Professional Scrum Competency: Understanding and Applying the Scrum Framework

Understanding and Applying the Scrum Framework IconUnderstanding and Applying the Scrum Framework allows teams and organizations to iteratively and incrementally deliver valuable products of “Done” working releasable software in 30 days or less. Successful use of the Scrum framework requires an understanding and application of the Scrum Values and the tenets of Empiricism to professionally delivery value to the organization while addressing the inherent complexity of product delivery. The Scrum framework consists of Scrum Teams and their associated Roles, Events, and Artifacts. Each of these components within the framework serves a specific purpose and are essential to Scrum’s success and usage. The rules of Scrum bind together the Roles, Events, and Artifacts, governing the relationships and interaction between them.

In the case of Scaling and scaled implementations of Scrum, minimizing cross-team dependencies and resolving integration issues are unique and critical challenges when multiple Scrum Teams are collaborating to deliver a product.

The Scrum Guide is the foundational body of knowledge for the Scrum framework and the Nexus Guide builds upon that foundation as the body of knowledge for the Nexus scaling framework.

Understanding and Applying the Scrum Framework provides a necessary foundation for building proficiency within the four additional Professional Scrum Competencies. Proficiency in this competency is relevant and required to effectively practice Scrum in any organizational role.

Key Focus Areas

Within each competency, a number of Focus Areas provide a more detailed view of the knowledge and skills you require to master that competency.  

Empiricism

A cornerstone to Scrum and Agile. A practitioner will be able to apply the concepts of the empirical process to the problems they encounter. That means they can describe problems in terms of learning, break problems down into the smallest increments that will generate valuable evidence, and execute in an empirical way. By learning and practicing the skills in this Focus Area, a practitioner will become an expert in the application of scientific methods to complex problems, understanding why and how to apply an empirical process. 

Scrum Values

For agility to thrive, the culture of the organization must support the fundamental concepts of agility. A practitioner will understand both the Scrum Values - Focus, Respect, Openness, Commitment, and Courage - and demonstrate that they can apply them in the reality of organizations whose values do not match those of Scrum. By living the Scrum Values and helping others to apply them, learners will create an environment where empirical process, self- organization, and continual improvement will be more successful.

Roles

The three Scrum roles of Product Owner, Scrum Master, and Development Team Member form the foundation for clear responsibilities and focus. In this Focus Area, the practitioner will understand the roles, their responsibilities, and also how to instantiate these roles in existing or new job titles. They will be able to describe the implications of these roles as they apply to existing HR practices and as they apply to self-organization that is reinforced by the role separation. 

Events 

To support the three pillars of Scrum - empirical process, empowered/self- organized teams, and continuous improvement - the Scrum framework describes 5 events. The Sprint, Sprint Planning, Daily Scrum, Sprint Review, and the Sprint Retrospective. All events are time-boxed and enable progress through adaptation and transparency. The practitioner will understand the events and be able to practice each event, but more importantly be able to apply these events in complex situations and at scale. 

Artifacts

The Scrum framework describes 3 artifacts. The Product Backlog, Sprint Backlog, and Increment. These artifacts provide the team with a minimal set of materials to plan, execute, and review the Sprint. The Practitioner will understand these artifacts and how to implement them in complex, real-world situations. They will also understand the relationship of these artifacts relative to other practices and techniques and how to integrate them into an organization's own process.

"Done"

The objective of each Sprint is to deliver a “Done” product increment. The Definition of Done (DoD) provides a way for the team to make what “Done” means transparent. In this Focus Area, the practitioner will be able to describe what a DoD is, apply it to their particular context, and understand how the DoD can be visualized and communicated within the organization. They will also be able to describe the implications of the necessary trade-offs and compromises required to deliver “Done” Product Increments within their organization.

Scaling

Scrum is designed to work at the team, product, and organization level. The practitioner will be able to apply Scrum in increasing levels of complexity and scale. They will be able to demonstrate when to scale and when not to scale and appreciate scaling practices and complementary frameworks that help organizations scale Scrum. The ultimate level of proficiency within this Focus Area is the ability to know what, and what not, to compromise in pursuit of a scaling approach by understanding the trade-offs and benefits of particular concepts and practices. Ultimately, the practitioner will demonstrate that they can scale Scrum and still keep its essential qualities of empiricism, self-organization, and continuous improvement. The practitioner should also be able to demonstrate the results of good scaling practices from both an organization and business perspective.

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