The Scrum Framework defines a set of artifacts that are used to help manage and plan a project. Each artifact has a specific purpose in helping to deliver a successful Scrum project. In this blog post, we will take a closer look at each artifact and discuss how they can be used to help your team achieve success.
What Are Scrum Artifacts?
Scrum artifacts are those items that help the team members to visualize and track the progress of their work. These can be in the form of physical objects, documents, or even digital tools. Scrum artifacts help to ensure that everyone is on the same page and aware of the team's goals. They can also be used to identify areas where improvement is needed. There are seven main scrum artifacts: product vision, product backlog, sprint vision, sprint backlog, burn-down chart, product increment, the definition of done, retrospectives, and sprint goal. Each of these artifacts serves a different purpose, but all of them contribute to the overall goal of making sure that the team is functioning effectively.
- Product Vision: A product vision is an artifacts used in Scrum that describes what the product should be and why it is valuable. It is typically created by the product owner and shared with the development team. The product vision provides guidance for the development of the product and can help to ensure that everyone is working towards the same goal. It is important to note that the product vision should not be too detailed or specific, as it may need to change as the product evolves. However, it should be clear enough to provide direction for the development team. A well-written product vision can be a powerful tool for ensuring that a product meets the needs of its users.
- Product Backlog: In Scrum, the product backlog is a prioritized list of work needed to be completed in order to reach the product goal. The product owner is responsible for maintaining the product backlog and ensuring that it accurately reflects the current priorities. The product backlog can be thought of as a living document that is constantly being updated as new information arises. It is important to note that the product backlog is not static and should be revisited on a regular basis in order to ensure that it accurately reflects the current state of the product. The product backlog is an essential tool in Scrum and should be used in conjunction with the sprint backlog in order to ensure efficient and effective progress towards the product goal.
Product backlog items can be User Stories, Tasks or general Issues. The product backlog can also contain technical items such as architecture diagrams, prototypes, etc. that the Development Team may need in order to deliver the functionality required by the user stories. The product backlog is not static but constantly evolves as more is learned about the product and its users. Prioritisation of product backlog items is done by the product owner with input from the development team and stakeholders. The development team pulls items from the top of the product backlog in order to work on them in each sprint. As each sprint progresses, the development team's understanding of what is required to implement a user story usually becomes more refined and it may result in one or more new user stories being added to the product backlog or splitting of an existing user story into multiple smaller user stories.
- Sprint Vision: The Sprint Vision is a short, high-level description of what the team plans to accomplish during the upcoming sprint. The Sprint Vision should be clear and concise, and it should be achievable within the time frame of the sprint. The Sprint Vision is created by the product owner and is shared with the development team at the beginning of each sprint. The Sprint Vision helps to guide the development team during the sprint and can be used to track progress and identify potential problems. Ultimately, the Sprint Vision is an important tool for ensuring that the team remains focused and on track during the sprint.
- Sprint Backlog: The Sprint Backlog is a list of tasks that need to be completed during the sprint. The backlog is generated by the product owner and is based on the goal for the sprint. The product owner then assigns tasks to team members. The backlog is divided into three categories: must-haves, should-haves, and could-haves. The must-haves are the tasks that are essential for the sprint goal and must be completed in order for the sprint to be considered successful. The should haves are tasks that would be nice to have but are not essential. The could haves are tasks that may or may not be completed depending on time and resources.
The sprint backlog should be dynamic and flexible, as it may need to be updated during the sprint based on new information or changes in priorities. A few examples of items that might be included in the sprint backlog are user stories, bug fixes, technical tasks, and research tasks. The sprint backlog is an important Scrum artifact because it provides visibility into the work that needs to be done during the sprint and helps to ensure that everyone is on the same page.
- Burn-Down Chart: A burn-down chart is a Scrum artifacts that visually represents the amount of work remaining to be done in a sprint. The chart starts with the total amount of work to be completed and then tracks the progress made over time as work is completed and new work is added. The end goal is to "burn down" all of the work to zero by the end of the sprint. Burn-down charts are useful for keeping track of progress and identifying any potential problems that may arise during a sprint.
The chart consists of two lines: the actual line, which shows the actual amount of work remaining to be done, and the ideal line, which shows the amount of work that should have been completed at each point in time. The goal of the Scrum team is to keep the actual line as close to the ideal line as possible. If the actual line deviates too far from the ideal line, it indicates that the project is in trouble and corrective action needs to be taken.
- Product Increment: Product Increment is a working, tested version of the software that contains all the features required for the increment. In order to create a product increment, the team must first complete a sprint. During the sprint, they will develop and test the software, ensuring that it meets all the necessary criteria. Once the sprint is complete, the product increment is created and delivered to the customer. Product increments are an important part of Scrum because they allow teams to deliver value early and often. This way, customers can provide feedback on the product and help to shape its development.
- Definition of Done: The "Definition of Done" is a shared understanding of what it means for a product increment to be complete. This definition is created and agreed upon by the development team, and it may vary from one team to another. However, there are some common elements that are typically included in a Definition of Done. For example, all code must be reviewed and approved by peer before it can be considered "done." In addition, all unit tests must be passing, and all documentation must be up-to-date. The Definition of Done is an important tool for ensuring that the development team is always on the same page with regard to what needs to be done in order to consider a product increment complete.
- Retrospectives: Scrum retrospectives are a chance for the team to reflect on their work and identify ways to improve. This artifact is used to help the team identify what went well, what could be improved, and what actions they can take to make changes. The retrospective should be conducted at the end of each sprint, and it should be open and honest. All team members should feel free to share their thoughts and ideas, and the team should agree on a plan of action before moving forward. By taking the time to reflect on their work, the team can continually improve their process and deliver better results.
The retrospective can take many different forms, but it typically involves four main steps: Reflect, Identify, Decide, and Close. In the Reflect step, team members take time to think about their work and identify both positive and negative experiences. In the Identify step, they share these experiences with each other and discuss potential improvements. In the Decide step, they select one or more areas to focus on in the next sprint. Finally, in the Close step, they review their actions from the previous sprint and make any necessary adjustments. The retrospective is an important tool for continuous improvement and helps to ensure that Scrum teams are always learning and growing.
- Sprint Goal: In Scrum, the sprint goal is a short, one-sentence statement of what the team plans to achieve during the sprint. The sprint goal should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). The sprint goal is used to guide the team's efforts during the sprint and provide a sense of shared purpose. It is important to note that the sprint goal is not a list of features or tasks to be completed; rather, it is a goal that encompasses all of the work to be done in the sprint. The sprint goal should be communicated to all members of the team at the beginning of the sprint so that everyone is aware of what needs to be accomplished.
For example, if a team is working on a new software application, a sprint goal might be to complete the login functionality by the end of the sprint. This goal is specific, measurable (the team will know whether or not the login functionality is complete), achievable (it is realistic to expect that the team can complete this task within the sprint), relevant (the login functionality is necessary for the application to be used), and time-bound (the team has a specific timeframe in which to complete the task). Having a clear and concise sprint goal helps to keep the team focused and on track during the sprint.
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