The Basics of Scrum, Sprints and Cycles

Posted by 110 Consulting on Tue, Sep 17, 2013 @ 08:09 AM

Scrum Sprint CycleNowadays, many Project Managers and Developers are using the Scrum framework for their large software projects. Using this proven methodology allows the engineering team to set clear expectations about the scope of the project and timelines, enables the client to be predictable and plan training/readiness activities and provides transparency and accountability to all sides.

Scrums success is built on its simplicity and repeatability where everyone is accountable to each other on a daily basis. This gives very little room for projects and people to get misguided when their are deadlines to adhere to.

What Makes Up A Scrum Team?

The Scrum Team typically consists of:

  • Stakeholders: Executives and/or the client's designated representative(s) as well as a representative from the developing/service side.

  • Product Owner: The person on the client's side who typically makes the final decision on features and prioritization for the project.

  • Scrum Master: The Technical Program Manager represents the client, gathers and validates business requirements and manages expectations for the Product Owner and Stakeholders. He/she is also the scrum master for the daily standup call where the team reports to each other “what I did yesterday, what I plan to do today and what impediments I have”. Items not related are tabled until all team members report, then a general discussion of tabled items, requirement clarifications or support items occur.

  • Engineering Team: Dedicated hired staff consisting of design, user interface, wed service and database engineers with an embedded Quality Assurance analyst. 

What Is A Sprint?

A Sprint is a grouping of features to be delivered at a date milestone. Each Sprint consists of the following:

  • Sprint Planning (4-6 hours): Conducted at the start of each sprint, the prioritized Product backlog is reviewed and the next sprints features are selected. Once selected, each items tasks are itemized (including design, develop, text and documentation time), missing requirements clarified. Items from the previous retrospective are then discussed for improvement action planning.

  • Sprint Execution: (typically 10 days over two weeks)

    • Daily Standup (15-20 minutes)

    • Daily Discussion (following Standup, 0-30 minutes)

    • Design Discussion (ad hoc, usually 4-8 hours a sprint)

    • Sprint Review: Scrum improvement process that asks the team to evaluate their performance, selecting and discussing “what went well” and “what can be improved”, then voting to prioritize an action plan to address/accentuate the top 3 from each group.

Steps In the Sprint Cycle

  • Product Backlog is built based on discussions with the client about features and functionality

  • Sprint Backlog is created based on a logical grouping of items in the Product Backlog

  • Sprint Planning is conducted by the engineering team to rationalize Items

  • Daily Standup is held to facilitate development and open discussion of progress and issues

  • Product Increment is demonstrated to the client for review and feedback every two weeks

  • Sprint Review is held to discuss and improve delivery

For a more detailed look at Scrum methodology, download a free copy of our "What You Need To Know About Implmenting Scrum" white paper.

Implementing Scrum

Tags: application development, project management, scrum, software delivery

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