SCRUM Guide Notes

Notes for the Professional Scrum Master I (PSM I) certification.

SCRUM Theory

Three pillars uphold every implementation of empirical process control: transparency, inspection, and adaptation.

Transparency: Common agreement before project, definition of done

Inspection: Scrum users must frequently inspect Scrum artifacts and progress toward a Sprint Goal to detect undesirable variances

Adaptation: Sprint review, daily scrum, Sprint planning, and Sprint retrospective


Product Owner

The Product Owner is the sole person responsible for managing the Product Backlog. He or she may represent a committee

  • Orders the items in the Product Backlog to best achieve goals and missions
  • Optimizes the value of the work the Development Team performs
  • Ensures that the Product Backlog is visible, transparent, and clear to all, and shows what the Scrum Team will work on next
  • Ensures the Development Team understands items in the Product Backlog to the level needed

Development Team (3 – 9 people)

Development teams have the following characteristics:

  • They are self-organizing. No one (not even the Scrum Master) tells the Development Team how to turn Product Backlog into Increments of potentially releasable functionality;
  • Development Teams are cross-functional, with all of the skills as a team necessary to create a product Increment;
  • Scrum recognizes no titles for Development Team members other than Developer, regardless of the work being performed by the person; there are no exceptions to this rule;
  • Scrum recognizes no sub-teams in the Development Team, regardless of particular domains that need to be addressed like testing or business analysis; there are no exceptions to this rule; and,
  • Individual Development Team members may have specialized skills and areas of focus, but accountability belongs to the Development Team as a whole.

Scrum master

Scrum master facilitates and removes the impediments, serves a team in achieving the best productivity possible.

Q: What is the main reason for the Scrum Master to be at the Daily Scrum?
A: He or she does not have to be there; he or she only has to ensure the Development Team has a Daily Scrum.

Sprint (1-month or less time-boxed)

The heart of Scrum is a Sprint, a time-box of one month or less during which a “Done”, usable, and potentially releasable product Increment is created. This applies to every Sprint.

During a Sprint, a Development Team determines that it will not be able to finish the complete forecast.

A new Sprint starts immediately after the conclusion of the previous Sprint.

Q: Who should be present to review and adjust the Sprint work selected?
A: The Product Owner and the Development Team

Cancelling a Sprint

  • Sprint can be cancelled if the Sprint goal becomes obsolete
  • Sprint can be cancelled before Sprint time-box is over
  • Sprint must be cancelled by the Product Owner
  • It rarely happens as the Sprint duration is relatively short

Sprint Planning (8-hour time-boxed for a one-month Sprint)

Sprint Planning answers the following:

What can be done this Sprint?

Input: Product backlog, latest product increment, capacity of development team, performance of development team

Output: Decide the Sprint goal and select product backlog items for the next Sprint

How will the chosen work get done?

Sprint goal: Done increment

Sprint backlog: Product backlog items selected for this Sprint + plan for delivering it

Daily Scrum (15-minutes time-boxed)

  • Same time every day to reduce complexity
  • Development Team is responsible for conducting the Daily Scrum, not the Scrum Master
  • Only Development Team members participate
  • The Scrum Master enforces the rule that only Development Team members participate in the Daily Scrum.
Q: Who is required to attend the Daily Scrum
A: Development team

Sprint Review (4-hour time-boxed for one-month Sprint)

  • It is a valuable input to the next Sprint planning
  • The Scrum Master teaches all to keep it within the time-box
  • Attendees: Scrum Team and key stakeholders
  • Development team demonstrates the work that has “done”
  • Output : Product Backlog for next Sprint

Sprint Retrospective (3-hour time-boxed for one-month Sprints)

The purpose of the Sprint Retrospective is to:

  • Inspect how the last Sprint went
  • Identify and order the major items that went well and potential improvements
  • Create a plan for implementing improvements to the way the Scrum Team does its work
  • Scrum Team plans ways to increase product quality by adapting the definition of “Done” as appropriate


  • Scrum team should identify improvements for the next Sprint

Scrum Artifacts

Product Backlog

The Product Backlog is a list of everything related to product such as all features, functions, requirements, enhancements, and fixes. It is an evolving artifact as the requirements, market conditions, or technology always change. There is only one Product Backlog for the same project even if there are multiple Scrum Teams.

Product Backlog refinement and update

  • Who is responsible? Product Owner and the Development Team
  • Who is responsible for updating items and when? Product Owner and at any time
  • How refinement is done? By collaborating on adding detail, estimates, and order to items in the Product Backlog
  • How about the order? Higher ordered items are clearer and more detailed
  • Who is responsible for estimates? The Development Team is responsible for all estimates

Monitoring progress 

Monitoring is based on experience derived from what has happened at previous Sprint. The Product Owner compares the amount with work remaining at previous Sprint Reviews. This is transparent to all stakeholders. Charts are also useful practices to forecast the progress. However, they do not deal with the uncertainty and unknown in complex projects.

Sprint Backlog

The Sprint Backlog is the set of Product Backlog items selected for the Sprint and a plan for it.

  • It is real-time picture of the work that the Development Team plans to accomplish during the Sprint,
  • It is modified throughout the Sprint
  • As new work is required, the Development Team adds it to the Sprint Backlog
  • Only the Development Team can change its Sprint Backlog during a Sprint
  • The Development Team tracks this total work remaining at least for every Daily Scrum to project the likelihood of achieving the Sprint Goal.


The Increment is the sum of all the Product Backlog items completed during a Sprint. It must be in useable condition regardless of whether the Product Owner decides to actually release it.

Artifact Transparency

The Scrum Master’s job is to work with the Scrum Team and the organization to increase the transparency of the artifacts. This work usually involves learning, convincing, and change. Transparency doesn’t occur overnight, but is a path.

Definition of “Done”

Scrum Team should have common understanding for Definition of “Done”. Each Increment is additive to all prior Increments and thoroughly tested, ensuring that all Increments work together. Any one product or system should have a definition of “Done” that is a standard for any work done on it.

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