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Learn the Elements of the Scrum Workflow

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • List the Scrum elements of delivery.
  • Explain why it’s necessary to finish work every sprint.
  • Describe the key parts of a Team’s Product Backlog

Now that you understand the importance of Scrum values and roles, let’s walk through how we keep everything organized and moving along to ensure we’re delivering consistently and on time.

Product Backlog

This is our ordered list of work that can possibly be needed, not all work that is going to be done. We define it as the single source of truth that describes, to our best knowledge, all the changes, updates, and requirements that we think are necessary to do.

What exactly is a product backlog, and what does it consist of?   

  • It’s constantly refined as teams learn new information about the product.
  • Higher-priority items have more detail in them so that they’re work-ready.
  • It includes not just project-related work, but also support or maintenance work, nonfunctional requirements, and research.
  • The product owner owns it, and it’s their job to prioritize the work items.

Sprint Backlog

Just because a work item is put in the product backlog queue doesn’t mean it gets done. Right before every sprint, teams look at the product backlog and assess which high-priority work items they can tackle in 2 weeks. They put those projects into the sprint backlog. 

Potentially Shippable Work

What’s most important is that teams deliver something of value to the customer every sprint. To accomplish this, we focus on the outcome, not the output—that’s an important distinction in the Scrum process.  

Simply put: We aim to produce quality work, not a quantity of work.  

We also push to complete work before we start something new. No one wants to eat a half-baked cake! We work this way for good reason: Every 4 months, Salesforce releases updates to its platform. This is not to say that we only finish deliverables every 4 months. That would not allow us to consistently learn and incorporate those learnings every 2 weeks, as we do now. 

We’ve continued to deliver this way throughout the release cycle to provide the best solution. 

Why Do We Emphasize Finishing?

In the Scrum world, projects that are works in progress are a form of waste. That’s because WIP projects mean you’re not learning and adapting to create better deliverables and solutions. Work that is not completed (checked-in, tested, and deployed) delays the entire workflow. We promote a culture where teams work to help each other bring projects over the finish line. We call this swarming or dog piling—people helping each other finish the last 20% of work.

Image shows four icons to describe Scrum workflow: A stack of books represents the product backlog; a big cake represents the sprint backlog; an alarm clock represents the daily scrum meeting; and a cupcake represents the shippable product as final delivery

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