Skill Level Intermediate
- The terms Agile and Scrum are often used interchangeably, but they're not the same thing. In fact, Agile is the label used to define a specific philosophy, mindset and value system as a unique approach to project work. The goal of Agile is to observe the unknowns around you. Using this information, you can devise strategies enabling you to respond quickly and effectively. There are several project frameworks based on Agile, extreme programming, disciplined Agile delivery, and Scrum are all commonly used. Think of it this way, Agile is the foundational belief system for many project frameworks. Each framework has its own set of practices while sharing the underlying Agile belief system. Scrum is the most commonly-used of all Agile frameworks. If you haven't encountered Scrum yet, you probably will at some point. To help you get ready for that, let's talk about the specifics of the Scrum framework. Here's the big picture of the Scrum framework. I realize it looks complicated, but it really isn't. Let's start with the basics. All project work is done by people with key skills. Knowing this, Scrum has defined three key roles every Scrum team needs. These roles are the Product Owner, the Scrum Master and the Development Team. Let's talk a little about each role. First, the Product Owner, or PO for short, is the business representative on the team. They're responsible for defining the work to be done. The PO is the emissary between the business stakeholders, or customers, and the team. The PO defines the priority of the requested work items for the team and makes sure they're working on the highest priority items first. The next role is the Scrum Master. This person is responsible for ensuring the team is following the Scrum framework and is working as effectively and efficiently as possible. They also have the job of ensuring impediments, or blockers, to the team are identified and removed. Finally, the third role is the Development Team itself. There are usually five to nine people in this role together. The key differentiator here is that Scrum teams are cross-functional. This means that everyone uses all their skills to complete any task that needs to be done. The group is collectively committed to getting the work done. Another key to remember is that neither the PO nor the Scrum Master manage the Development Team. They're a self-organizing body and determine together the best way to complete the work. Sometimes you'll hear people refer to the Scrum Team. When they do, they're talking about all three roles at the same time.