What is Scrum?

Scrum is an agile working method that is primarily used in product development. It enables flexible, self-determined work without hierarchies. In this process, an interdisciplinary Scrum team organizes itself in order to be able to react spontaneously to changing requirements – such as new market conditions or customer requests. For this purpose, the final end product is broken down into small sub-products. The customer is regularly and closely involved in the entire development process. The goal of Scrum is the rapid and cost-effective development of marketable products, especially in a dynamic environment.

The Scrum Team and its roles

A Scrum team consists of a maximum of ten people. Within the team, there are three different roles that come with different responsibilities:

The up to eight developers are professionals from different disciplines. They work in a self-organized manner to implement the product.

The development team is supported by the Scrum Master. As a coach and organizer, he ensures that everything runs smoothly and provides support to everyone involved. He also makes sure that the Scrum rules are adhered to.

The product owner has the ultimate responsibility for the product: he determines what needs to be done and takes care to achieve the maximum value. To this end, he represents the interests of the customer, discusses requirements and expectations, and documents them.

What advantages does Scrum offer?

  • Few rules, easy to understand
  • Close customer involvement prevents undesirable developments.
  • High flexibility: Change requests and new findings can be taken up at any time and implemented promptly.
  • High effectiveness through self-organization
  • Small sub-projects with tangible results increase motivation in the team.
  • High transparency through regular meetings and documentation: All project participants know the current development status at all times.
  • Short communication channels and quick problem identification
  • Continuous improvement process through reflection

The typical process: This is how work is done in Scrum

The core of Scrum is formed by the so-called sprints: completed work phases of a maximum of four weeks, in which work is done on a partial goal or a specific product version. During this period, developers complete the predefined tasks – the way they do it is up to them. At the end of each sprint, the result is presented to the stakeholders (for example, the client), who provide feedback. In addition, a reflection of the work process takes place, the so-called retrospective. This is where the Scrum team meets and looks back : What worked well? Where is there need for improvement? Then the whole process starts again, a new sprint follows – until the final goal is reached.

For maximum transparency: the three artifacts

In Scrum there are three so-called artifacts. They represent the results of the work and should help to keep track.

Product Backlog: The ultimate to-do list

It is where the product owner writes all the product requirements. The product backlog is not fixed from the beginning. On the contrary, it is dynamic and is constantly being developed further in the Scrum process. It serves as a guideline for the development team for planning the next work steps.

Sprint Backlog: The concrete work plan

These are the to-do list for an upcoming sprint. For this purpose, specific requirements are selected from the product backlog to be implemented in the next sprint.

Product Increment: The demonstrable interim result

The intermediate product that exists at the end of a Sprint is called Product Increment. It includes all fulfilled requirements from the product backlog that were completed during the current and all previous sprints.

Origin story

The beginnings of Scrum can be traced back to two Japanese scientists. The US software developers Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber developed their ideas further and published the Scrum framework in the mid-90s. Both also publish the official Scrum Guide.

Scrum is mainly used in the IT sector. But more and more other industries are also adopting the agile concept and working successfully with it.