About Scrum

What is Scrum?

Scrum is an Agile Software Development methodology, used since the early 1990s.

With a focus on communication, Scrum is utilized to achieve efficient delivery of complex software products.

Scrum enables high quality software by scheduling regular incremental releases (typically every 2-4 weeks). Customers are closely involved in the process and are encouraged to review (and change) priorities for the development based on their changing business needs and user feedback.

"A key principle of Scrum is its recognition that during a project the customers can change their minds about what they want and need (often called requirements churn)" (Source: Wikipedia)

Scrum is used the world over by companies including Microsoft, IBM, Sun, Intel, Google, Yahoo, Oracle, Hewlett Packard, Sony Ericsson, Cisco, Philips, BBC, Motorola, JPMorgan, CapitalOne, Alliance, Electronic Arts, DoubleClick, SalesForce.com, Nokia, Siemens, Xerox, SSW and many more.

Why we're Awesome at Scrum

  • We train people in Scrum all over the world
  • We helped write the official TFS Scrum course
  • Our developers are Scrum Masters for other companies' teams
  • We use Scrum on all our internal and client projects

Check out this SSW TV video on a Microsoft Daily Scrum meeting.

Meet our Scrum Trainers

Scrum Services

Scrum Consulting

We provide experienced scrum consultants to mentor your team and transition to a scrum based methodology.

Scrum Development

We utilize scrum internally on all SSW projects, as well as customer projects. We provide certified scrum masters and dedicated scrum teams to customers.

Scrum Training

We provide comprehensive scrum developer training. If you have an existing development team and want to upgrade their skills, consider our Professional Scrum Developer training with TFS courses.

Why choose Scrum?

Have you ever wondered...

  • Why am I being told at the last minute by the developers that some features will not be included in the release?
  • Why is my project delayed again?
  • Why are there so many bugs when the whole system was fully designed in advance?

You may think it's just the developers that need to work better, but actually miscommunication and such problems can be eliminated if both client and developers adopt the working methodology Scrum.

Benefits of Scrum

  • Transparency of development progress and processes
  • Regular inspection of the process to limit variances
  • Adaptation to changing circumstances or requirements
  • Overall greater client satisfaction!

How does Scrum work?

The 3 key points in Scrum are:

  • Time-boxed meetings with the client at the start and finish of a sprint to increase the communication and efficiency between the client and the development team. This is the Review and Retrospective.
  • A Daily 15-minute Scrum meeting where each team member presents a short summary of yesterday's tasks, today's actions and impediments. In all cases, this is a good opportunity to identify problems early. This meeting is led by the ScrumMaster (Project Manager).
  • Done criteria must be met before developers can affirm that a feature is complete. Done criteria can include adding unit tests, having peer reviews and other good engineering practices. By ensuring developers perform tests for each feature, quality assurance is maintained and bugs are eliminated before they escalate.

In Scrum the client (called as Product Owner) re-prioritizes tasks at the beginning of each sprint so the scrum team is always working on the most important features for the product. Check out our 8 Steps to Scrum diagram to easily vizualize how it works.

What are the Scrum Roles?

There are multiple roles in every Scrum team. These include the:

  • Scrum Master
  • Product Owner
  • Team

Scrum Master

Responsible for ensuring the process is understood and followed. This is also who will attempt to remove any roadblocks the team faces. See "What is a Scrum Master?" for more information.

Product Owner

Responsible for maximizing the value of the work that the Scrum Team does. This is often provided by the client so as to ensure they are getting what they expect. See "What is a Product Owner?" for more information.

The Team

Responsible for doing the actual work. See The Development Team for more information.

Key Technologies

Microsoft Team Foundation Server (TFS)

Microsoft Visual Studio + Team Foundation Server (TFS 2010, 2012 or TFSPreview) is a team collaboration platform that combines team portal, version control, work-item tracking, build management, process guidance, and business intelligence into an unified server.


Not after a Microsoft solution? Atlassian's Jira and GIT (or other combinations like Mercurial and Axosoft's OnTime) can be combined to form a powerful platform for your portal, source control and requirements and bug tracking.

Related Links

Scrum Process

Chartering (Strategy) The Product Owner explains in a few statements what the product is and why it is valuable. The team discusses success criteria and sets appropriate expectations.
Epics An epic level story is a single piece of work that is too large to be completed in a single iteration. It requires breakdown into smaller stories.
Themes A theme is a categorization element for use by the product owner. A theme is made up of a set of stories grouped around some functional area, persona or some other classification criteria.
Stories A story, also known as a user story or a product backlog item in Scrum, is the unit of business value from which task level work is derived.
Overview A release is a planning and delivery cycle that takes into consideration priorities, goals, dependencies, risks and other planning considerations in establishing milestones.
Planning Meeting The planning meeting is a session in which features are reviewed and prioritized, key dates and milestones are established, and the team determines which features will be delivered in the timeframe identified.
Prioritizing The list of stories must be rank-ordered sequentially so that the team understands the priority order in which to complete the work.
Estimation Accurate estimation in software development has proven challenging, to say the least. Instead of trying to answer the question "how long?" Teams answer the question "how big?"
Overview An iteration (or Sprint in Scrum) is a fixed-length timebox during which a development team completes a portion of their product backlog.
Planning Meeting The team holds a planning meeting at the beginning of each iteration to identify the stories that will be developed, and to break them down into tasks and acceptance criteria.
Tasks During the Iteration Planning meeting, stories are broken down into tasks. The tasks are all the work the team must complete to accept the story as done.
Defects There are times when defects or bugs are introduced during the development process. Open defects should be prioritized and planned into each iteration.
Acceptance Criteria Acceptance tests describe requirements in a testable format that the software must conform to.
Read Do Your User Stories Include Acceptance Criteria?
Daily Scrum This meeting is an opportunity for teams to communicate what they've done, what they are committing to do next, and any issues that are causing them to be less effective. See What is a Daily Scrum for more information.
Daily Scrum This meeting is an opportunity for teams to communicate what they've done, what they are committing to do next, and any issues that are causing them to be less effective.
Read Do you do Daily Scrums (aka stand-up meetings)?
Sprint Review The goal of the review meeting is to demonstrate the features and functions completed during the iteration. The meeting gives project stakeholders the opportunity to see the actual progress being made.
Sprint Retrospective A retrospective is a discussion where teams collaboratively examine and expose opportunities for improvement in terms of process and practices. See What is a Sprint Retrospective for more information
Burndown Charts Very simple, visible progress charts serve as helpful tools for communicating both to the team and to the rest of the organization.
Velocity Velocity is the measure of the throughput of an agile team per iteration. Since a user story represents value to the customer, velocity is the rate at which a team delivers value.
Cumulative Flow The Cumulative Flow diagram provides a graphic depiction of how stories are moving through various statuses on the way to being "Done".
Trends Frequent inspection and adaptation are indispensable elements of any successful agile development undertaking.

8 Steps to Scrum

8 Steps to Scrum
Figure: This Scrum image includes all the important steps from the initial meeting to the Review and Retro. Print this "SSW 8 Steps to Scrum pdf" and put it on your 'War Room' wall.

A Case Study

Watch the Case Study of how one of SSW Scrum teams did a website upgrade for the National Australia Day Council:

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