Scrum Theory Full Guide 2024: Meaning, Benefits and Examples

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Scrum is a framework that helps people, organizations, and teams address complex problems while creatively and productively delivering products of the highest value. Scrum co-founders, Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber, wrote The Scrum Guide to clearly explain scrum.

This post will concisely discuss everything you need to know about scrum, including scrum guide, scrum of scrums, and agile scrum.

What is Scrum Meaning

Scrum is an agile project framework that helps teams work together. Work is done in short cycles (sprints), and the teams meet daily to brainstorm on current tasks and how to get the job done effectively while removing all obstacles. It is a methodology for managing projects that allow for rapid development and testing, especially within the lean startup and small teams.
Just like a game of rugby- where it gets its name from (training for the big day), scrum encourages teams to learn through experiences, and reflect on their wins and losses to continuously improve.

What Does SCRUM Stand For

Frequently, individuals inquire, “Does Scrum stand for something as an acronym?” The answer is no. The term is derived from the sport of rugby, where a team engages in a collective effort known as a scrum to collaboratively advance the ball down the field.

The Business Model Canvas serves as a fundamental tool for businesses practising Scrum, offering a visual framework that aligns and refines strategic goals within the iterative and collaborative development process. In the Scrum methodology, where adaptability and cross-functional collaboration are paramount, the canvas provides a shared understanding of the business model, facilitating effective communication and stakeholder engagement. By aiding in the refinement of the Product Backlog, it ensures that development efforts prioritize features that align with overall business strategy and customer value.

Business Model Canvas Template
The UNITE Business Model Canvas
Designed by: Digital Leadership AG – Building on the work of Alexander Osterwalder

Advantages and Benefits of SCRUM

SCRUM offers a plethora of advantages and benefits that contribute to its widespread adoption in various industries:

1) Customer Satisfaction:

By focusing on delivering valuable increments of work in short iterations, It ensures that customer needs and expectations are consistently met, fostering satisfaction.

2) Lower Costs:

The iterative nature of SCRUM allows for early identification and correction of issues, reducing the overall project costs by avoiding extensive rework.

3) Speed to Market:

SCRUM’s emphasis on frequent releases ensures that products or features reach the market faster, providing a competitive edge and allowing for rapid response to market changes.

4) Collaboration:

It promotes a collaborative environment, bringing together cross-functional teams to work closely and communicate effectively throughout the development process.

5) Encourages Creativity:

The iterative and adaptive nature of SCRUM encourages creative problem-solving and innovation among team members.

6) Better Quality and Return on Investment (ROI):

Regular inspections and adaptations in SCRUM contribute to the delivery of higher-quality products, as issues are identified and addressed early in the development cycle. Faster time to market, customer satisfaction, and improved quality contribute to a better return on investment for projects managed using SCRUM.

7) Adaptability and Flexibility:

SCRUM’s adaptive nature allows teams to respond to changing requirements and priorities, ensuring the product remains aligned with evolving business needs.

8) Reduced Risk:

Incremental development and continuous feedback reduce the risk of project failure by allowing for early identification and mitigation of potential issues.

9) Roles in Scrum Team:

The defined roles, including Scrum Master, Product Owner, and Development Team, contribute to a clear distribution of responsibilities, fostering efficiency and accountability.

10) Job Satisfaction:

It promotes a collaborative and empowering work environment, leading to increased job satisfaction among team members.

11) Iterative and Incremental Development:

SCRUM’s iterative approach ensures that development occurs in manageable increments, reducing the complexity and risk associated with large-scale projects.

12) Flexibility to Allow Quick Product Changes:

SCRUM’s flexibility enables teams to accommodate changes in product requirements quickly, facilitating responsiveness to evolving customer needs.

13) Higher Productivity:

SCRUM’s focus on efficiency, collaboration, and continuous improvement contributes to higher overall team productivity.

