Want to keep your team and the stakeholders aligned during your project? Ever tried considering the use of scrum artifacts in your business? Using scrum artifacts is necessary for your scrum team if you care about the success of your projects. They also can inspire productivity in the era of digital offices.
Here in this article, we will elaborate on scrum artifacts and will tell you how you can use them.
What is a Scrum Artifact?
Artifact has quite a different concept when we analyze its meaning in the dynamic world of software development. It no longer means having objects remaining from a particular period, like prehistoric artifacts, a definition provided by Merriam Webster. Instead, in software, it means the amount of essential data that a business gathers during a project.
A scrum artifact is a set of information used by a scrum team to describe the product or service being launched, the steps taken to create it, and the actions required during its production. Such a scrum artifact gives you some clues about the performance of a sprint. Scrum artifacts are integral to scrum teams because they allow for basic scrum characteristics such as transparency, inspection, and adaptation.
Scrum artifacts can help you in:
- Planning your product management goals and objectives
- Making a list of tasks that can accomplish these objectives
- Organizing tasks into sprints based on their importance and dependencies
- Complete the tasks
- Review and assess the findings to see to what extent they are aligned with your objectives
- Repeating these steps and continuing the cycle
What Is Scrum?
Scrum is an agile methodology-based project management system. Agile project management breaks a project into sprints and short development cycles. Each sprint lasts about 2 to 4 weeks, during which the scrum team works on various aspects of the project to meet a defined sprint target.
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What Are the Three Main Scrum Artifacts?
Scrum uses three main artifacts to get the work done efficiently. They are using these three main scrum artifacts, you can make sure that the scrum team and the stakeholders are on the same page when it comes to the project development process. If someone wants to check on the development of a project, they don’t have to bother team members and ask them about it. Instead, they look at the scrum artifacts.
These three are the main scrum artifacts:
1. Product backlog
Before producing a product or running a service, it’s critical to understand what the user really wants. But how can you keep track of their demands if they vary frequently? The answer is simple: by using a product backlog.
A product backlog is actually a list of new features, additions, bug repairs, tasks, or work requirements that have to be considered to achieve the goals you have set for your business. All these elements are necessary for the process of producing a product or running a service. To name some of these elements, we can mention customer support, competitor analysis, market demands, and general business analysis, etc.
A product backlog always needs to be updated and should be adapted to the new conditions. As new information gets available, you will need to make changes to your product backlog to make it in alignment with your objectives. So, you can never expect a complete product backlog.
2. Sprint backlog
We already mentioned that a scrum project is broken down into sprints. But how do you decide which things to work on in each scrum sprint? By checking the sprint backlog.
The sprint backlog is another list that contains every task that the scrum team has to achieve in every sprint. Unlike the product backlog, a sprint backlog can only be changed by the development team.
The development team is not fully authorized in changing the items in a sprint backlog, however. The team has to negotiate with the product owner or product manager or scrum master before making any changes to the sprint backlog.
This negotiation that flows between the development team and the scrum master is helpful. The reason is that rather than removing an item entirely, it helps you to look for ways to make a smaller increment of it.
Selecting a task from the product backlog and breaking it down into smaller, actionable sprint items creates sprint backlogs. Let’s see an example to make it more tangible:
Imagine that you want to add a chatbot to your eCommerce website. Adding a chatbot needs you to take several actions such as creating a proper design. The product backlog is the list that entails general tasks like ‘Adding a Chatbot’. The sprint backlog includes detailed and smaller tasks driven from a general task. For instance, ‘Creating the Chatbot UI/UX Design’ is an item that you should put in the sprint backlog.
3. Product increment
The product increment is the most important scrum artifact. It’s the goal that the team strives for during each scrum sprint.
The team must deliver a product increment at the end of each sprint if they meet the Definition of Done. The Definition of Done is the collection of all the product backlog’s acceptance criteria such as quality criteria, restrictions, etc.
A product increment is the set of customer deliverables created during a sprint by fulfilling product backlog items. For each sprint, there is always one increment. This product increment is set during the scrum planning phase. A product increment existence depends on whether the team decides to release to the client or not.
Other Scrum Artifacts
Here’s a look at two artifacts that can assist teams to figure out if they’ll be able to release product increment:
1. Sprint Burndown Chart
A sprint burndown chart shows how much work remains to be done in a scrum sprint. It can be used to see if things are going according to plan and if you’ll be able to meet your deadline. After each sprint, the scrum master is responsible for updating the sprint burndown chart.
2. Sprint Plan
A sprint plan, which is frequently prepared during the sprint planning meeting, defines the work that will be accomplished in the following sprint. Using a sprint plan, you can know when the current sprint comes to an end and how much you should spend to put the features in place. Here is detailed help guide on how to run successful agile sprints.
How to Use Scrum Artifacts?
Scrum artifacts are valuable tools that help teams work more effectively. As a result, it’s important for the durability of the project that all teams have access to the artifacts and can see them. Product managers and scrum masters should review and discuss artifacts with development teams on a frequent basis. This will aid teams in knowing operational inefficiencies and coming up with innovative solutions to increase productivity and efficiency.
Using an agile task management solution with agile scrum artifacts built-in is the best approach to get started with scrum artifacts. Nifty is an agile task manager with agile scrum artifacts built in that can help you with:
- Make plans and preparations for a prospective sprint.
- Effectively manage backlogs.
- Keep track of how each sprint develops over time.
- Communicate with scrum team members as well as with other stakeholders and keep remote employees engaged.
Can Scrum Artifacts Help Your Business?
Scrum artifacts can act as an excellent tool for any business looking to increase it structure, create scalable processes and have a rigid documentation regime. Scrum artifacts in an agile workforce can be the ultimate game changer for transforming companies to be more legitimate and structured as they continue to scale and require more formal systems to ensure that every team member and manager, has accountability for the work required from them.
Scrum Artifacts are also not costly and simply require hard work and motivation to be optimized in ones business. I would recommend starting with a agile workflow management system like Nifty – which has a Free Forever plan so you can get started in scaling your company with scrum artifacts, product planning and backlog management! Nifty also has imports from many of the other project management and workflow solutions making the process to get started as simple as possible.
Knowing what lies ahead is crucial when planning for a product or service development. Scrum artifacts can change what you may encounter on your way to success. You no longer face surprises because everything is going on based on a plan. Using tools with scrum artifacts built-in, you can save a lot of time and effort. Wish you the best of luck!
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