Scrum is not a simple thing. Many people ask me questions on different Scrum topics. I will publish my answers here.
What are the two essential features a Scrum Team should possess?
- It should choose how best to accomplish their work, rather than being directed by others outside the team
- It should have all competencies needed to accomplish the work without depending on others not part of the team
- It should use tools, processes and techniques approved by the Organization
- It should be flexible enough to complete all the work planned for the Sprint even if some team members are on vacation
Though the explanation mentions 1 &2 as the answer for this but shouldn’t option 3 also be the answer for this question. Development team should be using tools, process and techniques approved by organization and if there is any hindrance the scrum master should notice this as impediment and talk to respective stakeholders?
Mikhail: For me #3 looks like a contradiction to #1. As long as the team creates increments according to the DoD, it can use any techniques, tools, etc.
Mikhail: I think, Scaled Scrum does not prescribe any particular architecture. It only says the dependencies between teams should be minimized and we should inspect and adapt frequently. So, it is an ongoing process. Evaluating the current architecture and suggesting ways to improve it is a part of every Sprint.
As I remember, the open Scaled Scrum quiz contains only the following topics:
Q: A system is decomposed into elements like workflows, features, capabilities, etc. How it affects Scrum Teams on a scaled project?
A: It will be reflected in the implementation.
Q: Two ways how Dev Teams can ensure a good application architecture?
* Architecture is an ongoing discussion
* The DT should have a set of architecture principles and follow them
Q: How to start a big complex project?
A: Form 1-2 teams of best developers for implementing the core, add more teams later.
You see, there are no any specific architectural questions. So, nothing to read about this. 🙂
However, the exam contains references to SOA (service-oriented architecture). It is worth to get a high level view of SOA, or at least read its definition. For example at Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Service-oriented_architecture
Mikhail: The idea is simple. All the other options are Scrum Events. Any event in Scrum is an opportunity to inspect and adapt. Sprint is not an event. It is just a time frame.
Mikhail: The Scrum Guide says: “The Development Team of the Scrum Team must define a definition of “done” appropriate for the product.” So, the correct answer is the Development Team.
From my point of view, DT owns DoD on behalf of the whole Scrum Team. So, it is possible to say “Scrum Team creates DoD”, however “Development Team creates DoD” is more precise.
Mikhail: The Product Owner is responsible for this.
In the Scrum Guide you can find that the PO is responsible for:
* Ensuring that the Product Backlog is visible, transparent, and clear to all, and shows what the Scrum Team will work on next;
At the Sprint Review:
* The PO explains what Product Backlog items have been “Done” and what has not been “Done”;
* The entire group collaborates on what to do next, so that the Sprint Review provides valuable input to subsequent Sprint Planning;
The Product Owner is the Lead Facilitator of Key Stakeholder Involvement. The PO is responsible for identifying the key stakeholders for the product and involving them as necessary throughout the development effort.
Mikhail: Of course, the team can proceed. Right, PB is the single source of requirements for any changes to be made to the product. If the Scrum Team does not understand what should be done next, it means the PB needs to be refined. The Product Owner should put his product vision as backlog items, maybe with help of the Development Team.
A product backlog item should contain everything necessary to be understood by any member of the Scrum Team. So, if a new UI markup needs to be developed, it should be a part (task) of some item (story) in the PB. When the markup is ready, it should be attached to the item.
So, the answer is not a simple “yes/no”. I would carefully look at the wording of the suggested answers to be maximally close to the point I described above.
Mikhail: I would say the PO should not usually do this. The PO must be the arbiter of product value and how it is represented to the team. Frequently key stakeholders do not know exactly what they want and how it can be achieved. This is a job for the PO to understand their needs, decide how they can be fulfilled with the maximum value.
Probably, in rare cases a key stakeholder can be invited as a domain expert to a product refinement session. However, the PO should have the final word.
