In order to dive deeper into the Scrum Master Methodology, we need to go over the framework in which they work, their main responsibilities, and all documents that they oversee and advise on during the process.
What is Scrum Methodology?
Scrum is a type of framework dedicated to developing, delivering, and maintaining more complex products. It focuses on software development but is used in other fields as well, such as research, sales, advanced technologies, and marketing. It is a lightweight framework that helps organizations and individuals to generate value through flexible & easy solutions for complex problems.
Scrum requires a Scrum Master to oversee and maintain the environment for development. This environment consists of a Product Owner and Developers, and the Scrum Master themselves.
Scrum is purposefully a simple framework which defines the parts required to implement the Scrum Theory. The success of the Scrum approach is built upon the people who are using it. More specifically – instead of immediately providing people with instructions, Scrum rules are meant to guide their interactions and relationships. Within these frameworks, there are a variety of different techniques, processes, and methods available.
Scrum is a multi-disciplinary methodology. It accounts for role overlap, which encourages a better understanding of roles played by all team members. It is built upon the framework of continuous feedback. That feedback then encourages better communication among team members. This is unlike the traditional Waterfall methodology, which has the disadvantage of breaks in communication. The Waterfall approach takes up a lot of time and does not take input from the team. It falsely assumes that the project will succeed if the project team members stick to the plan.
With Scrum, the planning fallacy is taken into account, and the Scrum Team gets the work done meticulously, in small chunks. This allows for immediate feedback and constant improvement during the project’s lifecycle.
Who uses the scrum methodology?
Scrum is the most popular agile methodology used by software development teams. Approximately 70% of software teams use Scrum or a Scrum hybrid method for project management. Scrum methods have also spread into other businesses types including IT and marketing. Other leadership teams also base their agile management practices on Scrum management, often combining it with Kanban and Lean practices, which are subgroups of agile project management.
What is the relationship between Scrum and agile project management?
Scrum methodology follows the principles of Agile, which is a set of values describing the group’s and team’s daily interactions and activities. Even though Scrum methodology follows the Agile principles, it also includes definitions regarding certain software development practices. Scrum became the preferred framework for agile project management, and is sometimes simply referred to as Scrum Project Management/Scrum Development.
What is special about the Scrum framework?
Scrum Project Management addresses the complexity in work by making it so teams can inspect and adapt easier, based on current conditions instead of predicted conditions. This, in turn, allows team members to address the downfalls of the traditional Waterfall Development Process. These include failures resulting from constant requirement changes, faulty time management, lack of resources, arguments, compromises on the software quality, and inaccurate progress reporting. With frequent inspection, disturbances can be detected early on and ensure that adjustments are made swiftly. The Scrum Inspections’ most common events are sprint planning, daily scrum, sprint review, and sprint retrospective.
The Scrum Team: The Scrum teams tend to have approximately 3-9 members, with no team leader handing out tasks and deciding problems resolution. The teams work as a community unit to decide how to address the problems that will arise, and how to solve them. Each team member is a crucial part of any solution, therefore every individual is a valuable contributor to the solution/ product.
There are, however, three important roles in a scrum team: The Product Owner, The Scrum Master, and The Development Team.
The Product Owner: The product owner is usually an internal/external team member responsible for managing the product’s progress and ensuring that the expectations meet reality in completed works. The Product Owner is tasked with leading the team to complete the customer’s vision of the final product. They work on team building, ensuring that everything goes smoothly.
The Scrum Master: The Scrum Master is directly responsible for communication with the Product Owner and a development team. They serve as the organization’s servant leader. The Scrum Master ensures that the team follows Scrum theory and adheres to its practices and values. They also protect the team from external factors and help team members perform at their highest levels. These activities include removing impediments, organizing meetings, and helping out with the backlog development alongside the Product Owner.
The Development Team: The Development Team is a self-organizing, cross functional group tasked with most responsibilities. They deliver shippable increments at the completion of each sprint. Scrum includes everyone who participates in the creation of the delivered increment. There are no titles in the development team, including the Scrum Master themselves – only the Development Team decides how to turn product backlog items into shippable increments.
The Sprint: The Spring is a time period that sets a date for when the specific work should be completed, prepared, and ready for review. Sprints tend to be approximately 2 weeks long but in few cases have extended up to 4 weeks.
The Sprint planning: The Sprint planning team meetings are time-boxed events during which team members decide which product backlog items will be delivered, when, and how they will be achieved. They occur at the start of a new sprint. Sprint Planning should last 2-4 hours per sprint, with standard sprints lasting 2-4 weeks.
The Daily Scrum Meeting: This is a short meeting, lasting around 15 minutes, during which each team member addresses their progress as quickly as possible, as well as any impediments that may be blocking their progress. In this way, the work and problem-solutions are planned ahead, before the next meeting.
The Sprint Review: This is a demonstration meeting. During this event, every team member presents the work they completed during the sprint. The Product Owner will check the work and decide if all is well and if anything needs to be changed before the work is 100% complete. Clients and Stakeholders will also give feedback during the meeting, ensuring the delivered increment meets the business need.
The Sprint Retrospective: This is the final team meeting in the Sprint, where the team needs to determine what went according to plan, what did not work, and how the team itself can improve in the future. The Retrospective is important because it gives the team a chance to focus on overall performance, identifying strategies for continuously improving for future projects.
Product backlog: This is the most important document of Scrum Management. It outlines requirements for the system, as well as projects/products. The Product Backlog can also be seen as a To-Do list, consisting of backlog work items that can create a deliverable product with business value. The Product Backlog is developed during the initial Scrum meeting and adjusted as necessary during the process.
Sprint backlog: This is a list of items taken from the product backlog and planned to be completed during a specific Sprint. It is not subject to change except in emergency circumstances.
Increment: The Increment consists of all completed product backlog items which were finished after the last software release. Even though it is up to the Product Owner to choose when and what Increment is released – in a best case scenario, it is the Development Team’s responsibility to ensure that everything that needs to be included in an Increment is ready for the next release.
And, what is the exact role of a Scrum Master?
After seeing how many cogs exist in Agile Scrum Methodology, it is easy to understand that someone needs to oversee and ensure that it functions as intended. This is especially the case in larger companies that work with multiple teams towards the same Sprint Goal. For those instances, pursuing a Scrum certification for Scaled Agile Framework – the SAFe® Scrum Master course – would be the ideal course of action to become a specialized professional. The training specializes in the role of the Scrum Master in a SAFe enterprise. For current Scrum Masters looking to expand their knowledge to scalable engineering, DevOps, agile architecture, and multi-team environments, The SAFe® Advanced Scrum Master course is another career advancing step.