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Scrum Framework Minimums

My interpretation of Scrum framework minimums

Scrum Framework ceremonies and processes to reach minimal effectiveness

Minimum Implementation

Scrum as a framework has a lot of pieces which must be implemented to realize the benefits. Too often, companies assume their engineering teams can adopt and learn the Scrum framework with no training and they usually end up not benefiting or having a poor performing experience.

Here is the minimum a team needs in order to begin to realize benefits. Without these minimal pieces, we cannot measure:

  • team velocity - a critical measurement of delivery
  • completion percentage - shows team attention to capacity planning
  • completion variance - shows team velocity trends

We also cannot do adequate:

  • quarterly planning
  • story estimates
  • velocity improvements
  • release planning

Scrum Artifacts

  • Product Backlog - stack ranked list of features in order of desired implementation
  • Sprint Backlog - sprint set of tasks which does not change during the sprint and is a reasonable amount of work that is (1) committed to by the team and (2) finished at the conclusion of the sprint

Scrum Ceremonies

  • Sprint Planning - create sprint, pull in stories limited by how much can be accomplished
  • Daily Scrum - daily standup relating to the sprint goals
  • Sprint Retrospective - every sprint this is where the team can talk about process and how to improve
  • Backlog Refinement - these should be done until the backlog is in a healthy state*

When I was an Agility Lead on a new team with no estimates…

…it could take us 8-16 hours of team time to get the backlog to a healthy state in which a sufficient amount of work was estimated. This is a transient phase but one that any team without estimates will certainly feel at the start.

Scrum Team Working Agreements

  • Definition of Ready (DoR) - minimum qualifications a story must have before it can be pulled into a sprint
  • Definition of Done (DoD) - minimum qualifications that allow a story to be closed
  • Story Point Estimation Rubric - not tied to time
  • Story Point Estimation Strategy - t-shirt sizing, doubling, fibonacci

What are Story Points?

Mike Cohn from Mountain Goat Software


  • Teams must have at least 2 sprints worth of stories estimated when they are beginning a sprint
  • Teams must have their product backlog stack-ranked in priority (usually by a PO)
  • Team members must be 100% dedicated to their team (not being pulled off randomly)
  • As much as possible, sprint commitments should not be modified mid-sprint
  • As much as possible, teams should be self-organizing
  • Teams must hold retrospectives every sprint