Scrum Disadvantages and Challenges

While SCRUM is widely adopted and has numerous benefits, it is important to be aware of potential disadvantages and challenges associated with its implementation:

1) Extensive Training Requirement:

While Scrum can yield quick and high-quality results, its successful implementation hinges on a well-trained and skilled team. Before committing to Scrum, thorough training is essential to ensure everyone understands its benefits and nuances.

2) Difficulty in Scaling:

Scaling Scrum for larger projects can be challenging, requiring extensive training and precise coordination. Although adaptations for larger projects exist, they can be intricate and challenging to implement effectively.

3) Organizational Transformations:

Embracing Scrum may necessitate significant organizational transformations. Collaboration across different departments becomes crucial, and the company must adeptly manage and organize these collaborations to ensure success.

4) Integration Challenges with Classic Project Management:

Scrum’s focus on adaptability may pose challenges for projects requiring predictability and a well-defined plan. A hybrid solution that combines elements of classic, long-term planning with Scrum principles may be necessary for certain projects.

5) Lack of Support for Project Deadline:

While Scrum involves numerous smaller deadlines, it doesn’t inherently address the project’s overall deadline. Project managers and stakeholders must actively ensure the project stays on track to meet its ultimate deadline.

6) Small Team Requirement:

It is optimized for teams of at least three people but no more than 10. While this fosters collaboration, some organizations may face difficulties in reorganizing their workforce into smaller, agile teams.

7) Need for Experienced Personnel:

Successfully adopting Scrum requires experienced and skilled personnel. The methodology involves periods of intense work, demanding that everyone on the team can swiftly and competently execute their tasks and provide informed feedback on the results and overall process.

Scrum Examples

Scrum, a versatile and widely adopted agile framework, finds application in various domains to streamline project management and enhance collaboration. In software development, Scrum teams, comprising roles such as Scrum Master, Product Owner, and Development Team, work in iterative sprints to deliver increments of functional software. Marketing teams leverage Scrum to plan, execute, and evaluate campaigns, ensuring alignment with strategic goals.

These examples illustrate the versatility of Scrum, showing how it can be applied beyond software development to enhance collaboration, flexibility, and delivery across various domains.

1) Software Development:

  • Roles: In a software development team, roles such as Scrum Master, Product Owner, and Development Team are clearly defined. The team collaborates in short iterations, or sprints, to deliver increments of working software.
  • Backlog: The Product Owner maintains a product backlog containing user stories and features prioritized based on business value.
  • Sprint Planning: The team conducts sprint planning meetings to decide which backlog items to include in the upcoming sprint.
  • Daily Stand-ups: Daily stand-up meetings are held for team members to discuss progress, challenges, and plans.
  • Review and Retrospective: At the end of each sprint, the team conducts a review to showcase the completed work and a retrospective to reflect on the process and identify areas for improvement.

2) Marketing Campaigns:

  • Roles: A marketing team adopts Scrum with roles like Scrum Master, Product Owner, and Marketing Team.
  • Backlog: The marketing team maintains a backlog of campaigns, with each campaign represented as a backlog item.
  • Sprint Planning: During sprint planning, the team selects specific campaigns to work on during the upcoming sprint based on priority and strategic goals.
  • Daily Stand-ups: The team holds daily stand-ups to discuss progress on ongoing campaigns, address challenges, and ensure alignment with marketing objectives.
  • Review and Retrospective: At the end of the sprint, the team evaluates the success of completed campaigns during a review and conducts a retrospective to refine their marketing processes.

3) Product Development:

  • Roles: A product development team includes roles like Scrum Master, Product Owner, and Development Team.
  • Backlog: The product backlog contains features, enhancements, and bug fixes, prioritized by the Product Owner based on customer needs.
  • Sprint Planning: The team collaborates in sprint planning to select backlog items for the upcoming sprint, considering factors like dependencies and customer feedback.
  • Daily Stand-ups: Daily stand-up meetings facilitate communication, coordination, and problem-solving among team members.
  • Review and Retrospective: At the end of each sprint, the team showcases the completed product increments during a review and conducts a retrospective to enhance their development process.

