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What is Scrum?

A Better Way Of Building Products

Scrum Guide CoverScrum is a framework within which people can address complex adaptive problems, while productively and creatively delivering products of the highest possible value.

Scrum is a lightweight framework that helps people, teams and organizations generate value through adaptive solutions for complex problems. Scrum co-creators Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland have written The Scrum Guide to explain Scrum clearly and succinctly.  This Guide contains the definition of Scrum. This definition consists of Scrum’s accountabilities, events, artifacts, and the rules that bind them together. 

In a nutshell, Scrum requires a Scrum Master to foster an environment where:

  1. A Product Owner orders the work for a complex problem into a Product Backlog.
  2. The Scrum Team turns a selection of the work into an Increment of value during a Sprint.
  3. The Scrum Team and its stakeholders inspect the results and adjust for the next Sprint.
  4. Repeat


Scrum Glossary

The Scrum Glossary is meant to represent an overview of Scrum-related terms.  Some of the mentioned terms are not mandatory in Scrum, but have been added because they are commonly used in Scrum.  

To learn more about the Scrum framework, to identify which of these terms are required elements of Scrum and to understand how the mentioned elements are connected, we highly recommend that you reference The Scrum Guide.  To learn more about terms specific to software development teams using Scrum and agile software development techniques, reference the Professional Scrum Developer glossary.


The Scrum Framework

Scrum is simple.  It is the opposite of a big collection of interwoven mandatory components. Scrum is not a methodology. Scrum implements the scientific method of empiricism. Scrum replaces a programmed algorithmic approach with a heuristic one, with respect for people and self-organization to deal with unpredictability and solving complex problems.  The below graphic represents Scrum in Action as described by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland in their book Software in 30 Days taking us from planning through software delivery.  

The Scrum Framework Poster

 
An Introduction to the Scrum Framework

This short video provides a simple overview of Scrum, allowing viewers to learn about the roles, artifacts and events and how they come together to deliver a product to market.

 

Learn about the latest version of the Scrum Guide release in November 2020

This series of articles and videos discuss the Scrum Guide, changes made since the previous release and provides great insight into Scrum as a whole.


The Scrum Values

Although always considered to be a part of Scrum and often written about, in July 2016, the Scrum Values were added to The Scrum Guide.  These values include Courage, Focus, Commitment, Respect, and Openness.  Read the Scrum Guide to learn more about these values, how they apply to Scrum and download this poster. 

Scrum Values Poster


The Scrum Team

The fundamental unit of Scrum is a small team of people, a Scrum Team. The Scrum Team consists of one Scrum Master, one Product Owner, and Developers. Within a Scrum Team, there are no sub-teams or hierarchies. It is a cohesive unit of professionals focused on one objective at a time, the Product Goal.


Where Does Your Current Role Fit?

Watch this webinar on The Truth About Job Titles in Scrum to learn more about how roles have evolved and where you may fit.

Scrum defines three accountabilities, the Product Owner, Scrum Master and Developer. But what happens if you have a different job title? It doesn’t mean that you are out of luck or out of a job, in most cases it means the exact opposite with your job expanding to deliver more value in the Scrum Team. So, where do you fit in Scrum?

In this webinar, Dave West, CEO and Product Owner of Scrum.org talks about the roles of Scrum and how the three roles relate to your existing job titles. He describes the future of work in the context of an agile delivery model and what the implications are to job descriptions and career progression.

 

The Scrum Events

Prescribed events are used in Scrum to create regularity and to minimize the need for meetings not defined in Scrum. All events are time-boxed. Once a Sprint begins, its duration is fixed and cannot be shortened or lengthened. The remaining events may end whenever the purpose of the event is achieved, ensuring an appropriate amount of time is spent without allowing waste in the process.  The Scrum Events are:


Scrum Artifacts

Scrum’s artifacts represent work or value to provide transparency and opportunities for inspection and adaptation. Artifacts defined by Scrum are specifically designed to maximize transparency of key information so that everybody has the same understanding of the artifact. The Scrum Artifacts are:


Professional Scrum

The Scrum framework is fairly simple being made up of a team with three accountabilities, who take part in five events and produce three artifacts. With Scrum, important decisions are based on the perceived state of the three artifacts making their transparency critical. Artifacts that have low transparency can lead to decisions that diminish value and increase risk. Transparency enables inspection and leads to greater trust among the team and others within the organization. Learn more about Professional Scrum.


Learn from the Community

There are over 100 books about Scrum on the market today, tens of thousands of papers, articles and presentations, but it all starts with The Scrum Guide.  The Scrum Guide was written and is maintained by the creators of Scrum, Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland and is considered as the Body of Knowledge for Scrum.

With over 500,000 members of our Scrum community, you can ask a question to the Forum and expect responses that will immediately help you.  Our community of Professional Scrum Trainers (PSTs) are experts in their field and are always writing Blogs which provide insights from their experiences working directly on Scrum Teams.  Articles, white papers, videos, webinars and other materials are often published by the community and available in the Resources section of the website and read other ways to learn about Scrum.