Scrum is an agile way to manage a project, usually software development. Agile software development with Scrum is often perceived as a methodology; but rather than viewing Scrum as methodology, think of it as a framework for managing a process.
Scrum is an iterative and incremental agile software development framework for managing product development. It defines “a flexible, holistic product development strategy where a development team works as a unit to reach a common goal”, challenges assumptions of the “traditional, sequential approach” to product development, and enables teams to self-organize by encouraging physical co-location or close online collaboration of all team members, as well as daily face-to-face communication among all team members and disciplines involved.
A key principle of Scrum is its recognition that during product development, the customers can change their minds about what they want and need (often called requirements volatility), and that unpredicted challenges cannot be easily addressed in a traditional predictive or planned manner. As such, Scrum adopts an evidence-based empirical approach—accepting that the problem cannot be fully understood or defined, focusing instead on maximizing the team’s ability to deliver quickly, to respond to emerging requirements and to adapt to evolving technologies and changes in market conditions.
Scrum is a feedback-driven empirical approach which is, like all empirical process control, underpinned by the three pillars of transparency, inspection, and adaptation. All work within the Scrum framework should be visible to those responsible for the outcome; the process, the workflow, progress, etc. In order to make these things visible, Scrum Teams need to frequently inspect the product being developed and how well the team is working. With frequent inspection, the team can spot when their work deviates outside of acceptable limits and adapt their process or the product under development.
These three pillars require trust and openness in the team, which the following five values of Scrum enable:
- Commitment – Team members individually commit to achieving their team goals, each and every Sprint.
- Courage – Team members know they have the courage to work through conflict and challenges together so that they can do the right thing.
- Focus – Team members focus exclusively on their team goals and the Sprint Backlog; there should be no work done other than through their backlog.
- Openness – Team members and their stakeholders agree to be transparent about their work and any challenges they face.
- Respect – Team members respect each other to be technically capable and to work with good intent.
When this whole thing started, the founders of agile and scrum created this agile manifesto. The founders came up with 12 principles to help guide the agile movement. Notice how they prioritize where their efforts go. They really want to shift the focus away from processes and tools and move towards the value added by individuals and interactions. They are not saying they want to get rid of the tools and processes. They just want to prioritize the focus.