First impression of SCRUM

Last week I got the opportunity to attend a course in becoming a CSM, i.e. a Certified Scrum Master. The course was given by a company named Crisp in Stockholm, and I think that Henrik Kniberg together with Jeff Sutherland did a great job in delivering what SCRUM really is and how it should be used.

So, what is SCRUM?

SCRUM is a framework that can be used to manage projects. It is not a methodology that states exactly how things should be done, but instead it is an agile way of working with development in any kind. It doesn’t have to be a project in the software industry since SCRUM is a tool for managing any kind of development.

So, how does it work?

A basic rule in SCRUM is that things that should be done must be time-boxed. What is the reason for this you might ask? Well, the time-boxing is there because if we time-box all the parts in the thing that we are building we will soon get a picture of how long time things really takes and by that we can predict when the whole will be done.

The heart of SCRUM is the Product Backlog which basically is a list of the things that we want to be able to do with our new system. Each "thing" in the Prodcut Backlog is called a story, or sometimes called a workitem, and is a specific function or feature in the thing we are building. When the Product Backlog is established and the stories are added to it, the Product Owner (I’ll get back to this person later in this posting) will soon have a complete list of whats important in the new system that is to be build, and this is really important. 

Roles in SCRUM

There are a number of important roles in SCRUM and each role is responsible for doing their thing.

  • The Product Owner is responsible for the Product Backlog, and this role is usually the customer or managers.
  • The SCRUM-team is a group of 5-7 persons ± 2 persons. The groups purpose is to take care of the stories that are to be done in each Sprint in the project.
  • The SCRUM-master is responsible for removing impediments, i.e. taking care of problems that hinders the SCRUM-team for doing their work.
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