Scrum Process and Resource Guide

October 27, 2011

It seems more organizations these days are ditching the “old” way of doing things and shifting to agile development practices. For many, this means one thing: Scrum. But being convinced that agile is the way to go is one thing. Successfully implementing Scrum in an organization is another matter altogether.

This guide provides resources that break down the fundamentals of the Scrum process, the challenges of implementation and best practices for success.

What is Scrum?

The origins of Scrum The first step to knowing what Scrum is involves understanding where it came from. In this video, Scrum cofounder Dr. Jeff Sutherland explains why and how the Scrum revolution first began back in the early 1990s.

What makes Scrum so different? As certified Scrum guru Scott Downey once wrote, Scrum changes everything. But what truly sets Scrum apart? This post breaks down some of the basic differences between Scrum and traditional development methods.

What Scrum means for software development While use of the Scrum process is not exclusive to software developers, they easily make up the majority of practitioners. In this article, Scrum evangelist Boris Gloger highlights some of the key benefits Scrum brings to software development teams.

Why Scrum beats waterfall for product development Getting more accomplished in less time is every manager’s dream — Scrum makes it a reality. Scrum coach and expert Kenny Rubin explains the benefits of adopting an agile framework and why it beats waterfall for product development.

The Fundamentals of Scrum

A quick overview of the Scrum process Short on time? This video with software developer Hamid Shojaee presents the bare essentials of Scrum in less than 10 minutes.

Understanding the role of the Scrum Master The first thing a Scrum team needs is someone to lead the way, known specifically as the Scrum Master. Boris Gloger identifies the core competencies of the Scrum Master and the role he or she plays in the overall Scrum process.

4 must-have qualities of the Scrum Master If your software company has — like many of its peers — shifted to agile development practices, it likely means you’ve adopted (or are thinking about adopting) Scrum. And if that’s the case, your business needs a Scrum Master to ensure that everyone stays focused, on task, and unimpeded.

The role of the backlog in sprint planning Before a Scrum team can begin to improve its performance, the members need actual tasks to perform. Enter the backlog, the project ideas that get the whole process started, as Jeff Sutherland explains in this video.

Sprint planning lessons learned Once the backlog is in place, Scrum team members can start planning out there sprints to begin their work. Consultant Joseph Flahiff discusses some best practices for sprint planning in this short video.

The importance of the Scrum daily meeting To ensure a successful sprint, most Scrum teams practice daily meetings to keep everyone on the same page and avoid impediments. Jeff Sutherland explains why these meetings are so critical to the Scrum process and details the three questions every team member should ask.

The Burndown Chart and its history In Scrum, the Burndown Chart is a means of ensuring that the team is heading in the right direction throughout the sprint. This video presents the origin of the Burn Down Chart with examples of how it works.

The genesis of the sprint review process Inspired by the “Demo or Die” motto of the folks at MIT, the sprint review is one of the cornerstones of Scrum. Jeff Sutherlands sheds light on the purpose behind sprints and how they eventually led to the development of retrospectives.

More on practicing retrospectives This free eBook offers expert insight on the practice of retrospectives, with best practices and tips for improvement.

Understanding the value of retrospectives What are retrospectives? Put simply, they are a way for teams to reflect on past experiences so that they can improve in the future. A core component of Scrum, this post offers a more detailed definition of the retrospective process.

The 9 questions of the Nokia Test How well are we doing, and how do we get better? At the end of the day, that’s what everyone wants to know. This short video breaks down how the Nokia Test can lead you to answers.

Explaining Scrum to Management

Selling Scrum to the people upstairs Convinced that Scrum is the right move for your team? That’s only half the battle. Getting everyone else to buy in can be an even bigger challenge, starting with middle management. Certified Scrum Trainer Joe Little offers some tips for getting everyone on board from the top down.

5 benefits of Scrum for executives When most people think of Scrum and agile development, they think of software engineers doing funny things with Post-It notes. The truth is, Scrum can help transform the performance of any team, and the people who stand to benefit most are executives.

How to explain Scrum to management Pushing for your organization to adopt Scrum? Alex Brown, Scrum Inc. COO, explains the key is to frame the conversation in terms management can better appreciate and understand.

How to address management’s common Scrum concerns Scrum Inc. COO Alex Brown explains how to address one of the most common knee-jerk reactions from senior management when it comes to implementing Scrum: “We can’t do that here.”

Making the Move to Scrum

The truth about Scrum every team needs to know The most important thing to understand about a Scrum implementation is that it’s not for everyone. In this post, Scott Downey, owner of, lists six hard truths that every potential Scrum enthusiast should come to grips with before taking the plunge.

Selling Scrum to the people upstairs Convinced that Scrum is the right move for your team? That’s only half the battle. Getting everyone else to buy in can be an even bigger challenge, starting with middle management. Certified Scrum Trainer Joe Little offers some tips for getting everyone on board from the top down.

