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In this lesson, we’re going to talk about “What is Scrum?” Scrum is so widely used

In this lesson, we’re going to talk about “What is Scrum?” Scrum is so widely used that

many people associate with Agile.

soda pop.

It’s like people saying “Coke” as a general name for

The purpose of this discussion is not to further confuse Scrum with the word “Agile”, but

to show Scrum as an example of how an Agile development process works. Please keep in mind that this is only an example and not the only way an Agile process can work. This is only a very general high-level over-view of Scrum. For those who would like to understand further detail about Scrum, some further detail is provided in another lecture.

Scrum is an iterative process that breaks up a project into 2-4 week “Sprints”. The important characteristics of a Scrum project are:

Each 2-4 Week Sprint is like a mini-project.

The goal is to produce a working increment of software that has been fully-tested at the end of each sprint. At the end of each sprint the Product Owner reviews and accepts the working software similar to a User Acceptance Test (or UAT) in a full scale project and the team does a retrospective to evaluate how well the process worked in that sprint (similar to a post-mortem in a full-scale project.

The word “Scrum comes from the team sport of Rugby

Because the work is broken up into 2-4 week sprints instead of spread out over a long period of time, the feedback loop is immediate and rapid learning can take place as the project progresses

There’s a popular stereotype that Agile projects do not use any process and are uncontrolled. That

There’s a popular stereotype that Agile projects do not use any process and are uncontrolled. That stereotype is also not accurate - most Agile projects use Scrum which is a very well-defined process. It’s a different kind of process – it is much more empirical

and adaptive rather than being rigid and prescriptive but it is a well-defined process.

It’s

important to understand the distinction between a “defined process” and an “empirical

process”

The Waterfall process and a number of other plan-driven processes use well-defined processes. • The process

The Waterfall process and a number of other plan-driven processes use well-defined processes.

The process doesn’t change significantly from one project to the next

It’s similar to a manufacturing process where you’re producing the same product

over-and-over again you want to control variation in the process to produce the same product every time

A defined process has the advantage of being predictable and providing control over changes in scope,

A defined process has the advantage of being predictable and providing control over changes in scope, schedule and costs

But its weakness is that it is can be inflexible and not work well in environments where

the requirements are uncertain and likely to change. The emphasis on control can also

create some unnecessary overhead

An empirical process like Scrum is based on continuous improvement and uses what is called an

An empirical process like Scrum is based on continuous improvement and uses what is

called an empirical process control model. The word “empirical” means based on

observation; and, in this context, it means that both the process and the result are

adjusted as needed based on observation throughout the process rather than remaining

fixed

Scrum provides a general process framework but it is a very general process framework that can be easily adapted to different kinds of projects and within a given project it is adaptive to projects with highly uncertain requirements.

In a Scrum project, changes to requirements are encouraged as the project progresses to maximize the business value of what is produced

The advantage of an empirical process like Scrum is that it is very adaptive to uncertain

The advantage of an empirical process like Scrum is that it is very adaptive to uncertain and changing requirements and it may also have less overhead and faster time-to- market

The disadvantage is that because changes are encouraged rather than limited, there is

less predictability over the costs and schedule of the project

A very important point, however, is that this is not an all-or-nothing choice between: • A

A very important point, however, is that this is not an all-or-nothing choice between:

A process that is totally planned and defined with rigid control, and

A process that is totally unplanned with no control

The right solution is generally between those two extremes and It is possible to create a

The right solution is generally between those two extremes and

It is possible to create a hybrid approach to achieve the best of both worlds and fit the approach to the nature of the project

In the next lecture, I’ve provided some more detailed background information on how Scrum works. That

In the next lecture, I’ve provided some more detailed background information on how

Scrum works. That lecture is optional and can be skipped by anyone who is already familiar with how Scrum works

Thanks for taking the time to do this lecture and I’ll look forward to working with you in the rest of the course.