Scrum Pills


The Value Maximizer in Scrum

The Product Owner maximizes the value of the product by constantly collaborating with stakeholders.

He/She is responsible for maintaining the product backlog order by sequencing the items to best achieve company goals.

Product backlog items are constantly updated by the Product Owner who looks for the latest insights and market needs.

The Product Owner also ensures that the product backlog is visible, transparent and clear to everyone, inside and outside the Scrum team.

Keep in mind: transparency is important to understand what product features are completed and which are the ones the development team will work on.


The Scrum Master Is a Coach

A Scrum Master is a coach at organization level.

A Scrum Master is a coach who coaches the development team in executing Agile practices to complete the work the Product Owner prioritizes.

He/She coaches the Development Team to create high-value products.

In addition, he/she coaches the Product Owner about managing the Product Backlog to facilitate empiricism-based product planning and arranging the items so that the order can maximize overall value.

Keep in mind: the Scrum Master ensures that goals, scope, and product domain are understood by everyone on the Scrum Team.


A Mandatory Management Position

The Scrum Master ensures that the The Scrum Master ensures that the Scrum Team adheres to the Scrum rules, practices and values.

The Scrum Master serves the team by helping it to become self-organized and make daily decisions by itself.

Moreover, when a company starts adopting Scrum, the team can get a lot of external interruptions. The Scrum Master helps those outside the team to understand which of their interactions are helpful and which aren't.

Among the responsibilities of the Scrum Master is the task of coaching the Product Owner about the authority he/she has in deciding what the team should work on.

Keep in mind: the Scrum Master is a mandatory management position (he/she manages the Scrum framework implementation) that helps the team and the organization in adopting Scrum.


The Product Owner and The Scrum Master

Scrum is a risk reduction framework for building complex products.

Scrum mitigates the risks associated to the traditional project management approach by distributing the responsibilities of the Project Manager role among the three Scrum roles.

In addition, it is important to remember that the Product Owner and the Scrum Master are separated roles and should be played by different individuals.

In fact, assigning the two roles to the same person increases risk and reduces self-organization.

Keep in mind: to reduce risks and conflicts the Product Owner and the Scrum Master should be assigned to two different people.


Multiple Scrum Teams

In Scrum, there can be more than one team working on the same product.

Multiple Scrum Teams that work together on the same product use only one Product Backlog.

Each Product Backlog item is estimated by the Development Team during Sprint Planning and through a continuous process called Product Backlog Refinement.

In addition, the Product Owner assigns the business value for each Product Backlog item.

The Product Backlog items must be ordered by the Product Owner who chooses the best criteria to maximize the product value and work of the Development Team.

Keep in mind: Scrum does not prescribe any technique to measure the business value of the Product Backlog items.


The definition of "Done"

In Scrum, definition of "Done" is useful to provide clarity on the required work standard.

The definition of "Done" is defined by the Development Team and it does not have to be approved by Product Owner.

It contains information that can be used by teams to select items during Sprint planning.

It is also used to deliver increments of potentially releasable functionality each Sprint.

Keep in mind: definition of "Done" should contain conditions that are realistic to motivate the team and should not be set with the objective to make the Scrum Team's job easier.


The Product Backlog

In Scrum, the Product Backlog contains the product features that have to be developed.

Product Backlog is constantly refined by the Product Owner and Development Team.

The activity usually consumes no more than 10% of the capacity of the Development Team.

The objective is to identify what the product needs in order to be competitive and useful on the market.

Product Backlog refinement produces items which are “ready” to be selected for the next Sprint.

Keep in mind: Product Backlog refinement starts before the first Sprint and the Scrum Team decides how and when it is done.


The Technical Design

In traditional projects, the technical design is created before project development starts.

In these types of projects, clients are highly involved in the beginning. Their input is the requirements that are useful to create an upfront design.

In Scrum, Development Teams evolve the best design through continuous refactoring of initial designs.

The technical design evolves throughout the journey.

In fact, the Development Team needs to visualize at least a simple design in order to define the estimates.

Keep in mind: Scrum is a container framework within which it is possible to use engineering techniques.


Different Scrum roles

In traditional project management, beyond quality, communication etc, Project Manager manages scope, cost, quality and schedule.

In Scrum, the Product Owner manages the scope through the Product Backlog.

The Product Owner manages the cost of product features by putting them together in order to maximize the value produced by the Development Team.

He/She also keeps the estimated time updated on the features in order to forecast the schedule and completion timelines.

Keep in mind: in Scrum there is no exclusive role who manages project management activities. In fact, all these activities are distributed among the Scrum roles.


The Development Team

In traditional project management, when a new project starts the Project Manager creates plans based on predicted work.

Then, he/she monitors and controls these plans till the end of the project.

This is also true for the staffing plan: the Project Manager creates the plan and then monitors the utilization of the resources throughout the project by adding or removing resources when required.

In Scrum, staffing complexity are avoided by using a constant team for the whole journey: 3 - 9 Developers, a Product Owner and a Scrum Master.

Moreover, the Development Team is self-organized and this eliminates the necessity for any manager to map its work.

Keep in mind: Scrum does not require any exclusive staffing plan. There is only an initial staffing that is maintained throughout the journey.


The Container Framework

Scrum is not a process or methodology, it is a framework that allows the delivery of products of the highest possible value.

It has a structure that enables a simple but effective way of working together towards a focused goal.

A team within an industry sector can choose to use specific processes within Scrum (e.g. extreme programming, test driven development etc).

Keep in kind: Scrum is a container framework that can include any specific process or technique according to the industry sector.


The Theory of Empiricism

In Scrum the team respects the fact that the future cannot be predicted.

Empiricism helps people to face uncertain and complex problems.

It is also important to obtain clarity and refine the product.

In fact, each iteration is an opportunity to solve a problem and gain more clarity.

Keep in kind: each Scrum event implements the theory of empiricism by offering an opportunity to get early feedback.


The Product Owner

In product development, it is very common to have product features batched together and delivered to production in one or two big limited releases.

By acting this way companies treat all product features as having the same value with no consideration for time.

Scrum has a business role that is responsible for keeping the product features ordered: the Product Owner.

The Product Owner ensures that the team works on higher value features first.

In fact, by using the feedback acquired from the market and from other sources, the Product Owner can change the order of product features in order to maximize the business value delivered by the product.

Keep in mind: The Product Owner maximizes the value of the product and the work of the development team.


No Project Manager

Scrum does not have a team leader role like the Project Manager.

At the same time, project management activities are distributed among different Scrum roles.

One of these roles is the Scrum Master.

The Scrum Master manages the implementation of Scrum in the organization.

In detail, the Scrum Master helps all people in the organization to understand Scrum theory, rules, values and much more.

Keep in mind: the Scrum Master is not just a coach, he is responsible for promoting and supporting Scrum as defined in the Scrum Guide.