What is Scrum Project Management? The Definitive Guide

What is Scrum Project Management? The Definitive Guide
Last Updated on October 3, 2021 by Adam Enfroy

Using product management software has become the norm for most organizations. Scrum is an agile project management methodology that can be used for any type of software, web, or mobile development.

Scrum, which is a rugby term (where it derives its name), promotes learning through experiences by encouraging organizations to put everything they've learned into practice.

The ability to work independently and self-organize while focusing on an issue allows experts to improve through reflection on their wins and losses.

Scrum is the framework that is the most used by developers, and through using this project management methodology, one can plan work, track progress, and complete projects successfully.

In this article, we will provide a definitive guide to Scrum and answer the most crucial common questions about this popular project management methodology.

Keep reading to learn more.

Table of Contents

What is Scrum Project Management?

Scrum is an iterative framework that works in a fixed increment and which lets you manage your projects in short cycles known as sprints.

A Scrum team works together to accomplish the work required for a project. Often a cross-functional team combines resources to make it happen.

What is Scrum Project Management?
Image Credit: http://pmi.org

The biggest idea behind Scrum is that it allows a team to build software through small, timeboxed iterations called sprints.

During each sprint, the team will plan and estimate all of its tasks based on a prioritized backlog. This way you'll always know the next steps and how much work is in front of you.

Using workflow management software, the Scrum process becomes iterative and allows for change and flexibility throughout the project lifecycle so that teams can respond to new challenges and opportunities. It’s based on transparency, inspection, and adaptation so that progress can be measured and issues resolved quickly.

There are four phases in a Scrum project:

1) Sprint Planning – Planning your next sprint goal

(2) Daily Stand-up Meeting – Quick updates on each team members' progress

(3) Sprint Review Meeting – Showing the results of the last sprint

(4) Sprint Retrospective Meeting – Analyzing what worked or didn't work during previous sprints and how to make improvements.

 four phases in a Scrum project
Image Credit: http://nutcache.com

A successful Scrum methodology will involve a self-organizing team that holds themselves accountable for completing tasks. Scrum ensures project success by challenging the team to deliver valuable results at regular intervals, enabling them to respond quickly to new opportunities and shifting requirements.

Why use Scrum project management?

Using Scrum methodology with an agile project management tool is something that can be applied to any type of business, any project team size, and for all types of products/projects. Scrum isn’t just used by software teams; it is also used in construction, development, manufacturing, and beyond.

Why use Scrum project management? Image Credit: http://insights.dice.com

Here are some reasons why you should use Scrum:

1) Projects finish faster

Your team will complete projects in half the time with reduced expenses through regular deliveries.

2) Scrum teams deliver higher quality results

The transparency and flexibility of Scrum mean more listening and collaboration between your team members, allowing them to build better products together.

3) Improved customer satisfaction

Customers will know what's going on every step of the way and will feel like their needs are being heard.

4) Improved team morale

Since Scrum encourages self-organization, individual autonomy, and transparency, your teams will feel more motivated. Productivity is higher when people are happy.

5) Easy to learn

Scrum is known for being simple enough that you can understand it in minutes, yet powerful enough to put it into practice immediately. There are plenty of resources available online to help you get started with Scrum.

6) Increase in project visibility

The concept of transparency at every step of the Scrum process gives managers better insight into each team member’s workload which makes future planning much easier.

7) Lowered risk of failure

Risk is reduced since Scrum methodology has no upfront design, instead of focusing on building a minimal viable product that can be released early to get your customer's feedback.

8) Simplified resource management

Since Scrum is flexible, you have less re-planning and meetings to go through for each stage of the project. Plus, Scrum teams use a variety of some of the best project management tools instead of expensive software suites. This means more money in the bank at the end of the day.

9) Reduced time to market

You’ll have a shorter time frame between release cycles which gives you more chances to innovate and stand out from competitors in an increasingly competitive digital world.