Mikhail: No. The Scrum Glossary gives the following definition for Product Backlog: “It is an ordered list of the work to be done in order to create, maintain and sustain a product.” So, Scrum is not specific about exactly what a Product Backlog Item is or how it should be expressed. It is just “work to be done”.
The Scrum Guide gives a bit more details about a PBI: it should have the attributes of a description, order, estimate, and value. However, it does not change the “work to be done” definition much. For example, a Product Backlog can contain knowledge acquisition tasks, prototyping, technical chores etc.
However, there is one important moment: a Product Backlog should contain items that the Product Owner cares about, in the sense that they add clear business value and can be ordered by him or her. If there are some “Developer Stories”, i.e. removing technical debt, they can be introduced by the Development Team into their own Sprint Backlog, if they think such stories are necessary in order to help mitigate a technical risk.
Mikhail: The following points should be taken into the account:
1. The Development Team is responsible for the Definition of Done.
2. There is no direct requirement in the Scrum Guide for a formal approval of the DoD by the PO.
3. The PO as a member of the Scrum Team participates in the Sprint Retrospective where the DoD is revised and adapted.
‘No’ answer is more comfortable for the question. However, the PO can affect the DoD at the Sprint Retrospective by making suggestions for the Dev Team how to improve it. Also the PO can bring some non-functional requirements for the product and the Dev Team usually applies them via DoD. See 11. How to address non-functional requirements? and 46. Non-functional requirements, PO and DoD
Mikhail: The Scrum guide says:
The Product Owner is the sole person responsible for managing the Product Backlog… The Product Owner may do the above work, or have the Development Team do it. However, the Product Owner remains accountable.
Creation of a PBI relates to PB management. So, certainly the PO is responsible for this. However, he can delegate this work to the Development Team.
If the Scrum Master combines his role with the Developer role (the most common situation), he is a part of the Development Team and can create PBIs when it is agreed with the PO. Otherwise, I think, he should not do it.
In my quizzes I have a similar question: who can change the PB? The answer is “The PO and the DT with permission of the PO.”
Mikhail: Non-functional requirements describe qualities of the system being developed. E.g. the system should be secure, extensible and have acceptable performance. The only way to meet such requirements is to have them as a part of the DoD and check every Increment against these criteria.
From my side I would mention that if some non-functional requirements relate only to a part of the Product (i.e. to some feature), most likely the requirements should be processed as a sub-task within this feature instead of the DoD.
Mikhail: The DoD helps to reveal the work necessary to complete a PB item. So, it helps to estimate how much time it will take. With better estimations the Development Team can better plan which items can be completed in the upcoming Sprint.
Mikhail: The whole Scrum Team should come to a solution about the first Sprint length before starting it. The length of the following Sprints can be changed (adapted).
There is no a formal event for this purpose. The Scrum Guide limits only the maximum length by one month. However, the following points can be taken into account:
- The pace at which the PO wants to have increments (new features implemented), demonstrate them to the Key Stakeholders and get feedback.
- Experience of the SM. What was the optimal length for teams doing a similar work.
- Experience of the DT. Too long Sprints make planning difficult. Too short Sprints do not allow to implement bigger features in one chunk, but give faster feedback.
From my experience, the optimal Spring length is 2 weeks.
Mikhail: A first Sprint requires no more than a Product Owner, a team, and enough ideas to potentially complete a full Sprint.
Mikhail: First of all, there is no Project Manager role in Scrum. So, the manager from the question is an external person for the team.
My best options are below:
a. Invite the manager to the next Sprint Review. There the manager will see what was completed in the Sprint, what is the feedback from the Key Stakeholders, what are the priorities for the next Sprint, get some review of the timeline and budget.
b. In agile practices the duty of all participants is to be transparent. Those who need information are responsible for getting it. They have a duty to ensure that the information they act on is obtained in a timely fashion and with minimal filtering.
So, the manager can investigate the artifacts of the Scrum Team: the Product Backlog, the Sprint Backlog, the Increment. The team is responsible for sharing these artifacts and any information radiators that can help to make the artifacts more transparent (e.g. burn down charts, story boards, etc.)
