Overview of Scrum Methodology
Normally, the backlog grooming involves splitting big items into smaller ones, rewriting backlog items to be more expressive, deleting obsolete or no more need items, and so on. Product owners identify user stories based on priorities for the next sprint planning. Groomed backlog helps to streamline sprint planning meetings to avoid stretching them for hours.
In Scrum, the sprint planning meeting is attended by the product owner, ScrumMaster and the entire Scrum team. Outside stakeholders may attend by invitation of the team, although this is rare in most companies.
During the sprint planning meeting, the product owner describes the highest priority features to the team. The team asks enough questions that they can turn a high-level user story of the product backlog into the more detailed tasks of the sprint backlog.
The product owner doesn't have to describe every item being tracked on the product backlog. A good guideline is for the product owner to come to the sprint planning meeting prepared to talk about two sprint's worth of product backlog items.
To make an example really simple, suppose a team always finishes five product backlog items. Their product owner should enter the meeting prepared to talk about the top 10 priorities.
There are two defined artifacts that result from a sprint planning meeting:
A sprint goal is a short, one- or two-sentence, description of what the team plans to achieve during the sprint. It is written collaboratively by the team and the product owner. The following are example sprint goals on an eCommerce application:
The sprint goal can be used for quick reporting to those outside the sprint. There are always stakeholders who want to know what the team is working on, but who do not need to hear about each product backlog item (user story) in detail.
The success of the sprint will later be assessed during the sprint review meeting against the sprint goal, rather than against each specific item selected from the product backlog.
The sprint backlog is the other output of sprint planning. A sprint backlog is a list of the product backlog items the team commits to delivering plus the list of tasks necessary to delivering those product backlog items. Each task on the sprint backlog is also usually estimated.
An important point to reiterate here is that it's the team that selects how much work they can do in the coming sprint. The product owner does not get to say, "We have four sprints left so you need to do one-fourth of everything I need." We can hope the team does that much (or more), but it's up to the team to determine how much they can do in the sprint.
In Scrum, on each day of a sprint, the team holds a daily scrum meeting called the "daily scrum.” Meetings are typically held in the same location and at the same time each day. Ideally, a daily scrum meeting is held in the morning, as it helps set the context for the coming day's work. These scrum meetings are strictly time-boxed to 15 minutes. This keeps the discussion brisk but relevant.
All team members are required to attend scrum meetings. Since both the Scrum Master and product owner are committed team members, they are expected to attend and participate. Anyone else (for example, a departmental VP, a salesperson or a developer from another project) is allowed to attend, but is there only to listen.
The daily scrum meeting is not used as a problem-solving or issue resolution meeting. Issues that are raised are taken offline and usually dealt with by the relevant subgroup immediately after the meeting. During the daily scrum, each team member answers the following three questions:
By focusing on what each person accomplished yesterday and will accomplish today, the team gains an excellent understanding of what work has been done and what work remains. The daily scrum meeting is not a status update meeting in which a boss is collecting information about who is behind schedule. Rather, it is a meeting in which team members make commitments to each other.
Any impediments that are raised in the scrum meeting become the ScrumMaster's responsibility to resolve as quickly as possible. In cases where the ScrumMaster cannot remove these impediments directly himself (e.g., usually the more technical issues), he still takes responsibility for making sure someone on the team does quickly resolve the issue.
At the end of each sprint, a sprint review meeting is held. During this meeting, the Scrum team shows what they accomplished during the sprint. Typically this takes the form of a demo of the new features.
Participants in the sprint review typically include the product owner, the Scrum team, the ScrumMaster, management, customers and developers from other projects.
During the sprint review, the project is assessed against the sprint goal determined during the sprint planning meeting. Ideally, the team has completed each product backlog item brought into the sprint, but it's more important that they achieve the overall goal of the sprint.
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