Initial steps for getting started with Scrum You’ve finally convinced your team of the value of Scrum; now the real work begins. Where do you start? Scott Downey outlines the eight steps that are critical to a successful Scrum transition.

Advanced tactics for a Scrum implementation Once you have the basic elements of Scrum in place, the next step is to smooth out the bugs that are guaranteed to hinder the process. This video provides tips to help you prepare for the common problems most teams endure when moving to Scrum.

Pacing a Scrum transition to suit your team Not all Scrum implementations are created equal. Scott Downey explains the nuances involved with finding the right speed for putting a Scrum program in place.

Achieving successful Scrum team dynamics Scrum has the potential to boost your team’s productivity, but realizing that potential is up to you. Mitch Lacey, agile coach and author of The Scrum Field Guide, explains why ensuring greater success starts with improving your organizational alignment.

What not to do when transitioning to Scrum Plenty of things that can trip you up during a Scrum implementation, but knowing what they are ahead of time is the best way to keep from shooting yourself in the foot. This post details some of the key mistakes to avoid.

Scrum in Action

Spotify’s secret for competing with Apple, Amazon, & Google How has Spotify managed to outperform industry giants Google, Apple, and Amazon? Scrum co-creator Dr. Jeff Sutherland reveals three ways Spotify’s implementation of Agile development is catapulting it past the competition.

How to measure Scrum team performance Agile and Scrum training expert Kenny Rubin, author of the bestselling book Essential Scrum, highlights five key indicators you should use to gauge your team’s performance (plus one you shouldn’t).

What happens when a marketing department adopts scrum Find out how one Director of Marketing transformed his team’s performance and productivity by adopting Scrum and more Agile marketing practices.

How OpenView employs agile marketing Here’s a quick look at how we here at OpenView utilize Scrum not for software development but for agile marketing and helping our portfolio companies move the needle.

Scrum for Non-Technical Teams

Why agile isn’t just for technical teams If you think Scrum and agile development is only for technical teams, you’re missing out on a way to boost productivity and efficiency throughout your company.

Sales success with Scrum Companies are adopting the Scrum processes for use outside of the software development realm. Jeff Sutherland’s Scrum Log recently posted a case where Scrum was successfully implemented by a sales team at Accurev.

How Scrum can be applied to financial reporting Scrum isn’t just for improving product development. As Alex Brown, COO of Scrum Inc. explains in this short video, a new area the methodology is being implemented into is financial reporting.

Scrum Best Practices and Advanced Scrum Tips

Why story points are better than hours Jeff Sutherland writes that when it comes to measuring the velocity of a Scrum team, there’s really only one way to go.

10 ways to make your Scrum team uber-productive When done right, Scrum can have a drastic effect on team productivity. Of course, that doesn’t mean there still isn’t room for improvement. Boris Gloger lists 10 ways to take a Scrum team from good to great in this post.

Jeff Sutherland’s Scrum best practices Dr. Jeff Sutherland, co-creator of Scrum, provides best practices for implementing the agile development methodology that will take your team’s productivity and efficiency to the next level.

Essential steps to Scrum success The sad truth is, many Scrum transitions end in failure. Esther Derby shines a light on where most teams go wrong, with tips for getting out in front of common issues before they start.

4 Reasons some companies fail to get the full benefits of Scrum Dr. Jeff Sutherland, co-creator of Scrum, explains some of the stumbling blocks that companies and teams run into when implementing Scrum and offers tactics to avoid them.

Going one step further with the Scrum of Scrums Many experts will tell you that when it comes to Scrum, smaller teams work best. But what if you’re a large company with massive projects to tackle? That’s where developing a Scrum of Scrums can be a boon, says Jeff Sutherland in this video.

Additional Scrum Resources

Blogs and Resources

  • Scrum Inc: an organization that helps companies create highly motivated and productive Scrum teams
  • Scrum Alliance: a non-profit site devoted to helping others get the most out of Scrum
  • RapidScrum: an organization that introduces development teams to the Scrum process
  • Scrum Methodology: articles and training resources devoted to all-things Scrum
  • VersionOne: an agile management software company with blogs on Scrum and agile-based practices

Scrum tools and utilities for developers

  • VersionOne: Agile and sprint management software
  • ScrumDo: Scrum planning and resource tool
  • Scrumy: Project management tool based “loosely” on Scrum
  • Banana Scrum: Simple Scrum tool for tracking team productivity
  • Agilo for Scrum: Streamlines functionalities for Scrum team management
  • Scrumpy: Free backlog/story management tool for product owners

For more on the retrospective process, download our free eBook, Get Better Faster: The Ultimate Guide to the Practice of Retrospectives.

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