4) Educational Programs:

  • Roles: An educational team, such as an e-learning development group, structures its work with Scrum roles like Scrum Master, Product Owner, and Development Team.
  • Backlog: The educational team maintains a backlog of course modules, assessments, and improvements, prioritized by the Product Owner based on learning objectives.
  • Sprint Planning: During sprint planning, the team selects items from the backlog to work on during the sprint, ensuring alignment with educational goals.
  • Daily Stand-ups: Daily stand-up meetings keep team members informed about progress, challenges, and opportunities for collaboration.
  • Review and Retrospective: The team conducts a review at the end of each sprint to showcase completed educational content and a retrospective to refine their instructional design and development processes.

Scrum Theory: A Foundational Framework for Agile Project Management

Scrum theory, the foundational framework for agile project management, is built on three pillars that provide the framework’s bedrock: transparency, inspection, and adaptation. Transparency emphasizes openness in communication, ensuring that information about the project’s progress, challenges, and impediments is shared among team members and stakeholders. Inspection involves continuous evaluation of project deliverables and progress, enabling the team to identify deviations and assess the quality of work regularly. Adaptation, the third pillar, underscores the framework’s flexibility, allowing teams to adjust swiftly based on insights gained through inspection.

Complementing these pillars are five core Scrum values—commitment, courage, focus, openness, and respect—that guide the team’s behavior and foster a positive and collaborative work environment. Within this theoretical framework, roles such as the Scrum Master, Product Owner, and Development Team play crucial roles in facilitating communication, prioritizing tasks, and delivering incremental value. Overall, Scrum theory provides a robust foundation for agile teams, promoting continuous improvement, adaptability, and a commitment to delivering high-quality products.

How Many Phases Are There in Scrum

It’s essential to recognize that while these descriptions align with traditional project management phases, It operates with a more dynamic and iterative approach, promoting adaptability and responsiveness throughout the development process.

1. Initiation Phase:

The initiation phase in Scrum corresponds to the Sprint Planning meeting, usually held at the beginning of each sprint. During this phase, the Scrum Team, including the Product Owner, Scrum Master, and Development Team, collaborates to define the scope of work for the upcoming sprint. The Product Owner discusses the prioritized items from the product backlog, and the team collectively agrees on the tasks to be accomplished during the sprint. This phase sets the stage for the team to commence their work with a clear understanding of the goals and priorities.

2. Planning & Estimates Phase:

In Scrum, the planning and estimating activities are integrated into the Sprint Planning meeting. The team collectively plans the tasks, breaking them down into manageable units. Estimates are provided for each task to gauge the effort required for completion. This phase ensures that the team has a shared understanding of the work ahead and establishes a foundation for effective collaboration and task allocation.

3. Implementation Phase:

The implementation phase in Scrum corresponds to the core execution of tasks within the sprint. Development Team members work collaboratively to bring the prioritized product backlog items to completion. Daily stand-up meetings are conducted to ensure ongoing communication and coordination, addressing any impediments or challenges that arise during the implementation phase. This is the period when the actual product development takes place.

4. Review & Retrospective Phase:

At the end of each sprint, the Scrum Team enters the review and retrospective phase. The Sprint Review involves showcasing the completed work to stakeholders, including the Product Owner and potentially other relevant parties. Feedback is gathered, and any adjustments or refinements are discussed. Concurrently, the Sprint Retrospective is conducted internally within the team, focusing on the process and identifying improvements for the next sprint. This reflective phase ensures continuous learning and enhancement of the team’s efficiency.

5. Release Phase:

In Scrum, the concept of a formal “Release Phase” is more fluid compared to traditional project management. Releases can occur after the completion of any sprint where a potentially shippable product increment is available. The team collaborates with stakeholders to decide whether to release the completed features, providing flexibility in adapting to changing priorities and market demands. This phase emphasizes the iterative and customer-focused nature of Scrum, allowing for regular releases of valuable product increments.

