People often ask me, “how exactly do you guys do scrum?” This is a very tough question to answer because every development team within Atlassian has a slightly different answer depending on their size, skill sets, experience, requirements, etc.. As each team evolves, so do their processes, techniques and tools.
Despite their uniqueness, many agile teams leverage the scrum framework to constantly inspect and adapt to their ever-changing needs. It’s not surprising that most of the teams rely on GreenHopper for their scrum planning because it is a flexible planning tool which can adapt to their needs as they grow.

The Scrum Framework

At the core, the scrum framework consists of three roles, three artefacts and four ceremonies or meetings. The roles include the development team, the scrum master and the product owner, and they each interact with the three artefacts via GreenHopper on a daily basis. GreenHopper is also especially useful during each of the four ceremonies.

Three Scrum Artefacts

  • Product Backlog – The product backlog is displayed on the Planning Board. Every issue in the project is shown as a colour-coded card on the backlog. The team can decide on the exact fields to display in various viewing options.
    product-backlog.png
    The product owner manages the backlog, keeping all priorities up to date by dragging cards up and down the list.
  • Sprint Backlogsprint-backlog.pngThe sprint backlog consists of all the cards scheduled during one particular iteration. It can be viewed on either planning board (see below) or the task board.
    During the sprint, the development team uses the “To Do” column of the task board to determine which items need to be worked on next. Developer claim tasks by simply dragging them into the “in progress” column.
  • Burndown Chart – The chart board displays not only the typical “issues” burndown, but also burndown charts for hours, story points or any other metric that the team wishes to display.
    burdown-1.png

Four Scrum Ceremonies

  • The Daily Scrum (aka the Standup) – This brief ’round-the-horn meeting typically takes place in front of a wallboard on a big flat panel display. The wallboard shows the task board in full screen mode so the development team can clearly see any issues flagged as blockers that need to be brought to the attention of the scrum master.
  • The Planning Meeting – This time-boxed session usually involves analysis, discussion and debate (sometime arguments) amongst the entire team in order to estimate the top items on the product backlog and plan the sprint.
    Some teams use t-shirt sizes while others story points and planning poker to collectively agree on effort required to complete each item on the backlog. In some cases, additional tasks are added to further decompose larger user stories into manageable chunks by creating sub-tasks. Throughout the meeting, the scrum master enters the values directly onto each card for real-time statistics on the planning board.
    estimation.png
    planning-with-markers.pngThe scrum master also adds a version for the next sprint and typically adjusts one or more markers on the product backlog to indicate the teams projected capacity for the sprint. Markers can be set for card counts, story points, estimated hours or any other metric the team is tracking.
    Once enough items are estimated (and maybe a little extra), the marker is dragged onto the target sprint and all the cards are scheduled for that sprint.
  • The Sprint Review – This meeting takes place at the end of the iteration and is focused on demonstrating the functionality built during the sprint. Some teams may use a context to filter the planning board show a list of all completed items for the team to run through. Add any comments, feedback, bugs or new work items directly during the meeting.create-via-legend.png
  • The Retrospectiveadd-field.pngDuring this meeting the team reflects on how they can improve the way they work. Teams will typically review the burndown and value charts to evaluate the teams velocity.
    In some cases, the team may decide to add a metric like business value or UI complexity in order to assist with estimation and prioritisation.

Give GreenHopper a go

To learn more about GreenHopper, try it free for 30 days or play around in the JIRA Sandbox.
Small agile teams can get started for just $10.
Install or upgrade GreenHopper in just seconds using the Universal Plugin Manager for JIRA.

Going to Agile 2010?

Be sure to drop by our booth at Agile 2010 in Orlando, FL (August 9-13, 2010) to learn more about how Atlassian does agile.

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