Artifacts, Roles, and Ceremonies – What Makes Up Scrum?

November 12, 2012

At Braintrust, we like to say that Scrum is simply a collection of artifacts, roles, and ceremonies. Once you understand that list and how they work together, you can do Scrum. Today’s post gives a very brief description of what comprises each category.

Let’s start with the roles. There are three basic roles in Scrum. The heart and soul is the ScrumMaster. The rough equivalent in traditional project management is the Project Manager. If one sentence were used to sum up the duties of the ScrumMaster, it is that they facilitate the Scrum process as servant leader. A ScrumMaster also acts as an information radiator to the Stakeholders and clears roadblocks out of the team’s way.

The folks who do the real work of developing the product are the Team Members. A Sprint team is ideally comprised of 5-9 members. The three characteristics of the team is that they are self-managing, self-organizing, and cross-functional.  

The Product Owner is the liaison between the Scrum Team and the customer. To the team, the Product Owner is the voice of the customer. The Product Owner has strategic oversight of the product from the team’s perspective. They are involved in product planning through visioning, road-mapping, and release planning. In general, the Product Owner works with Stakeholders and project sponsors to perform this high-level planning.

The ceremonies are the activities that make up Scrum. The first of these is the Sprint Planning Meeting. This is the meeting where the objectives of the upcoming Sprint are defined. This meeting is attended by the Product Owner, ScrumMaster, and Team Members. This is held at the beginning of each Sprint. 

The Daily Stand-Up Meeting is the most granular of the Sprint ceremonies. In it, the Team Members get together, perhaps with the ScrumMaster, and each person answers three basic questions: What did you do yesterday, what are you doing today, and what are your roadblocks or obstacles. This is a very short meeting held each day of the Sprint. 

The Sprint Review meeting is the culmination of the work accomplished during the Sprint. In this meeting, the team has the opportunity to demonstrate the solutions that they have developed during the Sprint. This meeting is attended by the Team Members, the ScrumMaster, the Product Owner, and the customer. This is held once at the end of each Sprint.

The Sprint Retrospective is the last ceremony held to wrap up a Sprint cycle. Its purpose is to give the team an opportunity to share lessons learned. The desired outcome is to improve the team’s interaction for future Sprint cycles by learning how the process can be improved within the team’s operations.
The artifacts are the objects that are produced as part of Scrum. The first of these, the Sprint Backlog, is the list of features to be implemented for a Sprint iteration. It is created by the Team Members during the Sprint Planning meeting.
To track progress during a Sprint against the Sprint Backlog, the Sprint Burndown Chart is used. This is generally a graphical depiction, in chart format, of the percentage of items completed.
The Product Owner tracks progress for the entire project on a Burnup Chart. This gives the customers and stakeholders a quick view of how much work remains in the project.
The Team Members typically use a Kanban or Scrum board to track the progress of individual items. It has an additional benefit of limiting the amount of work in progress so that the team remains focused on what they’re currently working on.
Ready to learn more? Let Braintrust help! With our experienced team of Scrum coaches, Braintrust can get your team up to speed on Agile methodologies quickly and efficiently. We also have courses offered at regular intervals for each role on the Scrum Team. Click on the Contact page to hear from one of our product specialists. Or, head over to the Services tab to find out more about our offerings.


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