It’s essential to recognize that while these descriptions align with traditional project management phases, It operates with a more dynamic and iterative approach, promoting adaptability and responsiveness throughout the development process.

Scrum Processes Step-By-Step Guide

The Scrum framework consists of several iterative and incremental processes that guide the development of a product or project. Here’s a step-by-step guide to the typical processes in Scrum:

1) Product Backlog Creation:

  • The Product Owner, often in collaboration with stakeholders, creates a prioritized list called the Product Backlog. This list contains all the features, enhancements, and fixes needed for the product.

2) Sprint Planning:

  • Before each sprint, the Scrum Team conducts a Sprint Planning meeting. This involves the Product Owner presenting the highest-priority items from the Product Backlog, and the team collaboratively deciding what can be achieved during the upcoming Sprint.

3) Sprint:

  • The Sprint is a time-boxed period (usually 2-4 weeks) during which the Scrum Team works to complete the items selected in the Sprint Planning. Daily stand-up meetings are held to discuss progress, challenges, and plans for the next 24 hours.

4) Daily Stand-up:

  • Each day during the Sprint, the Scrum Team holds a brief Daily Stand-up meeting. Team members answer three questions: What did I complete yesterday? What will I work on today? Are there any impediments or challenges?

5) Sprint Review:

  • At the end of the Sprint, the Scrum Team presents the completed work during a Sprint Review meeting. Stakeholders provide feedback, and the Product Owner updates the Product Backlog based on insights gained.

6) Sprint Retrospective:

  • Following the Sprint Review, the Scrum Team conducts a Sprint Retrospective. This is an opportunity for the team to reflect on the Sprint, identify what went well, discuss areas for improvement, and plan adjustments for the next Sprint.

7) Product Backlog Refinement:

  • Throughout the Sprint, the Product Owner and the team engage in ongoing Product Backlog Refinement. This involves reviewing and updating the backlog to ensure it remains relevant, prioritized, and aligned with changing requirements.

8) Incremental Development:

  • The Scrum Team focuses on delivering a potentially shippable product increment by the end of each Sprint. The product increment is a usable and valuable portion of the overall product.

9) Release Planning:

  • Depending on the project, the team may engage in Release Planning to determine when certain features or increments will be released. This involves forecasting based on the team’s velocity and the prioritized Product Backlog.

10) Adaptation and Iteration:

  • Scrum is an adaptive framework, and each Sprint provides an opportunity to inspect and adapt. The team continuously refines its processes, and the Product Backlog evolves based on changing requirements, feedback, and business priorities.

It’s important to note that Scrum is flexible, and its processes can be adapted based on the specific needs of the project or organization. Regular communication, collaboration, and a commitment to continuous improvement are key principles that guide the successful implementation of Scrum.

How Should scrum teams plan work to be performed within sprints?

Planning work for a Scrum team involves a series of steps that ensure a comprehensive approach to delivering the project objectives within the sprint timeframe. These steps include:

  • Creating a Product Backlog: The product backlog is a prioritized list of all the work that needs to be done to achieve the project goals. The Scrum team should create and maintain the product backlog, ensuring that it is updated regularly and reflects the current needs of the project.
  • Sprint Planning Meeting: This is a collaborative meeting where the Scrum team comes together to review the product backlog and determine what work can be completed during the upcoming sprint. The meeting should focus on defining the sprint goals and creating a sprint backlog, which is a list of tasks that need to be completed during the sprint to achieve the sprint goal.
  • Defining User Stories: User stories are concise, easy-to-understand descriptions of a feature or functionality from the perspective of the end-user. The Scrum team should use user stories to define the scope of work for each sprint backlog item, which helps to ensure that the team is aligned on the specific requirements and goals of the project.
  • Estimating Effort: Once the team has identified the tasks that need to be completed during the sprint, they should estimate the effort required to complete each task. This will help the team to prioritize the tasks and ensure that they are realistic and achievable within the sprint timeframe.
  • Assigning Tasks: With the sprint backlog and estimates in place, the team can assign tasks to individual team members. This helps to ensure that everyone has a clear understanding of their role and responsibilities within the sprint.
  • Daily Scrum Meeting: The team should meet daily to review progress and discuss any obstacles or challenges that may have arisen. This helps to ensure that the team is working together effectively and that any issues are addressed promptly.
  • Sprint Review: At the end of the sprint, the team should review the work that has been completed and demonstrate the completed work to stakeholders. This helps to ensure that the team is on track to achieve the project goals and that stakeholders are aware of the progress being made.
  • Sprint Retrospective: After the sprint review, the team should hold a retrospective meeting to discuss what went well, what didn’t go well, and what can be improved for the next sprint. This helps the team to continuously learn and improve their processes, which is a key aspect of the Scrum methodology.

