What is Scrum?
A framework within which people can address complex adaptive problems
The Scrum Framework
Scrum is a simple framework for developing complex products and services. It's been around for about 25 years and is commonly associated with software development but more recently is being used more and more by non-technical teams.
The framework consists of 3 artefacts, 5 events and 3 roles. Some of this will probably be familiar to you already, for example you'll probably have heard people who are referred to as "Scrum Masters" and teams working in Sprints.
If you want to understand what Scrum is then you can download the full Scrum Guide at www.scrumguides.org but we prefer to focus on why you should be using Scrum...
The Scrum Principles
Scrum is based around small cross-functional teams that are empowered to organise how they accomplish their own work.
This means that Scrum Teams don't have team leaders or lead developers and the team has shared responsibility for getting their work done.
Why? Because people are more productive, more creative and take more responsibility when they are empowered.
Scrum Teams share a vision for the product or service they are working on.
Why? Because they understand the business value of what they are trying to achieve they can collaborate to deliver maximum possible business value.
Scrum teams focus on delivering maximum business value, by prioritising work and then getting that work done.
It sounds simple. Obvious even. But most organisations are much more comfortable starting lots of work and appearing to be busy rather than making tough choices and getting things finished.
Why? Because teams are more productive if they can focus.
Scrum Teams work to fixed deadlines with variable scope, in other words they commit to delivering something of business value at regular and frequent intervals. They allow stakeholders to inspect progress at regular intervals.
Why? Time-boxing helps the team focus on delivering something of value and getting quick feedback from the people that actually matter... the customers.
Incremental and Iterative Delivery
Scrum teams deliver small chunks of done product frequently and look to inspect and adapt their progress.
Why? Because small projects are more successful than big projects and frequent feedback massively increases the chance of the customer getting what they actually want!
Empirical Process Control
Last but definitely not least, Scrum is based on the three pillars of Empiricism: transparency, inspection and adaptation. Meaning that the team is fully transparent with progress and problems, sharing a common language and understanding so they can inspect progress and adapt their plan and processes.
Why? Without real transparency then decision makers, the people who need to know the truth, are effectively being kept in the dark about the true state of the project denying them the opportunity to make changes.