers. Though it is simple to understand, it is very difficult to master.

How does Scrum Work ?

The central idea of Scrum is a self-organizing team delivering customer value in a time-restricted period called a Sprint. The elements of Scrum Management include artifacts, roles, and events associated with each given Sprint. Let’s look at these elements in detail.

What are Scrum Artifacts ?

There are three primary artifacts:

Product Backlog: This is a dynamic list of features, requirements, enhancements, and fixes that must be completed for project success. The product owner is responsible for the maintenance and updation of the list, removing irrelevant items or adding new requests from customers.

Sprint Backlog: This is the list of items to be completed by the development team in the current Sprint Cycle. It is planned out at the beginning of each Sprint, but can evolve during its course.

Increment: This is about taking a step towards the end-goal or vision during a Sprint. Teams can adopt different ways to define and demonstrate the completion of their Sprint Goals. For example some teams may define the release of a sample to their customer as an increment. Or they could define the development of certain features of the product as an increment. On completion, they can then claim that an increment has been attained.

What are Scrum Roles ?

There are 3 specific roles in any Scrum Team: the product owner, the scrum leader and the development team

Product Owner: The role of product owner is to ensure that the development team delivers maximum value to the business. Some of his responsibilities are:

  1. To give the team clear guidance on which features to include
  2. To bridge the gap between what the customer wants and what the team understands
  3. To decide when and how frequently releases should happen

Scrum Leader: The Scrum Leader coaches the business, the teams and the Product Owners on how to improve their Scrum processes and optimize delivery. Some of their responsibilities are:

  1. To schedule the resources needed for each Sprint
  2. To facilitate Sprint Events and team meetings
  3. To lead digital transformation in the processes
  4. To facilitate training for adoption of new technologies
  5. To communicate with external groups for solving ay challenges being faced by in-house teams

Scrum Development Team: This team consists of testers, designers, UX specialists, Ops engineers, and developers. They are responsible for the following:

  1. To work collaboratively ensuring a successful Sprint Completion
  2. To champion the cause of sustainable development practices
  3. To self-organize while being a team player
  4. To drive the planning and ensure appropriate estimation of the work they can complete in a Sprint

What are Scrum Events ?

Scrum Events are a series of ordered meetings that teams hold regularly. Some of the agendas for these meetings are:

Sprint Planning: Here the team estimates the work required to be completed in the next Sprint. The goals should be specific, measurable and attainable. At the end of the meeting, each member knows the next target increments

Sprint: Here the teams or members meet together to complete increments. This is where the real scrum happens

Daily Scrum or Stand-Up: This is a short meeting where team members usually get-together at the start of the day and plan. It is called Stand-Up, because it is supposed to be short and practical so that everybody can remain standing through the duration

Sprint Review: In this event the teams get together to review the work completed and present it to the stakeholders

Sprint Retrospective: In this meeting the teams come together to discuss the methods that worked, and those that were not that fruitful. They come up with ideas that can be used to improve future Sprints.

Final Thoughts

The scrum framework is itself very simple. The elements of artifacts, events, and roles are easy to understand. The model helps remove ambiguities in the development process, while giving sufficient space for companies to customize it as per their unique requirements.

Scrum may take time to fully implement, especially if the development team is not acclimatized to it. The concepts of smaller iterations, daily scrum meetings, sprint reviews, and identifying a scrum leader could be challenging.

However, the long-term benefits usually outweigh the initial learning curve. Scrum has demonstrated tangible success in developing complex software products across diverse industries, so no wonder it is a popular cultural paradigm for successful businesses.

Image Source

Leave a Comment