One more point is that proper use of Scrum makes sure that the most valuable features are implemented first and the proof of success lies in ongoing delivery and not in reporting.
Update: I got the suggested options for the question:
1) Scrum doesn’t have PMs
2) Share the PB and forecast for the sprint
3) Share the current roadblocks
4) Share the last stakeholder report by PO
I see the options fit well with my answer:
1) Scrum doesn’t have PMs
2) Share the PB and forecast for the sprint
* Correct. Scrum Team artifacts should be transparent.
3) Share the current roadblocks
* Wrong. Sharing artifacts is much better.
4) Share the last stakeholder report by PO
* Wrong. The PO does not have duty to prepare a special report for the Key Stakeholders.
Mikhail: The most important individuals for maximizing value for the Product are the Key Stakeholders. The PO should identify and involve them as necessary throughout the development effort. The Key Stakeholders are typically customers, purchasers, users, and the people that fund the product’s development. These people may be internal or external to the Organization.
Mikhail: The PO can delegate Ordering PB.
The Scrum Guide contains:
The Product Owner is the sole person responsible for managing the Product Backlog. Product Backlog management includes:
* Clearly expressing Product Backlog items;
* Ordering the items in the Product Backlog to best achieve goals and missions;
The Product Owner may do the above work, or have the Development Team do it.
There is nothing about user stories. So, the correct answer is “Ordering Product backlog”
The Scrum Master is responsible for facilitating Scrum events.
Mikhail: There are several possible good answers. I would suggest the PO should focus on:
* Key Stakeholder Involvement
In order to maximize value, the PO should identify the key stakeholders for the product, and involve them as necessary throughout the development effort.
* Product Marketplace
The Product Owner should be expertly aware of the marketplace for the product. They should constantly be gathering and re-gathering information and data regarding the marketplace, so that the product value is maximized.
* Product Release Decisions
The PO is the one and only person who can decide whether to release the latest increment of the Product. In order for value to actually be captured, a release of the product must occur.
Mikhail: Of course not. This question is very similar to the question #17 above.
Who does the work of updating and managing the Product Backlog is a collaboration between the Product Owner and the Development Team. However, the Product Owner is solely responsible and accountable for the decisions in the Product Backlog.
For example, the PO can write nothing, but explain everything in detail to the Development Team. Then the team will create the required PB items and write down all the details.
- A. Writing clear, transparent User Stories
- B. Working with customers and stakeholders to identify the most important product requirements
- C. Being with the Scrum team all the time, just in case they need me to clarify a requirement
- D. Clearly communicating project or release status and strategies to customers and stakeholders
- C is wrong because the PO does not have to spend all the time with the DT. The PO has other things to do. For example, communicating with Key Stakeholders. The main PO commitment is product value delivery. So, he or she should spend enough time (but not all the time) with the DT to meet that commitment.
- A is just partially right. Writing clear user stories is important, but the Product Backlog also contains many other things like features, functions, requirements, enhancements, etc. The PO is responsible for the whole management of the Product Backlog. Also the PO can ask the DT to write the stories.
- D is partially correct because the PO should communicate his product vision not only to the Key Stakeholders, but also to the Scrum Team.
- B is correct. Identifying the most valuable Product features one of the most important PO responsibilities.
- So, I would answer B and D.
I think, in the broad sense the answer is “yes”. The PB is the source for the Sprint Backlog. The Sprint Backlog is the source of the Dev Team work. However, only the Dev Team knows how to implement Sprint Backlog Items. It can involve technical tasks, for example, removing some technical debt or even installing a development environment for a new developer.
The Scrum Guide says: the SM helps the PO to understand and practice agility. Agility means using the most effective ways to collaborate. Direct collaboration between the PO and the DT is the most effective one. So, the best technique for SM is to monitor communications between the DT and the PO and facilitate direct collaboration.