10) Higher return on investment (ROI)

Your team will complete projects faster with higher quality results when using Scrum which means you get more results for less money.

How to implement a successful Scrum team methodology in your organization?

Scrum works best when your organization is ready to embrace the change, so it’s better not to try and force Scrum upon your team. Here are some guidelines for the successful implementation of Scrum.

1) Educate your managers

Managers play a key role in successful Scrum implementation by giving their teams space to self-organize. They should be prepared with the tools necessary to support their team as well as an understanding of Scrum methodology.

2) Ensure cultural readiness

Everyone on the project must understand the goal from day 1 because, without buy-in from all members of your organization, you won't have a successful end product.

3) Identify a single product owner

There needs to be one product owner for the project who is responsible for prioritizing work and ensuring that everyone understands what's needed by the customer.

4) Identify key team members (Scrum master, developer, tester)

Your Scrum team should consist of developers, testers, and a Scrum master; these people will be responsible for facilitating meetings, writing code, and testing your product. Make sure you identify the most appropriate person to take on each role early on – this way you'll have a successful Scrum project off the ground faster.

scrum master vs project manager

5) Start with small sprints

Sprints are time-boxed periods of work where your team focuses on achieving specific goals within your project. At first, it’s best to start with one-week sprints that enable you to break the work down into smaller pieces.

6) Hold daily Scrum meetings

Ensure that you hold the daily Scrum – these are short meetings that are held every day so everyone knows what they're working on and where their project is at.

7) Gradually introduce new members to your team

If you introduce too many people at once, there will be confusion about who's doing what. So make sure you slowly add key players like QA analysts or UI designers as you scale.

What is Scrum Project Management – FAQ

What does Scrum stand for?

Scrum stands for a flexible, iterative, and highly productive Agile framework that allows you to build complex products such as software. It is a methodology that gives your team the freedom and responsibility of completing projects in a self-organized manner.

Instead of committing to fixed phases and timeframes, Scrum starts with monthly sprints where teams can deliver working products regularly. It's also particularly effective when other project management methods seem to be breaking down.

What does Scrum stand for?

This means they can adapt more easily to changing market conditions by adding or removing features without needing approval from their managers. Plus, since they know exactly what the team needs are and what needs to be done by the end of the sprint, developers can organize themselves around the project.

What is the difference between Scrum and agile?

Agile is a wide range of methods that all revolve around iterative development. It allows teams to constantly adapt their processes as they make progress on a project.

It focuses heavily on communication among team members, who organize themselves into self-managed, self-organizing units called squads or feature teams that can function autonomously.

Scrum is one way how an Agile methodology can be implemented; it consists of time-boxed sprints that deliver working software every month. It has clear roles for product owners, developers, testers, and Scrum masters which encourages accountability among team members.

The product backlog is prioritized by the product owner before each sprint allowing them to steer the direction of development based on conditions. Because testing isn't done until after the sprint is complete, teams build in quality from the start.

What are the 6 Scrum principles?

These are the principles that teams need to adapt to be successful when using Scrum:

1) The highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.

2) Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer's competitive advantage.

3) Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference for the shorter timescale.

4) Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.

5) Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.

6) The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.

 6 Scrum principles

Is Scrum a project management framework?

Scrum is both a methodology and a framework that can be applied to any type of project or work scenario. It's an Agile process that embraces change and encourages communication throughout the entire product development cycle.

By following the Scrum framework you can deliver working products at regular intervals instead of committing to fixed phases and timeframes.

What does “time-boxed” mean?

Scrum doesn't have deadlines since projects are meant to adapt to change. Instead, it has time-boxes with strict time limits such as two weeks or one month for sprints. This makes it easier to organize your schedule to fit in project work around other responsibilities.

What are the Scrum roles within an agile project management framework?

There are three main roles in Scrum which can be filled by team members or outside stakeholders.

Product owner: This role is filled by the person who has ultimate authority over the product backlog. They also prioritize tasks for each sprint using their product vision and market conditions.

