To understand the idea of the scrum team, you must first understand Agile. Agile is a philosophy for software development; agile because the system is designed to iterate quickly and iterate often, in order to respond to stakeholder needs.
Scrum is an Agile framework, a software development approach based on Agile principles and philosophy. The Agile manifesto defines the business value of these methodologies and principles and, of its 12 points, 4 are key to understanding the scrum team:
- Privilege “individuals and interactions over processes and tools.” Don’t linger long between ideation and product launch. If process is allowed to direct product development, a development team will always be slow to respond to changes and realtime customer needs.
- Early and continuous delivery of working software is a primary measure of progress. To better inform a software developer building a new function, streamline documentation by replacing codified or perhaps untimely data with user stories.
- Stakeholder collaboration over contract negotiation: The customer who collaborates throughout the development process, face-to-face, makes it easier for the development team to meet the client’s business needs.
- Simplicity and the Definition of Done: Develop the software just enough to get the job done as needed right now. Frequent iterations make room for additional changes and improvements
The Agile coach
The Agile coach trains a corporate Agile team to use Agile methodology. The coach guides and encourages these new teams through the implementation process. Our team at Leadership Tribe are experts in Agile and Scrum training, and can provide online courses for your business or for that matter anyone looking to learn more about Agile & Scrum.
Scrum is a framework that helps teams work together, not unlike a rugby scrum. Often marked as an Agile Scrum project framework, the scrum encompasses a defined set of meetings, tools, professional roles, and professional values. Scrum values and collaborative scrum team roles encourage members to learn through experience, self-organize while working on a problem, and collectively reflect on their wins and losses in order to improve performance and move forward.
An Agile project management framework, scrum is used by coached teams to quickly respond and adapt to any change or impediment to project needs. Face-to-face meetings, an essential part of all scrum team communications, allow team members to actively engage in a professional creative process that doesn’t rely upon stupefying quantities of e-mail and little human contact.
The scrum team develops each feature separately and, as soon as that feature is ready, presents it to the customer. The team then applies feedback from the customer to that product and moves on to other product features. Breaking down a project into small development cycles lets the entire team benefit from this continuous user feedback. Note that the customer is actively involved in this development process, often attending daily scrum meetings, and the final software product is of higher quality because it’s developed with their needs always in mind.
The scrum team includes three entities: development team, scrum master, and product owner. Scrum teams are usually smaller and more experienced than designated Agile teams and they tend to be more self-sufficient. The scrum master acts as coach rather than project manager.
The scrum itself consists of fewer than 9 people. For a large project, the ideal whole team size is 7: the product owner, the scrum master, and 5 developers. The smallest scrum projects usually include 4 team members: the product owner, the scrum master, and 2 developers. Outside professionals are often consulted, but there are no sub-teams.
The scrum framework is based on continuous learning and adjustment to new or changing factors. The scaffolding of the scrum framework includes all the sequential events and meetings that scrum team members regularly perform, and the face-to-face meetings that include the team and stakeholders. Note that sequential events include sprint planning and sprint review meetings, daily scrum meetings, and sprint retrospectives, or reviews.
Scrum Development team
Developers on the scrum team create the plan for every sprint, all increments, and for the sprint backlog. Cross-functional development teams may also engage with skill sets testers, designers, UX specialists, and operating system engineers. Each day, development team members meet to adapt their plan to fit the direction of the sprint goal that marks the current end of the sprint. With broad-based skills and practical experience, developers pace this process by keeping an eye always upon the Definition of Done.
Now, back to the sprint: The sprint has been described as “a container for all other events,” which facilitates the transparency the scrum process requires. Sprint planning for each event is a formal opportunity for the development team to inspect and adapt scrum artifacts, including:
- Product backlog: items completed in the current sprint to be integrated with those from the previous sprints.
- Sprint backlog: items from the product backlog list selected for an upcoming sprint. It includes a plan to deliver the increment and achieve the sprint goal.
- Product increments: the deliverables ready at the end of each sprint.
Failure to operate the sprint planning meeting, the sprint itself, or the sprint review as prescribed in the scrum framework interferes with development team process and creates a need for unplanned meetings. Scrum events like the sprint are a clearly defined and essential part of scrum project management, and the scrum team works most productively within that framework.
The Scrum Master is responsible for establishing the scrum as defined in the Scrum Guide. The first and most powerful benefit from having a scrum master on a team is that they provide ongoing access to someone who has used Agile and scrum in another setting. They act as process leader, helping the new team implement scrum values as they coach members on the parameters and techniques of the scrum process, including self-management and cross-functionality.
The scrum master role requires that they help the product owner to:
- define product goals and product backlog management
- assist the scrum team in producing concise product backlog items
establish empirical product planning
- facilitate stakeholder collaboration as requested or needed
The scrum master, also referred to as the servant leader, focuses the team on creating those essential increments, the deliverables, that rise to the Definition of Done.
The product owner is one person, not a group or committee. The product owner may also act as product manager, but not always. The product owner defines the direction and scope of a project, making sure that the product under development delivers maximum value to stakeholders and users. With a clear understanding of what the business and users need from the product, they communicate these needs to the scrum team. In addition, they maintain the product backlog list of work that needs to get done in order to move production along. Anyone wanting to change prioritization in the product backlog must first persuade the product owner, who may represent the needs of many stakeholders.