Credit: darkmatter on flickr
This is the first post of a series on Scrum, focusing on real-world implementation in an average small software company.
As part as our switch to Scrum, I have read a number of articles and watched a dozen hours of conferences. From this I’ve created this compilation, I could call "Scrum Essentials", that I’ve used to introduce Scrum to people before doing a short and condensed hands-on training.
So I’ve decided to share it.
Introducing Agile and Scrum
I would propose to start with those 2 conferences by Scrum’s inventors:
And this slide deck, explaining the differences between agile and waterfall approaches, why it works and how to implement it: Introduction to Scrum by Simon Baker.
About the Backlog
The product backlog is a high-level document for the entire project. It contains broad descriptions of all required features, wish-list items, etc. It is the "What" that will be built. It contains rough estimates, usually in "story points" or days.
At the start of each sprint, the Team choose with the PO which items will go into the Sprint Backlog, refining their estimate and breaking stories into smaller items/tasks.
And for teams, like ours, that need to work on several projects, here are some interested thoughts and processes (that we actually use, by the way):
About User Stories
User stories are describing the system’s behaviors from users’ point of view.
This is typically what the PO will write to allow the Team to code the software. It is critical to master this aspect to get a good Scrum.
Which is nicely completed by Writing contracts for agile development when fixed-priced projects and requirements have to be assessed initially. We use this to estimate & scope projects alongside Agile Specs, see: Agile Specifications: is it an hoax? and Nokia Test: Agile Specifications.
You might also want to read the posts of Mike Cohn on User Stories to get practical answers.
About Planning & Estimating
User story estimation and planning is key to any agile team. And it might be very confusing for traditional Project Managers becoming Scrum’s Product Owners (PO).
Mastering the art of agile planning is really core to a successful Scrum implementation (and can be done in steps).
You can watch the conference "Agile Estimation" by Mike Cohn @ Agile 2008: part 1 – part 2.
About migrating to agile for a company
And last but not least, maybe more targeted at executive, wondering how to migrate their processes to Agile / Scrum: ADAPTing to Agile: A Guide to Transitioning
And some interesting blogs to read
That’s all for the essentials. I would love to get feedback if you think I should add something or if you know some hidden treasures. Or if you try them
I’ll post more about our switch to Scrum and our implementation details in the following weeks.
Hope it helps,