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How to implement a Scrum workflow

Scrum Events in Miro

What is a Scrum workflow?

A Scrum workflow involves a set of ceremonies, roles, and artifacts that help teams organize their work and deliver results in short cycles called sprints.

The workflow centers around Scrum, a framework within the Agile methodology. It allows teams to get work done in small batches instead of in one go. It improves accountability, offers flexibility, and helps teams continually improve their products and services.

A Scrum workflow (also known as a sprint workflow or an Agile workflow) involves incorporating the Scrum principles into your business processes. It helps teams deliver high-quality work that provides as much value as possible to the business and the end user.

Let’s use product development as an example to show how the Scrum framework can apply to a business workflow.

To incorporate Scrum into your product development process, you start by breaking the process down into iterations (known as Sprints). These iterations incorporate all the stages of your product development workflow, which might include the following:

  • Ideation

  • Research

  • Planning

  • Prototyping

  • Testing

  • Costing

  • Creation

Each iteration can last anywhere from one to four weeks. At the end of each iteration, the product development team reviews the successes and failures, as well as creates a new plan of action for the next iteration.

What are the benefits of using a Scrum workflow?

Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of using a Scrum workflow in your business.

Learn and improve as you go

Unlike a traditional workflow, a Scrum workflow allows you to work in small sprints. This means that you can frequently reflect on and make improvements to your processes.

Put customers at the heart of your work

The Scrum framework focuses on how to deliver the most value to your end user. By incorporating this sentiment into your business workflows, you constantly think about how your processes will impact the customer and how you can offer them a better experience.

Improve cross-functional collaboration

Collaboration is at the heart of Scrum. This framework encourages teams to play their part and work together to achieve common goals.

Increase accountability

There’s no confusion about who needs to do what with the Scrum framework. It’s clear from the outset who’s responsible for certain tasks and activities, and this encourages team members to take responsibility for their work.

How many steps are in a Scrum workflow?

There are four main events during each Sprint cycle. These are the Sprint planning event, the daily Scrum, the Sprint review, and the Sprint retrospective. Let’s take a look at each in more detail:

Sprint planning

The Sprint planning event is the kickoff event for the sprint. It’s a planning meeting that involves the entire Scrum team. In the session, you’ll outline what you’ll deliver in the current Sprint and what work needs to happen for you to reach your goal.

Daily Scrum

A daily Scrum (or daily standup) is a short meeting that takes place every day during the Sprint to check on progress. It’s a chance for the Scrum team to make sure they’re on track to meet the work in the Sprint backlog and adjust as needed.

Sprint review

The Sprint review takes place at the end of the Sprint. It allows the Scrum team to review completed work and gather actionable feedback from stakeholders. It’s useful for determining whether the Sprint was successful in meeting its goals.

Sprint retrospective

The Sprint retrospective happens before the next Sprint goes live. It’s a chance for the team to review what went well in the previous sprint, what didn’t go to plan, and how to improve going forward.

If you’re wondering how each of these elements fits into your Scrum workflow, don’t worry. Our next section covers everything you need to know.

How to launch a Scrum workflow

We’ve covered what a Scrum workflow is and the benefits of using this framework in your business. Now, let’s walk through how to implement a Scrum workflow in your business.

Identify roles

The first step is to understand the standardized roles of a Scrum team and assign those roles to the right people.

Here are the three roles you need to consider:

Product Owner

The Product Owner is in charge of maximizing the value that the product (or process) brings to the business and the end user. They’re responsible for the who, what, and why of a Scrum workflow (why the process is important, who it’s for, and what it should include). Their responsibilities include setting goals, maintaining the product backlog, and collecting feedback. They have the final say on any strategic decisions.

Development team

The development team (also known as developers) is in charge of executing the activities within the sprint. In other words, they’re responsible for performing all the activities within the workflow. Their responsibilities include managing the Sprint backlog items, adapting work based on feedback during the daily Scrum meetings, and contributing to the Sprint goal.

The ideal size for a development team is between three and nine people (not including the Product Owner and the Scrum Master). Any more than nine, and the Sprints will be complex and hard to manage.

Scrum Master

The Scrum Master is in charge of making sure all the Sprints run smoothly. They should have a thorough understanding of the Scrum framework and be able to coach other Scrum team members to follow it effectively. Their other responsibilities include motivating the team to complete their work, maintaining Scrum values, and mitigating distractions that might prevent the Scrum team from reaching their goals.

Now that you know more about the different Scrum roles, you can assign these roles to members of your team.

To effectively allocate Scrum roles, find team members that have the right skills.

