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Scrum Teams

A Scrum Team is a group of individuals working together to deliver high-value, quality products. The Scrum framework defines this team as self-organizing and cross-functional, meaning the team is responsible for determining the best way to accomplish their work, and they have all the competencies needed to do so. 

Scrum Teams are built around the principles outlined in the Agile Manifesto, which values individuals and interactions, working software, customer collaboration, and responding to change. 

Key Scrum Team Features

The typical size of a Scrum Team is usually between 3-9 people, not including the Scrum Master and Product Owner. This size is believed to promote better communication, efficiency, and team dynamics. 

There are three distinct roles within a Scrum Team:

  1. Product Owner (PO): The Product Owner is responsible for maximizing the product’s value and the development team’s work. They manage the product backlog, ensuring the team works on the highest priority items. They are responsible for the product vision and must be available to answer questions from the development team about requirements.
  2. Scrum Master (SM): The Scrum Master ensures that the team adheres to Scrum principles and practices. They facilitate team meetings, remove impediments that are blocking the team, and coach the team on self-organization and cross-functionality. The Scrum Master also works with the Product Owner to manage the product backlog effectively.
  3. Development Team: This group is responsible for delivering potentially shippable increments (PSIs) of the product at the end of each sprint (the sprint being the time-boxed period within which specific work must be completed and ready for review). They decide how to accomplish the work set forth by the Product Owner.

Key characteristics of a Scrum Team and their work include:

  • Collaboration: The team works together closely and communicates regularly to ensure everyone is on the same page and moving toward the same goals.
  • Cross-Functionality: The team possesses all the skills necessary to produce a working, shippable product increment.
  • Self-Organization: Rather than being directed by outside management, the team organizes itself and decides how to best accomplish its work.
  • Commitment to Quality: The team is committed to delivering a high-quality product that meets the needs of the customer.
  • Regular Reflection and Adjustment: Scrum teams regularly reflect on their processes (in sprint retrospectives) and make necessary adjustments to improve efficiency and effectiveness.

Origins of Scrum

Scrum was first introduced in the 1980s by Hirotaka Takeuchi and Ikujiro Nonaka to improve product development processes. Instead of viewing product development as a relay race, they introduced a holistic approach that treats it more like a game of rugby, where the ball gets passed within the team as they head towards a common goal. 

This concept of team-based development originates from the name “Scrum,” which refers to a formation in rugby where players pack closely together to get possession of the ball. Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland further refined and formally presented Scrum as a development methodology in the early 1990s.

The Scrum Framework

The Scrum framework is designed to address complex adaptive problems while delivering high-quality products. Scrum uses an iterative, incremental approach to optimize predictability and control risks. The Scrum framework consists of Scrum Teams and their associated roles, events, artifacts, and rules. 

Events are used in Scrum to create regularity, minimize the need for meetings not defined in Scrum, and include the sprint itself, sprint planning, daily Scrum, sprint review, and sprint retrospective.

Artifacts in Scrum are designed to maximize the transparency of key information and include the product backlog, sprint backlog, and the increment. 

Scrum’s Influence on Agile Development

The Scrum framework is a key pillar of agile development, a methodology that values adaptability and collaboration over strict processes and plans. Agile development, including the Scrum framework, arose as a response to the limitations of traditional, linear development methods like Waterfall.

Agile is characterized by its emphasis on individuals and interactions, working software, customer collaboration, and responding to change – principles that are all central to the Scrum methodology.

Scrum in Various Industries

While Scrum was initially developed for managing and developing products in the software industry, its principles, and lessons have been applied to various fields, including research, sales, marketing, and advanced technologies. Its flexible, team-based approach is conducive to projects where goals and scopes are likely to change or where innovation, speed, and flexibility are important.

As such, many non-tech industries have begun adopting Scrum methods to improve their project management processes.

Scrum Certification and Training

Scrum certification and training have become a staple in many professional development programs, especially for project managers and product developers. Various institutions offer Scrum training and certifications, like Certified Scrum Master (CSM), Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO), and Certified Scrum Developer (CSD).

These certifications validate one’s expertise in Scrum principles and practices and can enhance career opportunities in project management and product development.

Scrum in under 5 mins

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