Here at Apiumhub, we've been using agile methodologies for quite a while now. More and more, we see that many people in the web development industry are also considering switching to Agile. Getting a good start involves getting a good understanding of Scrum Sprints. It's important to know that we usually talk about scrum and kanban but let's focus on scrum today.
What Is Scrum?
Scrum methodology is an iterative and incremental framework of software development in Agile that was created to help teams manage the development process. Although it is mainly used in the software industry, it can also be used in many other industries. What is great about Agile Scrum is that it emphasizes collaboration, working software, and flexibility to adapt to change.
Transparency, inspection, and adaptation are keywords when you talk about Agile Scrum. Process, workflow, and progress are indeed always visible! In fact, teams have regular meetings (physical or online) with all members. Communication is highly encouraged, enabling the team to self-organize. The team is usually composed of around seven people, each one having a different role. The idea is that the team works in short activities called Sprints where inspection and reviews are very important. The focus is mainly on continuously improving the processes and product itself.
There are a couple of main roles within the team.
The Product Owner represents the customer. He or she always has to have a vision of what needs to be built. One of the Product Owner's main roles is to express this vision and make it clear to the Scrum team. The Product Owner is the one who owns the product backlog and who prioritizes the orders of the items but doesn’t choose how much will be done or how it will be done during the Sprint.
The Scrum Master helps the Product Owner and the team understand their common objectives and assists them when it comes to the planning how to achieve these goals. He or she is an advisor and a coach for both parties and has to ensure that the team will reach its Sprint goals. As the team is self-organized, the Scrum Master has to stay neutral and doesn’t really have an authority what so ever.
Scrum Team Members
The team is self-organized and its members are responsible for completing the user stories that were set, always ensuring that value will be added to the product. One of the members' tasks is to give estimates for each Sprint and to decide how the work will be done.
Agile Scrum Sprint Explanation
The first thing you should know is that the Scrum Sprint is a work cycle that is regular and repeatable. We finish the work that we determined in the beginning of the process, making it ready to be reviewed. Although a Scrum Sprint is usually 30 days long, we prefer doing these iterations in two weeks. During each one of our Sprints, we create a product that is shippable. It can be very basic, and it’s not an issue. In fact, the idea is to deliver something that works, because let’s be honest — in two weeks time, you can’t put in all the functionalities.
The idea is to start with little, but to still have the essentials. In a way, this also gives a good view of the progress to the client. Unless the project is very short and basic, the final product will be done in more than one Sprint. So, every time we start a new Sprint, we are working and doing iterations on the last one that was done.
Sprint Planning Meeting
All Sprints should start with a meeting where the team discusses, plans, and organizes the Sprint. They first start by setting goals and determining what will be the deliverables for the Sprint. The team identifies the user stories that will be moved from the Product Backlog (a cumulative list of deliverables for the product) into the Sprint backlog (a to-do list for the Sprint). Basically, the team decides what will be done and how will it be done. Keep in mind that work shouldn't be added to the Sprint once it has started. Also, if something hasn’t been done by the end of the Sprint, we just need to pass it to the backlog and prioritize it.
Daily Scrum Meeting
The day starts with the daily Scrum meeting, a brief meeting where the team members do a checkup to help solve problems. They talk and see how everything is going, what has been done, what will be done during that day, and discuss any problems that have been encountered. It is also called the standup.
Scrum Sprint Review
The Scrum Sprint review marks the public end of the Sprint. Every stakeholder should be present during the meeting and the team should get the chance to talk about the user stories that could not be completed (if there are any). They then can show the work done. From the other side, the Product Owner can see the improvements done to the product.
During this phase, feedback is very important. Remember: This is not a meeting where decisions are made; that happens during the Sprint planning meeting.
As I mentioned earlier, the Scrum Sprint review is the public end of the Sprint. However, for the team, at the end of each Sprint, the retrospective meeting is what marks their end. The team has a meeting to share what has worked and what hasn’t worked. How can processes be improved? The idea is to find one to two new strategic changes to apply to the next Sprint.
Hopefully, with this article, you now have a better understanding of how Scrum Sprints work and how it is a feedback-oriented approach. I really believe that this way of working helps avoid huge problems and adapts much more to the customer’s needs.