The definition of Scrum

Scrum is the most widely adopted agile methodology today. The 15th state of Agile Report found that 66% of agile teams used Scrum and a further 15% used a variation of Scrum.

Scrum is referred to as a lightweight framework for developing and sustaining complex products.

The framework contains 3 roles, 5 events and 3 artifacts.


  1. Product Owner
  2. Scrum Master, and
  3. Development Team Member

Scrum Events:

  1. The Sprint
  2. Sprint Planning
  3. Daily Scrum
  4. Sprint Review
  5. Sprint Retrospective

Scrum Artifacts:

  1. Product Backlog
  2. Sprint Backlog
  3. Product Increment

Within Scrum all work is contained within a timeboxed iterations known as The Sprint. The sprint typically ranges from 2-4 weeks in duration and begins with Sprint Planning.

During the Scrum teams meet daily during the Daily Scrum. They practice the 3 Scrum Pillars (Inspection, Adaptation and Transparency) by making their work and progress in the sprint transparent and inspecting their progress daily, making adaptations when necessary.

The Sprint concludes with the Sprint Review where the Scrum teams reviews their completed Product Increment from the Sprint with necessary stakeholders, customers, etc in order to get feedback and adapt the product backlog as necessary. Following the Sprint Review Scrum teams perform a Sprint Retrospective where they inspect how they worked together as a team and seek to continuously improve.

Scrum began back in 1986. Two Japanese business experts, Hirotaka Takeuchi and Ikujiro Nonaka, wrote a Harvard Business Review article titled “The New New Product Development Game”, in which they described a new approach to product development that used customer feedback and iterations to increase speed and adaptability.

In the article, Hirotaka Takeuchiand and Ikujiro Nonaka used the term ‘scrum' from Rugby as a metaphor for teamwork in the article. They described holistic, cross-functional teams that owned the full product development process. Unlike traditional methodologies, the authors described a team that was non-linear, where they would move back and forth between phases - a team that “tries to go the distance as a unit, passing the ball back and forth”.

A few years later in the late 1980s and early 1990s Ken Schwaber (co-creator of Scrum) was conducting his own research with Babatunde Ogunnaike at DuPont Research Station and University of Delaware. Their research found that attempts to develop complex products, like software, using non-empirical methods, like Waterfall, experienced higher rates of failure.

Empirical processes refer to methods such as the scientific method that uses data and experimentation to inform changes in direction.

In the early 1990s Ken Schwaber had used this research to develop what he called Advanced Development methods, meanwhile a gentleman named Jeff Sutherland was also developing a similar approach at Easel Corporation. Both approaches shared many similarities and were both empirical processes.

In 1995 Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber worked together to combine their two methodologies into a single framework and publish it under the name ‘Scrum', sometimes written in capitals as SCRUM. The name was inspired by ‘The New New Product Development Game' Harvard Business Review article written by Hirotaka Takeuchiand and Ikujiro Nonaka.

Since then Scrum has grown in popularity, and although it pre-dates the Agile Manifesto, it stands today as the most used Agile framework.

It has stayed true to the Agile values and has undergone several iterations over the years.

You can find the most recent version of Scrum through the published Scrum Guide. A public document that is maintained by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland.