Scrum 101 (Agile 101)
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Scrum 101

the most frequently asked questions about Agile with Scrum

About the Book

The authors frequently run talks, discussions and workshops on agile and lean approaches (particularly on Scrum and Kanban). The attendees of each session bring their unique scenarios and personal issues, which result in a variety of questions. No two events are ever the same.

Over the years, these questions have been collected and the most common ones about agile and Scrum are being answered in this book.

So, whether you are new to agile and Scrum, or been using it for a while, we aim to help clarify some of the questions that you have wanted to ask but haven't had the opportunity.

About the Authors

David Lowe
David Lowe

David Lowe is an agile and lean coach who has helped a variety of companies (from start-ups to traditional organisations) over a range of industries (including finance, fashion, automotive, government and travel). He is heavily involved in the Agile and Lean communities: he runs the London Agile Discussion Group, Agile on the Bench and London Lean Coffee. Along with James and Jiten, he runs

James Wyllie
James Wyllie

James Wyllie is a software delivery consultant, focussed on the principles of Agile and Lean thinking. Specialising in working with both technical and non-technical teams, James helps them collaborate to deliver the right thing in the right way. He has extensive experience in eCommerce, gaming, and more recently in the finance sector. He is an active blogger and conference speaker.

Jiten Vara
Jiten Vara

Jiten Vara is a Personal, Business and Agile/Lean coach and trainer. He specialises in working with individuals, teams and organisations to continuously evolve to become the best versions of themselves. Has helped to improve organisation in industries ranging from charity to multi-national retail. Co-organiser of the London Agile Discussion Group and contributer to

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • What is the Agile Manifesto?
  • What are the Agile Manifesto’s 4 core values?
  • What are the 12 principles of the Agile Manifesto?
  • What is Scrum?
  • Why is it called Scrum?
  • Is Scrum the same as Agile?
  • What are the three pillars of Scrum?
  • What are the Scrum values?
  • What is the difference between a Sprint and an Iteration?
  • What is sprint zero?
  • Why are all events timeboxed in Scrum?
  • How long should a Sprint be?
  • What are the benefits of shorter Sprints? What are the benefits of longer Sprints?
  • What is an increment?
  • Do I have to release code to live at the end of each Sprint?
  • Can a Sprint be cancelled?
  • What is Sprint Planning?
  • Is Sprint Planning the same as release planning?
  • What is the point of the Daily Scrum?
  • Can a Daily Scrum be longer than 15 minutes?
  • Can you do a stand-up sitting down?
  • What is a Sprint Review?
  • When should we hold a Sprint Review?
  • Can I show unfinished items in a Sprint Review?
  • What is a Sprint Retrospective?
  • What is the Prime Directive?
  • Why are Scrum meetings called ceremonies?
  • How many people should there be in a scrum team?
  • What is the difference between the ‘Development Team’ and the ‘Scrum Team’?
  • Why is there no tester in a Development team in Scrum?
  • What is the hierarchy in a Development Team?
  • What is a Scrum Master?
  • Is the Scrum Master or Product Owner senior to the development team?
  • What is the difference between a Scrum Master and a project manager?
  • Should the Scrum Master have technical knowledge?
  • What is a blocker?
  • Is it the Scrum Master’s role to remove impediments?
  • What is a Product Owner?
  • Does the Scrum Master plan work with the Product Owner?
  • What is a Product Manager and where do they fit within Scrum?
  • If you have multiple stakeholders, can you have more than one Product Owner?
  • What technical (development) knowledge does a Product Owner need to have?
  • Who has financial responsibility for the project?
  • What is a cross-functional team?
  • What are the artefacts of Scrum?
  • What is a Product Backlog?
  • Can multiple teams share the same Product Backlog or should they always have their own?
  • What is a Product Backlog Item?
  • Is a detailed spec still written?
  • What does “Minimum Viable Product (MVP)” mean?
  • What does “Minimum Marketable Product (MMP)” mean?
  • What is a Sprint Backlog?
  • What is a Sprint Goal?
  • Can you add a Product Backlog Item to the Sprint Backlog after the Sprint starts?
  • Why is it important to make each story deliver value?
  • Can you carry PBIs over to the next Sprint?
  • How do you plan a Sprint when you have different skill sets in the team?
  • Why do we now ‘forecast’ instead of ‘commit’ to items in a Sprint Backlog?
  • Scrum gives businesses flexibility. Does that mean a PO can change priorities or direction whenever s/he wants?
  • Why do we estimate in points?
  • Why do some people estimate in days?
  • Is estimating using story points better than estimating in ideal days?
  • What is Planning Poker / Scrum poker?
  • Why the Fibonacci series? Why not 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9…?
  • Is a 5-point PBI twice as big as a 3-point item?
  • Why do you need consensus in sizing sessions?
  • Does sizing help define requirements?
  • What is a spike? When should they be used?
  • Why don’t we size spikes?
  • What is velocity?
  • Is velocity a guide for the business to judge the team’s effectiveness?
  • Why don’t you count some story-points when partially completing a PBI in a sprint?
  • When should we re-size?
  • How do you deal with estimates when the team has different skill levels?
  • Should the Product Owner and Scrum Master be involved in sizing?
  • What is an epic?
  • How do we split up a story that is too big?
  • Should you split stories down into tasks?
  • What are vertical and horizontal slicing?
  • How do we prioritise work?
  • What is the Iron Triangle?
  • How do we set deadlines using Scrum?
  • What is a Burn down chart? How do I build a Burn down chart?
  • Should we use time or story points to build a Burn down chart?
  • What is the difference between a Burn up and a Burn down chart?
  • What is a Scrum board?
  • Do I have to use a Scrum board?
  • Physical vs electronic boards
  • Should my board have swim lanes?
  • What are Conditions of Satisfaction?
  • Are Conditions of Satisfaction the same as Acceptance Criteria?
  • What are entry criteria?
  • What are exit criteria?
  • What is a Definition of Done?
  • What is a Definition of Ready?
  • Should you limit your WIP in Scrum?
  • Can I break the rules?
  • What is
  • What is The Scrum Guide?
  • What is Scrum Alliance?
  • What is scaling?
  • Endnote
  • Acknowledgements
  • Bibliography

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