I was recently approached by the Microsoft Project Users Group (MPUG) to write a brief overview of the Scrum framework. The MPUG is a community of project managers from around the world, many of whom are just beginning to work with agile frameworks like Scrum.
You can read the entire article on the MPUG website. For a more comprehensive look at the Scrum Framework, you can also download your free copy of Chapter 2 of Essential Scrum, The Quick Start Guide to Essential Scrum.
I’ve included a few key concepts from the MPUG article for you here.
Scrum is a Framework. Modify with Care
The Scrum framework is like the foundation and walls of a building. You can’t ignore or fundamentally change a value, principle, or practice without risking collapse. What you can do, however, is customize inside the structure of Scrum, adding fixtures and features until you have a process that works for you.
To understand how to make a version of Scrum that is uniquely yours, though, you must first have a firm grasp of the Scrum framework, its principles, and the planning that occurs at every level.
Scrum is Fast, But Not Hurried
In Scrum, our core goal is to be nimble, adaptable, and speedy. By going fast, we deliver fast, get feedback fast, and get value into the hands of our customers sooner. We do not, however, mistake going fast for being hurried.
In Scrum, Planning Is Essential
Although Scrum formally defines only daily and sprint planning, all organizations will benefit from planning at the release, product, and portfolio levels as well.
Portfolio planning helps determine which products to work on, in what order, and for how long.
The goals of product planning, or envisioning, are to capture the essence of a potential product and to create a rough plan for the creation of that product. Envisioning begins with a product vision and ends with an initial high-level version of the product backlog and perhaps a product roadmap.
Release planning is about making scope, date, and budget trade-offs for incremental deliveries. On most development efforts, it is sensible to do initial release planning after envisioning and before starting the first sprint associated with the release.
Don’t be fooled by the fallacy that agile means no planning. Successful Scrum development projects require multiple interrelated planning activities.
Once you understand the underlying foundation of Scrum, you should discover your own path forward. Don’t wait to “get Scrum perfect” before you start. You can’t! Instead, learn, inspect and adapt your way forward based on your organizations unique goals and culture and the ever-changing, complex environment in which you operate.
The full article, including a summary of core Scrum principles, is available at MPUG.