Let’s use the development team as an example. They manage the activities and make sure the work gets done, so they need to be organized. To give your Sprints the best chance of success, you should aim to recruit a development team of organized people. If you don’t, the entire Scrum will be in jeopardy.

It’s also important to note that these roles don’t have any correlation to job titles. People of any job title can perform these tasks as long as they have the skills, knowledge, and experience to do them well.

Host a Sprint planning session

With all the Scrum roles in place, you can now turn your attention to the Sprint planning session.

Here’s what happens during this session:

  • First, the Product Owner updates the Scrum team on the current situation. They review the Sprint goals, share updates, and notify the team of any important changes for the Sprint ahead.

  • The Product Owner then presents the product backlog and explains which tasks on the backlog will be prioritized in the current Sprint. These tasks form the Sprint backlog. Use our free Product Backlog Template to create a simple and efficient backlog for your Scrum team.

  • The Scrum team reviews each backlog item individually. During this stage, the team also reviews resources (including budget and capacity) to make sure they can successfully action the backlog items.

  • Next, the team defines any dependencies between the work needed to convert a backlog item into a working product increment (the product increment is the total sum of all the backlog items completed during a sprint).

  • With all this information, the Scrum team can determine the length of each sprint. Sprints are time-boxed periods of anywhere from one week to one month. Their duration can vary based on what’s included in them.

  • To measure your Sprint’s success, you need to set goals and measurements. These will help you track performance while the Sprint is live and measure success when it’s over. You can use the SMART goals framework to create clear, measurable goals for your sprints.

  • Finally, you’ll confirm the plan with the Scrum team to make sure everyone’s happy with the new direction.

Clearly, there are many moving parts to a Scrum workflow. To make the process easier to manage, consider using an online collaborative tool, where Scrum teams can track all this information and store it in a central location. Teams can access crucial information about Sprints to see how they are performing, even if members work remotely.

With Miro you can also streamline the Scrum process by integrating Jira cards to make it easier to spot dependencies and track progress.

Launch the Sprint

With the planning session now behind you, you can launch the sprint and get to work.

During the Sprint, your team will complete their tasks based on the items in the Sprint backlog. Everyone will know what their role is and what the outcome of the Sprint should be.

If using Miro to manage the process, teams will be able to track iterations and work together in real time. Take a look at our Official 5-Day Design Sprint as an example.

Teams can use the template to manage their upcoming Sprint. Anyone working on the Sprint can easily access the online board and instantly see how things are progressing — which is particularly useful for the Scrum Master.

If things aren’t going to plan or are falling behind, the Scrum Master can put measures in place to get things back on track. Without this level of visibility, it’ll be harder for the Scrum Master to identify these challenges.

Run your daily standups

While the iterations are live, you’ll need to run your daily Scrum meetings with the entire development team.

Here are some best practices when running the daily Scrum:

Stick to the timeframe

A short and sweet meeting will help you stick to the most important updates and free up more time to work on the Sprint. Ideally, the meeting will last between 10 and 15 minutes. If it’s too long, you might find yourself covering information that’s not vital to the Sprint’s progress.

Host it at the same time every day

To help your team get into the habit of daily meetings, try hosting the meeting at the same time every day. Whether that’s first thing in the morning or at the end of the day — stick to the same time for consistency.

Keep the topic on track

Facilitate the meeting to make sure the Scrum team stays on track. You need to turn the conversation back to the Sprint if it starts to veer away.

Conduct a Sprint retrospective

When the work is over, you’ll perform a retrospective to reflect on the success of the Sprint and identify improvements. Whatever you learn from this retrospective will inform your Sprints going forward.

Here are a few tips for running a successful retrospective:

Use a template

Start by using a ready-made template to streamline the process. This allows you to hop right in after the Sprint and perform your retrospective without delay. Take a look at some of our retrospective templates to see what format would work for you and your Scrum team.

Review what went well

Start by reflecting on what went well. Did you reach your Sprint goal? Did your development team work well together? Was the final product well-received by the end user? Whatever they are, pinpoint those areas of success. This information will be important for your future Sprints.

Analyze what to improve

After looking at the successes, take some time to review what could have gone better. Were there any bottlenecks in the workflow? Did the Scrum team struggle to deliver the Sprint on time? Has the end user had any problems with the final product? All of this information is helpful for improving your Sprints going forward.

Identify action for the future

Consider your successes and improvements and identify how you’ll tackle Sprints going forward. Focus on replicating what went well and improving on the areas that didn’t go to plan.

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