What Is Scrum and Why Use It? (With Key Values and Benefits)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published May 13, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Scrum is a process framework that allows individuals, teams, and companies to better manage software product development. Scrum uses adaptive solutions to solve complex problems and encourages teams to learn through experience and reorganize and adapt as they work. Understanding Scrum theory and its framework may be a helpful job skill you can use to advance your team's productivity. In this article, we answer the question, "What is Scrum?", explain Scrum theory, describe five Scrum values, identify the meaning of sprint planning, discuss the key members of a Scrum team, and outline Scrum benefits.

Related: Understanding Project Management Methodology (With Examples)

What is Scrum and why use it?

To help you understand the answer to "What is Scrum?" it may be easier to divide the process into sections. Scrum is a software development system that allows product developers to create a shippable product faster and more efficiently. It's an agile framework that helps make complex problems more manageable. Project managers may choose Scrum because it can help individuals or teams work through development processes to create market-ready products. You can apply the Scrum framework to almost any project or product development task.

Teams can take advantage of different processes, skills, and techniques offered through the framework to help meet their objectives. By dividing complex processes into smaller segments, it allows developers to review each section, or Sprint, while they move toward the final product. Scrum shortens the process, making it more efficient and usable, and highlights the effectiveness of current processes, such as management, systems, and environment, to improve product development.

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What is Scrum theory?

Scum theory stresses that knowledge develops with experience and decision-making based on observation and experimentation. By thinking less about intricate details in each step of the development process, it can reduce wasted time, money, and energy. This framework uses a repetitious, step-by-step system that enhances consistency and controls risk. It encourages individuals within a team to complete the project, share knowledge and expertise, or learn new techniques.

Scrum might reduce planning, development, and testing time. By completing smaller processes that use minimal planning for each incremental product release, users end up with the results from several cumulative sprints more often. Each sprint can take one to four weeks. Developers repeat each sprint, making improvements until they have a final product. Depending on its functionality, a product might be ready as soon as the second sprint. Developers typically end up with a more efficient process and better product, which may also be attributable to Scrum's three foundational pillars. Here's a list of the three foundational pillars of Scrum:

Scrum transparency

Each step in the sprints is transparent, allowing everyone involved in the project to see the product's development from the start to when it reaches the end receiver. Scrum bases every crucial decision on the observed state of the framework's three important artifacts, or components, which include:

  • Artifacts that have little transparency can cause decisions that decrease value and may lead to enhanced risk.

  • Transparency can facilitate valuable inspection.

  • Inspection without transparency isn't helpful and may lead to inaccurate results.

Scrum inspection

Success relies on a team's ability to frequently and diligently inspect Scrum artifacts and any advancement toward a team's recognized goals. Inspection is key to identifying potentially troublesome divergences or problems early on. Inspection offers several key takeaways, including:

  • Inspection enables and encourages adaptation.

  • Inspection without facilitating adaptation is meaningless.

  • Scrum events, such as sprint planning, provoke change.

Scrum adaptation

Scrum relies on and encourages adaptation. If even one part of the process deviates outside the pre-determined, tolerable limits, or if a process results in an unacceptable product, Scrum theory specifies that developers implement adjustments as soon as possible. To minimize further deviation, Scrum encourages changes to occur quickly, as adaptation can be harder to implement the longer the wait. Scrum theory says a Scrum team can be most effective when it adapts as soon as inspection reveals new information.

5 key Scrum values

Scrum focuses on continually providing value to customers. To do this successfully, Scrum relies on following five key values:

  1. Commitment: Every Scrum team member makes a commitment to ensure the team meets its objectives and encourages and supports each member within the team.

  2. Respect: Every Scrum team member values and respects all members and recognizes they are competent, independent, and respected members of the team.

  3. Focus: A team's principal focus is on the work within the individual sprints, and to continue to progress toward their targets.

  4. Courage: Scrum team members have the courage to act with integrity and to continue working on the hard issues.

  5. Openness: All members of the Scrum team and others involved in the collaboration process are open about their work and any obstacles they may encounter or improvements they may make.

The Scrum values provide the team with direction and apply to how a team works, acts, and behaves throughout the process. Scrum values can affect what decisions a team makes, what steps they might take, and how they use Scrum to better themselves, their work, and the end product or service.

Related: What is a Stakeholder and How Should You Prioritize Them?

What is Sprint planning?

Scrum developers define Sprint planning as an event that initiates a sprint. Users can use sprint planning to define the deliverables, processes, and targets of individual sprints. Sprint planning involves the collaboration of individuals that make up the Scrum team.

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What is a Scrum team?

A Scrum team is a small group of people, typically 10 or less, who are key to the successful Scrum process. The Scrum team comprises confident, multidisciplinary members, who together have the required skills fundamental for producing value in each sprint. Scrum teams have no sub-groups or hierarchies, so they are self-managing. The Scrum team handles all activities related to the product, such as stakeholder collaboration, process verification, maintenance, operations, experimentation, exploration, and development. There are three key people in a Scrum team:

Scrum developers

Scrum developers are typically collaborative individuals with skills in analytical thinking and organizational management. The specific skill set required by the developers is wide and can vary within each team and for each area of work. Here's a list of aspects that developers typically handle:

  • Plan development for each sprint

  • Product backlog, which is a list of the work necessary for product creation, maintenance, and sustainability

  • Ensuring quality of work by observing the definition of done (DoD), which is a detailed checklist that outlines the necessary components in a sprint that results in a quality end product

  • Daily plan adaptation focused on meeting sprint expectations

  • Holding each team member accountable and ensuring professionalism within the Scrum team

Scrum product owner

Scrum product owners are representatives of the organization's stakeholders and customers who use the software. They focus on building the business and handle the return on investment (ROI) of the project. They help bring and articulate the project vision to the team, and substantiate the benefits in various features to be incorporated into the product backlog.

Scrum master

The Scrum master facilitates the scrum process by ensuring the team follows the Scrum framework. The Scrum master commits to the Scrum values and practices, but remains flexible and open to new opportunities for the team to advance their daily workflow. Scrum has a clearly defined set of roles and practices, and the Scrum master works with each member of the Scrum team to guide and coach them throughout the Scrum framework.

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Benefits of using Scrum

Scrum has many advantages over other agile development approaches. Some of these key benefits include:

  • Scrum can help teams realize complex projects faster and more efficiently.

  • Scrum ensures more streamlined projects, resulting in economic and time advantages.

  • Scrum teams can divide large projects into more manageable increments.

  • Scrum teams code and test any product developments during a sprint review, a meeting in which the team apprises the product's state of readiness for market.

  • Scrum is well-suited to fast-paced development projects.

  • Scrum teams encourage transparency through regular meetings, daily Scrums, and throughout the Scrum process.

  • As an agile development process, Scrum continuously adopts feedback from stakeholders and customers.

  • Smaller sprints allow for more efficient changes because of continuous feedback.

  • Daily Scrums allow team members to discuss and recognize individual efforts transparently.

  • Scrum processes are repetitive and fall within specific work periods, so it can be easier for the team to focus on more definitive practices.

  • Scrum offers clear expectations and project compliance.

  • Scrum is highly flexible and adaptive to changes in the requirements generated by customer needs or recent market developments.

  • Scrum methodology adapts to the changing requirements that complex projects entail.

  • Scrum decreases time to market through incremental releases.

  • Scrum ensures increased software quality through its working method and the requirement to get a working version after each Sprint iteration.

  • Scum allows for timely predictions on development and a shippable product.

  • The Scrum process allows users to clear risks in advance and with more efficiency.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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