Scrum starter

Scrum instructions, without the explanation why or how it works. You can do it quickly by yourself to try it out. As a team excercise it may take one day, plan at last 4 hours for Estimation and Sprint planning session. This time investment will pay off.

Assign Scrum roles

Product Owner (PO) - Person who will represent customer needs. Person who will be prioritizing tasks and planning your product to deliver as much value as possible.

Scrum Master (SM) - This person will make sure that Scrum is happening according to guidelines.

The rest becomes Development Team. This group is responsible for figuring out how to deliver backlog items on time. Ideal size of this group is between 3 and 9.

Create a Product backlog

Make a list of items that need to be done. Each item (feature, request, task) should be reasonably small, so multiple tasks could be finished in two weeks. Items should be potentially shipable and functionally valuable. Backlog is an ordered list. Items higher on the list have higher priority than those below. Product Owner is responsible for the prioritization.

Estimate Product backlog items

Development Team should discuss each item with Product Owner and provide an estimate in Story Points. Find a task that is quite easy to understand and estimate, that is doable within one or two days. This will become a reference task. Estimate it to be 1 or 2 Story Points. Now go through the rest of the tasks and compare them to the reference. Use following numbers: 0, 1/2, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 20, 40. (The bigger the task, the harder it get's to estimate, so bigger buffers are needed to compensate for uncertainty).

It is recommended to use a planning poker method.

Reprioritize Product Backlog

Having estimates Product Owner should reconsider order of items in the Product Backlog.

Decide what to do in first Sprint

Create a Sprint backlog - define how many taks you can finish in next to weeks. Follow the priority order from Product Backlog. It is important to agree on what is the Definition of Done. Ideally is a usable, high quality implementation released to final user, fully developed and tested. No further work is required.

It is a Development Team (not a Scrum Muster and not a Product Owner) who decides how much to take into next Sprint. For the first Sprint the team has to guess how much to take.

Sum up estimated Story Points for the selected task and you will get a Velocity forecast.

Product Owner my decide to move some items between Product Backlog and Sprint Backlog, but those changes should not exceed forecasted Velocity.

Start the Sprint

Decide on when you plan to finish it. It is good to finish on Friday. Start working on task from the top to the bottom of the backlog. Product Owner should not change Sprint backlog after the Sprint started.

Daily work

Team keeps the Scrum board updated in real time. When starting work on a task developer moves it to "In progress" column. When task is finished it should be put on "Done" list.

Developers should finish one task before starting another. Developer should not reassign the task for testing or for review to other team members. Once developer takes an item to progress she is responsible to get the item Done and coordinate this work within the team.

If a developer finds out that estimate for a task is incorect she should not change it.

Scrum Master should schedule a 15 minutes daly meeting called Daily Scrum. On that meeting each Team member should say what she achieved in last 24 hours, if there are any problems and what she intends to do in next 24 hours. Scrum Master makes sure that team handles reported problems and makes sure to follow up on reported issues after the meeting. Don't discuss tasks details on the meeting. Follow up on details after the meeting only with interested team members.

Scrum Master role is to make sure that this meeting happens on time, takes maximum 15 minutes, stops off-topic and detailed discussions and make sure that all problems are adresses after the meeting.

Product Owner is available for the team for clarifications whenever needed. She also prepares further items in the Product backlog, works with final users and stakeholders to prioritize work.

Sprint Review

Sprint is finished on a planned date, even when there are unfinished tasks on the Sprint Board. Finished task are reviewed with Product Owner and discussed. It is recomended to do real demo, if possible.

Sum up Story Point estimates of completed task. This is your team Velocity. Compare it with the Velocity Forecast. In future use previous Sprint velocity when planning next Sprint.


Discuss with the team on what they liked and what they want to change in next Sprint. How to improve bad things and how to keep good ones. Ask every one to come up with three good and three bad things. gather the answer and find out what can be adressed first.

Plan next Sprint

Discuss new items on the backlog, estimate them. Use previous Sprint velocity to forcast next Sprint velocity. Just keep repeating the story.

Good luck!