Scrum in Project Management: The Complete Guide

Grace Marcus
December 28, 2022
4 minute read

What Is Scrum In Project Management?

 

Scrum in project management is a framework for project management that is built on Agile principles. At its core, you can define Scrum based on its method of delivering small, incremental pieces of work regularly. This approach allows teams to adjust quickly to changes and be more responsive to customer needs.

The Scrum framework is designed to help teams work together more efficiently, with greater transparency and accountability. It’s ideal for projects that deal with ambiguity and require flexibility.

 

The Scrum Team

A Scrum team comprises no more than seven self-organizing people with three roles: product owner, Scrum master, and development team.

 

Scrum Team Roles (Source: Scrum.org)

 

Hierarchies and sub-teams don’t exist in a Scrum team. Its team sizes are meant to be small to facilitate tight communication and quick decision-making.

Product Owner

The product owner in a Scrum team owns the product roadmap. She articulates the vision the team should be working towards and writes down the requirements that the final deliverable needs to accomplish. Product owners need to define priorities based on the client’s business priorities and customer feedback to ensure focus. 

Scrum Master

A Scrum master oversees the implementation of Scrum processes so the team can maximize its benefits. Throughout the project, the Scrum master assists in analyzing situations to help the Scrum team evaluate which ceremony needs to be done. They protect the team from sudden external stakeholder requests and other impediments to ensure that the development team can stay focused on the tasks and not on new demands that may derail their progress.

Scrum masters facilitate Scrum events such as the daily standup, sprint planning, sprint reviews, etc. They also handle training for new and seasoned employees to help them learn and implement Scrum principles and maintain smooth workflows.

Development Team

A Scrum development team comprises self-managing team members with different expertise. There is no hierarchy within a development team; each member is expected to collaborate and contribute insights to fulfill product objectives and solve issues.

 

Basic Terminologies In Agile Scrum

Sprints

To deliver incremental work, the Scrum team divides its work periods, also called scrum phases, into scrum sprints, usually lasting between one to four weeks. In each sprint, a team commits to fulfill sets of product requirements and submits them as working and testable deliverables.

Each deliverable offers value, and every following deliverable is meant to push the product closer to its shippable state.

 

User Epics And Stories

The product requirements for a Scrum project are formatted in terms of user epics and user stories. The main difference between the two is that user stories can be accomplished within sprints, while user epics need several user stories to be done.

This is how a user epic or user story is written:

As a/the [user role], I want to [product capability] so that [user benefit].

For example, imagine you’re working on a press event for a newly launched makeup brand. Here’s how a user epic and its related user stories might look like, along with features the event might have to fulfill them:

EPIC

USER STORIES

EVENT FEATURE/S 

 

As a beauty/lifestyle blogger, I want to film and document exclusive and exciting experiences with the newly-released product line so that I can strengthen my brand and increase my followers.

As a beauty/lifestyle blogger, I want to be associated with my fellow beauty/lifestyle bloggers so that we can have potential collaborations.

Star-studded guest list

 

As a beauty/lifestyle blogger, I want to have product samples I can take home so that I create thorough and entertaining product reviews.

Attendee goodie bags

 

As a beauty/lifestyle blogger, I want to be in an Instagrammable venue so that I can populate my Instagram page.

Aesthetic venue with great lighting for Instagram

 

Scrum teams are self-managing teams. This means they solve problems themselves, and it’s up to them to think of the best features to allow the product to accomplish what it’s supposed to. Because of this, product requirements are formatted in terms of outcomes instead of tasks.

 

Backlog

A backlog is a list of user stories that must be accomplished to complete the sprint or product requirements. There are two kinds of backlogs: a product backlog and a sprint backlog.

Product backlogs are all the user stories for the product as a whole. These are created and prioritized by the product owner. Sprint backlogs are the user stories that must be accomplished within the sprint. The responsibility for developing and implementing the sprint backlog falls on the whole Scrum team, not just the product owner.

 

Sprint Planning & Sprint Review

Sprint backlogs are done before a sprint begins in a ceremony called sprint planning. After each sprint, deliverables are presented by the Scrum team and evaluated by the product owner. This is called the sprint review. Findings from the Sprint review affect the subsequent sprint backlog.

 

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Retrospective

While reviews focus on the product and deliverables, retrospectives are done to evaluate and spot improvements in the team’s work processes and relationships. The Scrum master facilitates this.

There are two types of retrospective meetings: product retrospective and sprint retrospective. A product retrospective evaluates the product development and release process as a whole. Meanwhile, the scope of the sprint retrospective is limited to a specific sprint.

 

Daily Standup

To help a Scrum team stay focused and collaborative, daily standups are short daily meetings that last no longer than 15 minutes.  This is attended by the development team (and facilitated by the Scrum master) where each team member answers the following questions:

  • What did I do yesterday?
  • What will I do today?
  • What are the issues/impediments that I’m facing?

The meeting is done standing up so the discomfort will incentivize members to provide brief updates.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What does Scrum mean?

Scrum is not an acronym for anything. It’s inspired by “Scrum” in the sport, Rugby. Scrum in Rugby happens when teams gather to restart the game after a minor violation. In the agile Scrum project methodology, this gathering is similar to the sprint planning and daily stand-ups where teams meet to restart their successive work periods.

 

Does a Scrum Team have a project manager?

Because of the self-organizing nature of Scrum teams, project managers are not necessary for this framework. There is no Scrum project manager. However, many mistake Scrum masters as project managers. Strictly speaking, though, that’s not the case. Scrum masters are solely responsible for facilitating Scrum processes. Task management and ensuring productivity are up to the development teams.

 

What is the difference between Agile and Scrum?

Agile project management is a project management philosophy advocating for iterative submissions. This is the opposite of the traditional waterfall methodology, which focuses on documentation and linear progression.

Scrum is a project management methodology that applies Agile project management principles. It’s a system that project teams can use to facilitate iterative submissions in an organized way.

So when you ask, “what is Agile Scrum?,” the answer is that it’s an iterative approach to project management that applies Scrum principles or agile project management with Scrum. And when you ask, “what is Scrum in Agile,” it’s a specific implementation of the Agile philosophy. The Scrum definition or Scrum meaning is essentially the same as “agile Scrum.”

 

Wrapping Up

To implement Scrum, you'll need a self-organizing Scrum team and consistent discipline to execute Scrum ceremonies.

Customer feedback and user experience are central for marketing projects to be successful. The Scrum project management methodology can be an excellent option to ensure that you're evaluating your product at every step and you're ready to adjust in case they don't resonate with your audience the way it should.

 

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