Agile Project Management: Scrum Theory

Scrum theory is based on the experiential learning circle. This states that knowledge and understanding come from a process of planning something, doing it, reviewing how it worked and then adapting the process to be used the next time.

As Scrum employs an iterative and incremental process it fits this model at two levels:

  • At the Sprint Level, the four stages equate to Sprint Planning, executing the development work, the Sprint Review, and Sprint Retrospective.
  • At the Daily Work Level, the four stages equate to the Daily Scrum, executing the tasks and the review, and conclusions come in the following Daily Scrum.

Scrum theory is based on the three pillars of empirical thinking: Transparency, Inspection, and Adaptation.


In Scrum, the process being used must be fully visible to everyone in the team. The standards being used must be common and again understood by everyone on the team. Finally, the language used to describe the process must be shared by the team.
The example of the need for a common understanding of language most often quoted is the definition of what it means for a feature or story to be “Done”. This clearly must be shared and agreed by those doing the work and those inspecting and accepting it.

In Scrum, the development work and artifacts being produced must be inspected frequently to identify any variations from the desired goal. These inspections should not get in the way of ongoing work, and are best done with due diligence by skilled inspectors at the actual point of work (such as code reviews). The Daily Scrum and Sprint Retrospective are other points of inspection.

Following an inspection, if it is deemed that one or more aspects of the process have deviated outside of acceptable levels of tolerance and that the resulting product would be unacceptable, the process or the product will need to be adjusted. That adjustment has to be made as soon as possible to reduce the risk
of further deviation.

Scrum defines four formal events where there are opportunities for such inspection and adaptation:

  • Sprint Planning
  • Daily Scrum
  • Sprint Review
  • Sprint Retrospective


Scrum Framework
Scrum provides a framework that is designed to support the development of complex products and consists of:

  • Scrum Teams: which are self-contained, cross-functional teams containing all of the skills required to develop the required products.
  • Scrum Events: Sprint Planning, Daily Scrum, Sprint Review and Sprint Retrospective.
  • Scrum Artifacts: the Product Backlog, Sprint Backlog and Burn-down charts.

Each of these three components has its purpose and is critical to the success of the framework. The way that they interact and are bound together is described by the Rules of the Game, which are set out in the remainder of this chapter (Agile Project Management in easy steps).



The Rules of the Game are not set out as one topic but are interspersed in the remainder of the chapter.




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