On Tuesday, Aaron Farr of JadeTower gave a very entertaining and informative overview of Scrum. Drawing on experience gained from working in Scrum teams at Siemens, Aaron was able to provide a thorough insight into the process.
Aaron opened by discussing how Scrum is a lightweight process that manages the chaos associated with building software. This chaos is controlled by providing guidelines designed to limit the impact. Various roles are necessary to enable this including a Product Owner, Scrum Master and Scrum Team.
Scrum is an iterative style of development where certain pieces of functionality are delivered in a fixed period of time known as Sprints. Aaron introduced the notion of a Product Backlog which is held in user stories and can be estimated and prioritised. The product backlog is defined during the planning meeting that occurs prior to the commencement of a sprint. The sprint runway was also discussed which clearly defines work that is to be complete.
Some interesting questions were raised as to how stories should be estimated. The two concepts are intuitive hours and the somewhat abstract idea of story points. Either way story estimates help determine velocity which can be used to create burndown charts.
Aaron ended the evening with a highly interactive session in which he demonstrated the creation of stories that were subsequently estimated. In this entertaining session he asked for input from people to determine the relative size of each story. That is, the size of each story in comparison to other stories that were estimated. The first story chosen was used as a baseline to estimate the size of subsequent stories.
Aaron has kindly put his slides on Slideshare. He also suggested people refer to the Scrum Checklists on InfoQ for more information in the way of mini-books about Scrum. Aaron also made reference during his presentation to the page You Aren’t Gonna Need It hosted on C2.