Scrum has been growing in popularity amongst teams that seek to improve their performance and achieve better results. However, if it is your first time trying to implement one of Agile practices, there is a lot to learn and understand. To help you out, this time I want to shed some light on the Scrum artifacts. What they are, how to use them, and why.
If you are looking for more information on Scrum in general, check out this post:
What are Scrum Artifacts
The term artifact can mean several different things depending on the context. And in the case of Scrum artifacts, the meaning is also a little different from what you may expect.
In other words, Scrum artifacts help us manage and understand the progress of Scrum as they provide vital information and help us structure the process.
There are 3 main Scrum artifacts:
- Product Backlog
- Sprint Backlog
- Product Increment
If you read about Scrum already, these terms may be familiar. And if not, here is our Scrum cheat sheet for a quick summary.
1. Product Backlog
In other words, it is a list of new features, bug fixes, enhancements, and tasks that are all oriented towards the overall product. The Product Backlog is a live Scrum artifact, as it is updated once new information becomes available.
This Scrum artifact is the single source of tasks for the Scrum Team. As such, it needs to be transparent and prioritized regularly to reflect the most important items. During the Sprint Planning, the Scrum Team pulls items from the Product Backlog and adds them to the Sprint Backlog.
Commitment – Product Goal
To make sure the items in this Scrum artifact are prioritized effectively, it must include the Product Goal. This serves as a future target for the Scrum Team to plan against.
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2. Sprint Backlog
The second Scrum artifact is very similar to the Product Backlog, as it is also a list of items. However, instead of being long-term product plans, this is a current list of tasks that the Scrum Team committed to completing during the Sprint.
The Sprint Backlog is filled during the Sprint Planning. At this event, the Scrum Team pulls items from the Product Backlog, estimates their difficulty, and creates a plan for executing them. Once the Sprint Planning is done, no more items can be added to the Sprint Backlog.
Commitment – Sprint Goal
The Sprint Goal is a single objective for the Sprint. This is set by the Developers (Scrum team members excluding the Product Owner and the Scrum Master), however, it guides the whole Scrum Team on what the main focus should be. This allows to coordinate and deliver the most important items first.
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3. Product Increment
The third Scrum artifact is the Product Increment – a potentially shippable product improvement that the Scrum Team has delivered. At least one Product Increment is delivered during each Sprint.
There also may be additional smaller increments delivered during a single Sprint. In this case, the Scrum Team should not wait to release the increments, but instead, push them out as soon as they are ready. An Increment is considered accomplished as soon as the Product Backlog item meets the Definition of Done.
Commitment – Definition of Done (DoD)
The Definition of Done is a description of when an increment (Product Backlog item) meets the product quality requirements. This allows for the whole Scrum Team to work under the same criteria and be sure the completed items are truly done.
The DoD can be defined for a specific product, project, or be a company-wide standard. The Developers must adhere to the DoD.
4. Additional Scrum Artifact – Burndown Chart
While Burndown Charts are not mentioned as one of the Scrum artifacts in the official Scrum Guide, many practitioners consider this tool as one. As this is a great visualization of what the Scrum team is doing and how far along they are according to the plans.
The Burndown chart is composed of 2 axis – horizontal for the dates and vertical for the estimation units. The beginning of this chart visualizes the total amount of estimation units that have been planned. As the Scrum Team completes their tasks, this number goes down in the chart. (Story point estimation table)
There is also the ideal path line, that visualizes how would the work completion should look like in an ideal situation. To read this chart, compare your team’s progress to the ideal path. Being above means you are late, being below the ideal path means you are ahead of schedule.
By allowing you to look into the progress, Burndown Chart proves to be a worthy addition to the Scrum artifacts.
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Getting Started with Scrum Artifacts
Now that you know what the Scrum artifacts are, you are ready to start exploring them for yourself. Using an efficient tool such as Teamhood to structure your process will help you and your team to transition more quickly.
Register for a free account today and try out Product Backlog planning, Sprint boards, Burndown charts, and more Agile-focused features.
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