What is Scrum and How is it Scrum Used?

I will kick off the fall by writing a series of blog posts on Scrum, Agile and User Centred design. This was one of my favourite research topics a few years ago, and I collaborated with excellent Marta Larusdottir from Reykjavik University in a studies around this.

Without doubt Scrum is the dominating systems development method in Sweden today. The name “Scrum”, is borrowed from Rugby where a Scrum formation is the one in the image of this blog post. The team is supposed to work tightly together as in this formation, one could guess :-). One can also guess that you are supposed to be male as a member of the team, as the majority of people who play rugby are male 😛

Scrum is really a very simple set of rules, as defined by for example Mike Cohn and presented in the image below:

Scrum .png

Scrum contains a whole set of roles and procedures too that you are recommended to follow, and of course these have unique and special names to make the concept more unique.

Many companies say that they use Scrum, or a Scrumish method. This could mean that they use one part of Scrum, or all of Scrum. We really did not know how organisations used Scrum, so we set up a study to find some answers.

In one of our studies Marta Larusdottir, Yuan Jia and I therefor tried to find out what parts of the Scrum method people use and hos usability is incorporated in the work. You find the below presented results in the following publication:

Yuan Jia, Marta Kristin Larusdottir and Åsa Cajander. (2012). The Usage of Usability Techniques in Scrum Projects. International Conference on Human-Centred Software Engineering, Toulouse, France.

We found out that the usage of the different fundamental activities and roles varied quite a lot. This is presented in the table below. A very large majority used sprint planning, whereas quite few used the burn-down charts. However, one can conclude that the percentage of people who said they used the different methods was generally quite high. There were no companies that claimed that they used Scrum, and then skipped large parts of the fundamental activites.

scrum activities .png