What is Scrum?

Scrum is an Agile method for completing complex projects in a methodical way. It was originally created to help software development teams design more sustainable software products, but can applied to any type of complex, project-driven work. The Scrum framework includes Scrum Teams and their associated roles, events, artifacts, and rules. Each element of the framework serves a specific purpose and is essential to Scrum’s success and usage.

Read to learn the basic elements of Scrum, and how they can help your team deliver more value, faster.

Definition of Scrum

According to the Scrum Guide, the definition of Scrum is:

Scrum (n): “A framework within which people can address complex adaptive problems, while productively and creatively delivering products of the highest possible value.”

Scrum is:

  • Lightweight
  • Simple to understand
  • Difficult to master

It is lightweight, in that Scrum teams work to eliminate waste by planning work only two weeks in advance. This allows for more flexibility and adaptability than other methods, including

It is simple to understand, in that it relies on a few very basic principles:

  • Develop iteratively
  • Optimize predictability
  • Control risk
  • Practice process control through transparency, inspection, and adaptation

It is difficult to master, because the Scrum values of commitment, courage, focus, openness, and respect require individuals and teams to hold themselves to a high, disciplined standard of conduct.

Scrum 101

Here are some of the essential elements of Scrum and how they help Scrum teams achieve their goals.

Product Backlog

The Product Owner is responsible for guiding teams to maximize the value of the product. They are the sole owner of the Product Backlog, which is a list of possible improvements or additions to the product. Storing improvement ideas in the backlog helps teams move through work in a systematic, prioritized, value-driven way.

Sprint Planning

Scrum teams operate in set periods of time, called sprints, usually lasting between two to four weeks. Sprint planning is a time dedicated to planning all the work to be done during a sprint. During this time, teams will decide how to implement the work (taken from the Product Backlog), and will delegate roles and assignments accordingly. Sprint planning helps teams define goals, set expectations, and scope out the work to be done during the sprint.


Sprints contain the following elements:

  • Sprint planning, described above
  • Daily Scrums - daily meetings to reflect and plan the day ahead
  • Working on projects
  • Sprint Review and Retrospective

During the sprint, teams stay focused on the goals and objectives decided during sprint planning. No changes are made that would endanger the sprint goal. The ScrumMaster works to keep the team focused on the sprint goal, ensuring that no changes are made that would endanger the sprint goal.

Daily Scrum

The Daily Scrum is a short, time-boxed meeting where Scrum teams synchronize their activities and create a plan for the day. This meeting is held at the same time and place every day to reduce complexity. The purpose of these meetings is to help teams stay on track for delivering the sprint goal on time and on value.


The ScrumMaster is responsible for ensuring that teams are adhering to Scrum rules, roles, and practices.

Sprint Review and Retrospective

The sprint ends with a sprint review and a sprint retrospective. Both of these events offer Scrum teams time to inspect the work done during the sprint, adapt the Product Backlog as needed, and discuss opportunities for improvement for future sprints.

The Cycle Continues

As the next sprint begins, the team chooses more work from the Product Backlog and begins working again.

Learn More

To learn more about Scrum, Agile, and how LeanKit can help you work smarter and faster, we recommend the following resources:

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