The Scrum Team

The fundamental unit of scrum is the Scrum Team. The scrum team is a small network of people and consists of one product owner, one scrum master, and developers. Within a Scrum team, there are no hierarchies or sub-teams. It is an organized team of professionals focused on one goal, the Product Goal.

Principles of Scrum Methodology

It is one of the agile project management methodologies. At the centre of this framework, specifically designed to help teams efficiently work on complex projects with frequently changing requirements, lie constant improvement, adjustment, clear communication, and transparency.

What are the Key Scrum Principles?

  • Self-Organization/independence:

This scrum principle increases the level of independence of the whole team and also helps to assess their performance on tasks assigned to them.

  • Collaboration:

Collaboration boosts efficiency and helps team members complete tasks assigned to them on time.

  • Value-based prioritization:

In the scrum project management framework, tasks are constantly prioritized based on their importance and value for the company and end-users to determine the order in which the tasks need to be completed.

  • Timeboxing:

This implies scheduling and allocating time ranges for certain scrum activities. In the scrum project management framework, work is done in short release cycles called “sprints” (usually 2-4 weeks). The tasks are determined during sprint planning (1 to 2 hours), monitored and discussed at daily meetings (15 minutes), and evaluated during sprint reviews (1 to 2 hours)

  • Iterative development:

As product requirements in scrum are constantly being revised or adjusted, software development activities in this framework are also revisited, repeated, and reworked to create the best products for end-users.

What is the Scrum Guide?

The Scrum Guide is the handbook authored by Scrum founders, Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland, to guide users in using the Scrum agile framework. It is authored to help individuals, organizations, and teams generate value from complex problems by providing adaptive solutions.

What is Scrum of Scrums?

The Scrum of Scrums (SOS) is a scaling approach for Scrum, designed for larger groups exceeding 12 members, divided into agile teams of 5 to 10 individuals. Each daily scrum involves a chosen “ambassador” representing their team in a Scrum of Scrums meeting. This coordination strategy addresses inter-team work and dependencies, with representatives collaborating to resolve issues. While there are various approaches to conducting Scrum of Scrums, the key is selecting one that best suits the team’s needs. It doesn’t occur daily but only as needed, typically lasting 15 minutes. Participants answer questions similar to daily scrums, focusing on problem-solving and sharing updates that benefit other teams. An alternative process extends the SOS beyond the 15-minute timebox for more in-depth issue resolution.

What is the Purpose of Scrum of Scrums?

Scrum of Scrums (SOS) is a cross-team project management approach used when multiple development teams are involved. Its primary goal is to enhance team productivity and facilitate coordination among teams. SOS also serves as a platform for decision-making and problem-solving, addressing challenges such as work prioritization and product ownership. The agenda typically covers tasks accomplished, pending tasks, and obstacles faced by each development team. The frequency of SOS meetings is determined by the team, but daily sessions lasting up to 15 minutes are common. Participants include the Scrum master, product owner, representatives from each development team, and individuals responsible for release plan deliverables. The meeting aims to provide a clear direction for achieving project goals, allowing teams to set daily targets, identify potential issues, and collaboratively find solutions.