No. It is just one of the first steps to success. Success in Scrum is getting maximum value with the existing resources. Value, as defined in a Scrum context, is the financial (or social) benefit an organization receives or might receive by creating and releasing the product under development. In order for value to actually be captured, a release of the product must occur. The sooner you release, the sooner you can start capturing the value created by the product.
Increase in team’s velocity shows that the Dev Team became more mature and can do more in the same time frame.
The Scrum Guide says: During the Sprint Review, the Scrum Team and stakeholders collaborate about what was done in the Sprint.
So, the answer is “the Scrum Team and stakeholders”.
A) Its productivity is likely to stay the same
B) Its productivity is likely to increase
C) Its productivity is likely to decrease
In a short term the productivity will decrease because the new teams will spend time to get up to speed with the Product. The old team will spend a lot of time for communications with the new teams.
A) The frequency at which team formation can be changed
B) The organization has mandated similar length sprints
C) The risk of being disconnected from the stakeholders
D) The level of uncertainty over the technology to be used
E) The ability to go to market with a product release.
Mikhail: C, D, E.
A. is wrong because Development Teams in Scrum are self-organizing and can decide to change at any time.
B. is bad because Organization is not responsible for the Sprint length. It is determined by the Scrum Team. The PO and the Dev Team should agree on this. The SM may have some coaching duties to perform in that regard.
C. is good because the bigger part of interaction with the Key Stakeholders happens at the Sprint Review meeting. If the Sprint length is bigger, this feedback loop becomes longer.
D. Shorter Sprints is an effective way to hone in on the requirements or try out the technology before committing to a solution.
E. Shorter Sprints suppose that the Dev Team produces “done” increments more frequently. It allows the PO to release the increments more frequently too.
A) Manger would divide them depending on location, bonding between members and xyz…
B) Developers will form teams themselves.
C) Scrum master will assign them according to budget.
D) Understanding scrum encourage self organization, developers will organize themselves into teams based on skills.
E) Product owner brings all developer working on same product together for planning and depending on functionalities , developer with self organize themselves into teams.
Mikhail: All the options related to self-organization are correct: B, D and E.
Mikhail: Of course the answer is “True”. The PO comes to the Sprint Planning with an idea for the Sprint Goal and then all the Scrum Team crafts the final version of the Goal.
A) The scrum process and how it was used during the Sprint
B) Coding and Engineering practices
C) Sprint Results
D) All of the above
Mikhail: The Scrum Guide says “A Sprint Review is held at the end of the Sprint to inspect the Increment and adapt the Product Backlog if needed.”
So, D. option would be great for the Sprint Retrospective meeting, but it is wrong for this question. All the topics related to the development process are discussed at the Sprint Retrospective.
So, the correct answer for this question is C. Sprint Results.
- In which meetings the Key Stakeholders are allowed to participate? The correct answer is “The Sprint Review”. The Sprint Planning was evaluated as wrong in this question.
- Select the two meetings in which people outside the Scrum Team are allowed to participate. The correct answers are “The Sprint Planning” and “The Sprint Review.”
The Key Stakeholders are people outside of the Scrum Team, so in the second question they are allowed to participate in the Sprint Planning, in the question #1 they are not. Is there an error in one of the questions?
Mikhail: The difference between “participate” (come to the meeting and speak) and “attend” (come to the meeting, but not speak) is a bit difficult. However, the real exam uses it for sure.
The question #1 is correct. The Sprint Review is the only formal Scrum event where the Key Stakeholders are allowed to take part in. They are invited by the Product Owner and actively give their feedback on the Product.
The question #2 is also correct. It looks like your confusion comes from mixing together concepts of “Key Stakeholders” and “technical experts”. The Key Stakeholders are typically customers, purchasers, users, and the people that fund the product’s development.
