Scrum In a Nutshell

This video is a detailed Introduction to Scrum. This is best seen before attending one of our workshops or can serve as a refresher of Scrum for anyone interested.

This video can also be heard after reading ScrumGuides at

This video was recorded with the ScrumGuides site around 2022.

Scrum is a framework that is widely used by many organizations and teams across the world.If used correctly, it can provide substantial value to an organization to deliver products or services to delight customers.

This section is an overview of the Scrum basics. Let’s present some keywords first. Scrum – A framework to deliver value to the customer iteratively.

Scrum team – The collective name for the Scrum Master, Product Owner, and Development Team.

Events – The Scrum framework has four productive events (meetings):

  1. Sprint Planning – Plan the work of Sprint so that the Delivery Team can deliver value at the end of Sprint.
  2. Daily Scrum – A 15-minute daily planning event.
  3. Sprint Review – A product feedback inspect and adapt cycle.
  4. Sprint Retrospective – A process improvement cycle.
  5. Sprint – A timebox where an increment of value is delivered; mostly 1, 2, 3, or 4 weeks

Artifacts – Things of value produced in a timebox.

  1. Product Backlog – A list of things to do (also called Requirements); the Product Owner owns this. The Product Goal defines a goal for the backlog. The team does not generally move to something else until one product goal is achieved.
  2. Sprint Backlog – The Sprint Goal, with the stories planned for the sprint and the tasks is Collectively called a Sprint backlog
  3. Product Increment – An increment of value completed as per the Definition of done.

An easy way to describe the Scrum Framework is using the 1-4-3 role of Scrum. 1 Role, 4 Events, 3 Artifacts as described below.

The Scrum Team (the Scrum Master, Product Owner, and Developers) attends 4 events (Sprint Planning, Daily Scrum, Sprint Review, and Sprint Retrospective) and use/produce 3 core artifacts (Product Backlog, Sprint Backlog, and the Product Increment)

The heartbeat of scrum is called the timebox called Sprint. The Scrum team used a sprint goal to convert items in the sprint backlog into an increment of value. They use a checklist called the definition of done when converting items to done to create an increment of value.

The Three Artifacts:
Product Backlog Item + Definition of done = Increment of value.

The Sprint Backlog is a visual indicator that has the product backlog items the team is planning to complete in this sprint. It has the backlog items and the tasks as per the definition of done.

A sprint backlog is also called a task board or a Kanban board. The simplest task board has three columns To Do, Doing, Done.

The team works on items preferably one or two at a time and converts them to done. Since the team can only work on a few items every sprint, naturally a queue gets created waiting teams’ time. This list is what we call the Product Backlog

The product backlog can be visualized in the shape of a funnel with big items on one side, and well-refined items ready to work on the other side. The product owner continuously refines the product backlog with the members of the Scrum team. The product backlog is never done.

The product backlog has all the work the team is working on and is considered an ordered list.

The most important artifact is the product increment itself. This is the reason we do scrum. A product increment is a product like a website or a hardware increment of a product, a marketing brochure or a video, etc.

The Scrum Team.

A scrum team is a cross-functional team that has all the members needed to create and manage the product /service. The product owner defines the why and how. They also constantly refine the backlog and get items ready for the members of the team to work on.

The second group called Developers or builders are people who do the work like developers, testers in a software team or copywriter, social media specialists, content creators in a marketing team. This group has around 4 to 6 members.

There is a facilitator and coach in the team called a Scrum Master who is responsible to remove impediments, keeper of the scrum process, and helping be a coach for the PO and the developers, builders. In Total, the team has around 8 members. Scrum scales by adding teams not team members. The team is also considered Self Managing. They decide on their own who does what in the team. The scrum master is there to help the team self-manage.

The Four Events

A 2-week sprint is 10 days long. One day of that is reserved for all the Scrum events. So what we really plan for is for 9 days worth of work

On the first day of the sprint, the team does what is called Sprint planning to plan the work of the sprint. Here we talk about three things
The PO talks about “Why do we need this Sprint?”. This is captured as a Sprint goal coming out of the planning session
What can we do from the backlog that helps us meet the sprint goal? The team pulls items that are ready in the ordered backlog and moved them to the Sprint backlog
How can we do this work? The team members break down the work from a task perspective one backlog item at a time until they are done.This event is for up to 4 hours for a week-long sprint. The entire team is here for this event. Every day the team plans the work on the Sprint backlog ( AKA taskboard ) for 15 minutes. Here the builder/developers are talking about where they need help, what success would look like at the end of the day. This event is only for the builders/developers. The ScrumMaster may kick off this event, but generally remains silent to listen to the impediments

In the sprint review, the team shows the accepted backlog items to Stakeholders to gain feedback. One hour is a good amount of time to show two weeks’ worth of work. Anyone interested in the product attends this event. Feedback given here is captured and added to the backlog as needed.

After the sprint review, the Scrum team meets for an important closed-door event called Sprint Retrospective. The goal of the Sprint Retrospective is to look at how we did the current sprint and improve the process, teamwork for the next sprint. Effective retrospective for a two-week sprint is an hour and a half or more. The actions items from the retrospective can be shared with stakeholders.

Product Goal

This was an addition to the Scrum Guide in 2020. Per the scrum guide, The Product Goal is the long-term objective for the Scrum Team. The Product Goal describes a future state of the product which can serve as a target for the Scrum Team to plan against. They must fulfill (or abandon) one objective before taking on the next.

Definition of Done.

It is a checklist that defines what done means. It defines all the tasks that would typically be done in order to ensure high-quality product increment. The team uses the DOD in Sprint planning to break down tasks and also to determine if a backlog item is ready to be shown to the stakeholders/customers.

Scrum as a framework is easy to learn but tends to cause issues in practice. Scrum exposes the issues in organizations and teams and makes them visible. It’s easier sometimes to not deal with all the problems scrum will expose, but teams that succeed are the ones who deal with these issues head-on.