Developer: These people build working software every month via self-organized squads or feature teams.

Scrum Master: The Scrum master works directly with developers to improve processes, remove roadblocks, and help facilitate communication throughout the entire development cycle.

What is a “product backlog” and how does it work?

This is a prioritized list of features that need to be built into the product. It's constantly updated by the product owner and reviewed at sprint planning meetings where it's broken down into manageable tasks for each developer team.

Also, team members and stakeholders can collaborate and add their ideas to the product backlog throughout the entire development cycle.

How should a product backlog be managed throughout the project lifecycle?

The product backlog should be managed collaboratively by the team and product owner. Everyone can add, remove or edit items on the list whenever they see a change that needs to be made.

By prioritizing tasks at sprint planning meetings it ensures everyone is working toward a common goal through constant progress updates.

Good decision-making is critical and Scrum minimizes risk and wasted effort by placing a high importance on teamwork and transparency throughout the entire product development cycle.

What are user stories and how do they help with product backlog management?

These capture brief but comprehensive requirements from the user and business side of a project. They're used to execute agile Scrum projects and involve everything that needs to be included in an application such as performance levels, user interactions, and potential pitfalls.

User stories help product owners prioritize tasks throughout development by having them agree on what should be built first according to their overall vision.

scrum user stories

At the end of each sprint, the team can pick a few user stories to turn into working software for users to test. This ensures they're constantly providing valuable feedback about their product experience which is then used to better prioritize tasks on the product backlog.

What is Kanban?

Kanban is a Lean process that focuses on continuous delivery and the elimination of bottlenecks in software development projects. Tasks are divided into different categories such as “to do”, “in progress” and “completed.”

Work items can be moved from column to column throughout the development cycle with visual cues representing the stages to keep everyone up-to-date.

what is kanban?

What does the Waterfall model refer to?

This is an old-school approach to project management that promotes phased development with distinct milestones.

The Waterfall model ignores changes in requirements and doesn't allow developers to make incremental updates before the final stages. It's outdated for many reasons but still taught in some software engineering courses.

What are the most important Scrum keywords to understand?

Sprint planning meeting: This is where the Scrum master and product owner sit down with developers to prioritize tasks for each sprint.

Sprint backlog: This is a list of tasks the product owner has prioritized for each sprint. It's broken down into two categories: must-haves and nice-to-haves.

Agile software development: Agile is a philosophy and set of values rather than a specific development process. It emphasizes continuous improvement and working software over comprehensive documentation.

Self-organizing teams: having an entire team (or even multiple teams) that can work on separate features without the need for a traditional project manager. Each team member is responsible for making decisions about how to complete their tasks.

Certified Scrum Master: Someone who has taken an online training course and meets the requirements to become a certified Scrum Master.

Daily Scrum meeting: This is a time for developers to share what they completed yesterday and plan out their day via a stand-up meeting.

Scrum board: This is a board that displays the sprint backlog on one side and daily tasks on the other. It's useful for keeping track of time-sensitive tasks and to help facilitate communication.

Upcoming sprint: This is a time-boxed sprint that hasn't started yet.

Agile teams: The functionality of these teams is best when there are 5–9 people who work on a specific feature for each sprint.

Wrap Up

In conclusion, Scrum is a lightweight approach to project management that emphasizes team collaboration and task delegation.

By using the best task management software available in the market right now, Agile allows an organization to be more flexible than it would be using other traditional project management approaches.

Keep in mind that for this to work, buy-in from the entire organization as well as clear, concise requirements for each product backlog item.

Most importantly, Scrum is about continuous improvement throughout the development cycle so teams can adapt quickly to new information and produce working software every month.

Ultimately, delivering on client expectations is what counts, and Scrum makes it easier to make this happen.

Finally, if you’re an enterprise and want to ensure that you’re making the most out of your resources, check out this article on the best Enterprise Resource Planning software after you’re done with this article.