In “Sprint Planning” chapter the Scrum Guide says: “The Development Team may also invite other people to attend to provide technical or domain advice.” So, these people are not the Key Stakeholders. They are technical and domain experts. And these people give technical advice. It obviously means they can speak at the meeting. Using the word “attend” here looks like a little inconsistency between the Scrum Guide and the questions.
I hope, now you see the Key Stakeholders go to the Sprint Review and technical domain experts could go to the Sprint Planning. So, there are two meetings when people outside of the Scrum Team can come and speak.
A) It reduces long-term operational costs
B) It increases customer satisfaction
C) It is delivered on time
D) It has all the features that the Product Owner expected
Mikhail: The answers are A and B.
If you take a look at the Evidence Management Guide, you will find A and B among the Key Value Measures in Current Value section. C and D are absent in this list.
A) Managed by the Product Owner.
B) Ordered based on priority, value, dependencies, and risk.
C) An inventory of things to be done for the Product.
D) An exhaustive list of upfront approved requirements to be implemented for the system.
E) Only visible to the Product Owner and stakeholders.
Mikhail: I would choose A, B and C.
E is wrong because all the Scrum Team members can see the Product Backlog.
C and D answers are similar. I like C better because a Product Backlog is never complete, so it cannot be exhaustive. From the other side, if a requirement is in the Product Backlog, it is approved by the PO. So, “an exhaustive list of upfront approved requirements” could be also valid. I do not like this question much because of the ambiguous wording.
A) Customer satisfaction
C) Time to market
D) Budget spent
Mikhail: A and C are correct. If you take a look inside the EBM guide, you will find “Customer Satisfaction” KVM and “Time to Market” KVA. Budget, velocity and productivity do not contribute directly to capturing Product value.
A) Each task is estimated in hours.
B) It is a complete list of all work to be done in a Sprint.
C) Every item has a designated owner.
D) It is the Development Team’s plan for the Sprint.
E) It is ordered by the Product Owner.
Mikhail: The Scrum Guide contains
“The Sprint Backlog is the set of Product Backlog items selected for the Sprint, plus a plan for delivering the product Increment and realizing the Sprint Goal.”
“The Development Team modifies the Sprint Backlog throughout the Sprint, and the Sprint Backlog emerges during the Sprint. This emergence occurs as the Development Team works through the plan and learns more about the work needed to achieve the Sprint Goal.”
A) Wrong because there is no requirement to have estimation in hours
B) Wrong because the team cannot foresee all the work in the beginning of a Sprint
C) Scrum does not require a designated owner for items
D) The best option here
E) Wrong because the Dev Team owns the Sprint Backlog
A) Developers on the Development Team work closely with business analysts, architects, developers and testers who are not on the team.
B) The Development Team is a virtual team drawing from separate team of business analysts, architects, developers and testers.
C) The Development Team includes not only developers but also business analysts, architects,developers and testers.
D) The Development Team includes cross-skilled individuals who are able to contribute to do what is necessary to deliver an increment of software.
Mikhail: The best option is D. Scrum recognizes just one role “Developer” within the Development Team. The Scrum Guide tells:
– Development Teams are cross-functional, with all the skills as a team necessary to create a product Increment;
– Scrum recognizes no titles for Development Team members, regardless of the work being performed by the person;
– Individual Development Team members may have specialized skills and areas of focus, but accountability belongs to the Development Team as a whole.
Mikhail: The Scrum Guide says: “When the values of commitment, courage, focus, openness and respect are embodied and lived by the Scrum Team, the Scrum pillars of transparency, inspection, and adaptation come to life and build trust for everyone.”
So, the answer will be: commitment, courage, focus, openness and respect.
Mikhail: The same as in question #36, the answer will include some of these: commitment, courage, focus, openness and respect. For me the most suitable answer looks like focus (focusing on the most important things) and openness (the PB items and their values are transparent to everyone).
I would disagree because the Teams must do integrated increment in the end of the Sprint. It means Sprint length of all the Teams must be the same.
