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Scrum development team
Scrum development is a development methodology where each stage or iteration of the development process is called a “sprint”. The sprint duration must be long enough to deliver a logical increment of the required work, however, it should be short enough to ensure the team is focused and working to the best of its abilities.
Typically, a sprint cycle is not more than four weeks. Read more about sprints in this great article entitled “The Sprint”.
A scrum development team does the work required in each sprint. Like any team, it is a collection of individuals, who sometimes work in the same location or sometimes remotely. There are several specific characteristics of a dev team in a scrum environment. These skill sets are as follows:
- It‘s a cross-functional team, i.e., it includes UI/UX designers, programmers, architects, business analysts, testers, etc.
- A scrum development team size is typically between five to seven members.
- The best scrum teams are closely-knit and work together regularly, preferably full-time.
- Although development team members in a scrum team have different skills, they can cross-train each other. This helps with everything from road mapping projects to avoiding delays due to roadblocks.
- Scrum teams depend a lot on effective team management. Managers must control their teams well to get the best performance from them. A scrum team is much like a computer, in that it can only develop a project as fast as its slowest component/development team member operates.
Scrum development principles
Scrum development follows the below principles:
- Empirical process control: There are three cornerstones of the “Scrum” methodology. These are transparency, inspection, and adaptation. Empirical process control encompasses all three.
- Self-organization: This is not exactly a new concept. The late management guru Peter F Drucker emphasized the importance of letting more knowledgeable workers make decisions about their work. Scrum development also values the freedom of teams to organize themselves. Read more about Drucker‘s point on scrum values in “What Motivates the Modern Worker? Peter Drucker on Leading Millennials”.
- Collaboration: In scrum development, awareness, articulation, and appropriation constitute collaboration. Unlike some who believe that project management is not needed in scrum methodology, the reality is, in fact, exactly the opposite. Project management is very much needed to facilitate this collaborative value-creation. No matter whether it involves large or small teams, effective collaboration is essential.
- Prioritize based on value: Priority in scrum development is determined by business value.
- Time-boxing: In our everyday world, lack of time is a constraint. This means that spare or available time can be an opportunity. Scrum development utilizes this idea by time-boxing important tasks or functions like daily stand-up meetings. Such tasks improve the efficiency of teams and therefore contribute to faster development, hence reducing wasted time.
- Iterative development: The sprint goal is to deliver a complete set of enhancements/features/additions to the product. Each sprint is also designed to address a specific set of customer needs. Product increments or iterations are set to address product requirements and are often designed around market feedback about the product, i.e., certain features such as in-built maps, product suggestions, etc.
Read about these scrum development principles in “6 Main Principles of Scrum Methodology”. Scrum.org also has more details.
How does a Scrum development team work?
When you create a scrum development team, you should understand fully how scrum development teams work. Let‘s review how scrum teams work:
Backlog: The input
This is simply a list of the software product or solution features. Each feature has a detailed description of this list, which is also known as the ’product backlog’. This list is created from the product owner‘s needs and should include a detailed description of the product‘s functional requirements.
The development team reviews the features and estimates them. After consulting with the PO, priorities are determined, and sprints are created. Read more about the product backlog in “Building An Agile Team From Scratch”.
The PO, the scrum master, and the scrum development team conduct a sprint planning meeting. Usually, this takes 1 hour for every week that the sprint is likely to take.
E.g., if you have a four-week sprint, your planning meeting will take around four hours. The development team estimates and gives an outlook to the PO of how many features they believe that they can complete.
Based on this, a ’Sprint backlog’ is created, which includes user stories from the product backlog.
Daily stand-up meeting
Scrum development teams conduct a daily stand-up meeting to inform the team about the status of each member‘s work. The scrum master, the product owner, and the entire team attend these daily scrum meetings. These are typically short meetings conducted at the start of the day.
Team members describe what they completed during the previous day, what they accomplish, and whether they faced any show-stopper issues, etc.
Sprint review meeting
At the end of the sprint, the scrum development team conducts a sprint review meeting. Mandatory attendees include the scrum master, the product owner, and the scrum team. Please consider inviting project stakeholders too.
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The objective of this is to showcase the completed work and get immediate feedback from project stakeholders. By this meeting, all the work of the sprint should be completed, and it should meet all quality requirements.
The team should also have dealt with any outstanding product backlog items too. The team should be able to demonstrate the software product or solution during the meeting. This meeting usually lasts an hour.
Sprint retrospective meeting
At the end of each sprint, the scrum master should call for a sprint retrospective meeting. The meeting should include the product owner, the scrum master, and the scrum team. This will usually last about an hour, with the key objective being for the team to learn any relevant lessons from the concluded sprint.
The team should discuss what they did well as well as what they feel they could do better, etc. An action plan to incorporate the lessons learned will then be drawn up which will then be distributed to each member of the team. This is very important for the continuous improvement of the team.
The sprint planning and the other three meetings are also called “ceremonies”. Read more about agile ceremonies in “Have we met?”.
Summing up what is a scrum development team
Scrum development team is considered a small cross-functional team that is self-organizing. The whole scrum development team participates in making important development decisions and is responsible for the success of the development sprint.
Such an approach instills responsibility, independence, and teamwork in each member of the scrum development team which is crucial for the success of the software project.
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Frequently Asked Questions on what is a scrum development team
It consists of software developers who are capable of delivering a deployable product at the end of each development sprint.
Agile manifesto states the following four principles:
1. Individuals and interactions over processes and tools.
2. Deployable software over detailed documentation.
3. Collaboration with customers.
4. Swift response to change if the need arises.
Eagerness to take responsibility, accountability, ownership, etc. is important for a scrum dev team.