Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Fast and Effective Scrum Tutorial for New Scrum Master and New Project Managers

This quick tutorial will introduce you and your company to utilizing the Scrum project management process.

Scrum is perhaps one of the simpler project management methods to learn and implement. In this guide, I will show you how to speak the language of Scrum and utilize this valuable management tool for your company.

Basic Scrum Vocabulary

Before being able to implement Scrum, it is important to be familiar with some key words in the the Scrum vocabulary.

Sprint- a 30-day focused effort moving the team toward fixed goals.

Product Backlog- a constantly prioritized to-do list.

Sprint Backlog- a list of the highest prioritized items from the product backlog.

Scrum Master- the coach for the product management team and works to ensure the realization of the goals of the sprint.

Product Owner- represents the customer and is responsible for prioritizing the backlog.

Scrum Team- a group of 5-9 people who self-organize and have joint responsibility for the completed tasks.

The Scrum Process

Now that basic vocabulary related to Scrum has been defined I will detail the Scrum process step-by-step.

1. Creating a backlog – in this step, the Product Owner and Scrum Team meet in order to discuss the priority and items on the Product Backlog. The Product Owner must be able to form the product vision. The Product Backlog then, is a prioritized list of what is required for the project and is ranked with regard to importance.

2. Once the product manager creates the backlog, then there will be a Sprint Planning Meeting. During the first phase of the meeting, the Product Manager describes to the team the goals of the project and explains the Product Backlog. During the second phase, the Scrum Team will select the items to be completed during the sprint from those with highest priority on the Product Backlog.

3. Once the items to be worked on have been selected, a potential Sprint schedule is constructed – taking into account the availability of the team members to devote their time to the project. The items in the Product Backlog are assigned and broken down into individual tasks. Once this occurs, this document is the Sprint Backlog.

4. The Sprint begins and lasts from 15-30 days. During the Sprint, no other tasks are added to the backlog.

5. Daily Scrum begins when the sprint begins. The Daily Scrum is a 15 minute stand-up meeting where each member of the team gives a very brief report to everyone else – what they accomplished since the last DailyScrum, what they hope to accomplish, and issues that have come up. Here, the Scrum Master will make note of issues and attempt to resolve them – after the meeting.

6. Sprint Review – once the Sprint ends, everyone gets together in a meeting to share what he or she accomplished during the sprint.

7. The process begins again with a new list of prioritized tasks on the Product Backlog.

While this is a very brief overview of the Scrum process, there is enough information here in order to begin implementing Scrum in your own company. The only temlaplates for running projects with scrum is Product BackLog and Sprint BackLog. You can plan resources, time and estimations of individual items from the Product BackLog with Microsoft Project or other planning tool.

Click here to read additional Project Management articles related to Agile methodology.

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