Essential Roles for Scrum Success

The Scrum Product owner

Product owners are the decision-makers for their products. They are focused on understanding market requirements, customers, and business and prioritizing the tasks to be completed by development teams accordingly. Effective product owners:

  • Manage and build the product backlog.
  • Closely partner with the business and development team to ensure everyone understands the tasks in the product backlog.
  • Give the team clear guidance on the features to deliver.
  • Decide when the products will be launched in the market.

The product owner may not necessarily be the product manager but focuses on ensuring that the development team delivers the most valuable products to the business.

The Scrum Master

They are the leaders within their teams. They oversee activities within their teams, coach product owners, teams, and the business on the scrum process, and look for ways to create a favourable conditions for all parties involved in the scrum process.
An effective scrum master deeply understands the work assigned to the team and can help the team work effectively to accomplish the task without much stress.
As the facilitator-in-charge, he/she schedules the needed resources for sprint planning, sprint review, stand-up, and the sprint retrospective.

The Scrum Development Team​

Scrum development teams get things done. They are the executors of sustainable development practices. The most effective scrum teams collaborate to get things done. Each team should consist of 5 to 7 members. One of the best ways to work out the size is to use the ‘two pizza rule’ coined by the CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos (the team should be small enough to share two pizzas).
Team members have different skill sets and complement each other in completing their tasks.
Strong scrum teams are self-organizing and understand the power of team spirit. All members help one another to ensure a successful project and sprint completion. The scrum team drives the plan for each sprint. They determine how much work they can complete within a time frame using their historical velocity as a guide. Team members have different skillsets and complement each other in completing their tasks.
Strong scrum teams are self-organizing and understand the power of team spirit. All members help one another to ensure a successful project and sprint completion. The scrum team drives the plan for each sprint. They determine how much work they can complete within a time frame using their historical velocity as a guide.

Agile Vs. Scrum: What’s the Difference?

Agile and Scrum, though often confused due to their similarities, represent distinct concepts in the realm of project management. Agile is a project management framework characterized by an iterative approach to project execution, founded on specific principles and values. On the other hand, Scrum is a specific agile process employed by project managers to deliver optimal value within a short timeframe. While Agile is a broad orientation or philosophy, Scrum serves as a focused methodology, providing a structured framework for work identification, task execution, and project completion.

The key distinction lies in their scope and application. Agile is a comprehensive philosophy guiding project management practices, while Scrum is a methodological approach within the agile framework, offering a specific set of values and principles to facilitate project management. Noteworthy differences include the breakdown of Scrum into smaller deliverables or sprints, contrasting with the end-of-project delivery typical in Agile. Additionally, Scrum incorporates specific roles like product owner and scrum master, while Agile embraces collaboration from cross-functional team members. Understanding these differences is essential for selecting the most suitable approach for a given project’s unique needs.

Kanban Vs. Scrum

Scrum and Kanban, often mistakenly used interchangeably, represent distinct project management methodologies with subtle differences. Scrum, an agile methodology, breaks down tasks into achievable units within short time frames, relying on roles like the product owner, scrum master, and team members. Kanban, on the other hand, is a workflow organization tool emphasizing efficiency through task breakdown on a visual Kanban board.

Both methodologies excel at simplifying complex projects into manageable tasks. The distinctions lie in iteration and scheduling priorities, with Scrum emphasizing fixed time frames and Kanban adopting a continuous flow approach. Roles and responsibilities also vary, as Scrum necessitates specific roles like product owner, scrum master, and cross-functional team, while Kanban allows flexibility in role assignment. Moreover, the boards used in Scrum and Kanban, although similar, differ in labelling and ownership structures. Recognizing these differences is crucial for choosing the most suitable approach for a given project’s unique requirements.


Scrum is a popular agile framework in product management and development, which helps to bring and create maximum business value within the shortest possible time. It might be the perfect methodology for you if your organization is looking for a lightweight team-based approach to agile product management. But if your organization’s culture tilts towards upfront planning and your executive stakeholders prefer a top-down approach to decision-making rather than an organic team-based approach, then it probably isn’t the right agile project management framework choice for you.

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