Mikhail: The Scrum framework does not require the same Sprint length or aligned Sprints for all teams. The Nexus framework is built on top of the Scrum and also has no requirements regarding this.
However, if several teams work together using the Nexus Framework, they work in the same Nexus Sprint, have common Nexus Sprint Planning and other events. You are right, the teams should use (but do not have to) the same Sprint length and all Sprints should start and finish together to avoid inefficiency.
Usually the emphasis is placed on having a shared Definition of Done. Another option could be when one team has 2 week sprint length, whereas another teams use 4 weeks.
One of the best things about Nexus – it is less prescriptive when compared to SAFe & LeSS. Usually there are many ways to solve the inefficiencies. But definitely not by making something prescriptive.
Mikhail: The PO is the lead facilitator of Key Stakeholder involvement. The PO should involve them as necessary throughout the development effort. The PO is responsible for making sure that the Key Stakeholders attend and interact in the Sprint Reviews, but really the Stakeholders can be involved with the Scrum Team any time where it’s valuable to have the stakeholder input.
Product ownership is not a committee. The PO is responsible for the product value and how it is represented to the team. So, in the case of any contradiction, the issue must be explained to the PO as soon as possible. Then the PO will communicate with the Stakeholders, resolve it and communicate solution back to the team.
It is an anti-pattern if someone does the PO work for the Dev Team.
Mikhail: I completely agree that any valuable idea how to make the product better should be added to the backlog. However, only the top items for one or two next Sprints should be refined enough (be in “ready” state).
With bigger backlogs it becomes harder to order the items and find dependencies. However, there are helping techniques. For example, the stories could be grouped into epics.
Mikhail: It is because of two reasons:
1. All the previous work is required for the Increment done in this Sprint to have value and to be potentially releasable
2. An Increment must be tested adequately. This includes regression testing.
Mikhail: First of all, the Scrum Guide tells: “The result of the Sprint Review is a revised Product Backlog that defines the probable Product Backlog items for the next Sprint. The Product Backlog may also be adjusted overall to meet new opportunities.”
The second option relates to the Daily Scrum: “The Development Team uses the Daily Scrum to inspect progress toward the Sprint Goal and to inspect how progress is trending toward completing the work in the Sprint Backlog.”
I agree, at the Sprint Review the PO explains what Product Backlog items have been “Done” and what has not been “Done”. However, what is more important, the whole group collaborates on what to do next, so that the Sprint Review provides valuable input to subsequent Sprint Planning.
1. Who is responsible for creation of ‘Definition of Done’?
– Answer is mentioned as ‘Development Team’
2. What belongs solely to the Development Team?
– Answer is only “The Sprint Backlog” and it didn’t include ‘Definition of Done’
If the answer for #1 is Development Team, the answer for #2 should also include “Definition of Done” as per my understanding. Can you please throw some light on the answers to these questions?
Mikhail: The Scrum Guide contains: “Only the Development Team can change its Sprint Backlog during a Sprint. The Sprint Backlog is a highly visible, real-time picture of the work that the Development Team plans to accomplish during the Sprint, and it belongs solely to the Development Team.”
“the Development Team of the Scrum Team must define a definition of “Done” appropriate for the product.”, “This is the definition of “Done” for the Scrum Team and is used to assess when work is complete on the product Increment.”
So, the DoD is for the whole Scrum Team. However, the DT is responsible for it (on behalf of the Scrum Team).
There is no any contradiction.
Mikhail: The Scrum Guide contains: “Only the Development Team can change its Sprint Backlog during a Sprint. “
So, the answer is “False”.
Mikhail: The Scrum Guide clarifies it: “The Development Team modifies the Sprint Backlog throughout the Sprint, and the Sprint Backlog emerges during the Sprint. This emergence occurs as the Development Team works through the plan and learns more about the work needed to achieve the Sprint Goal.
As new work is required, the Development Team adds it to the Sprint Backlog. As work is performed or completed, the estimated remaining work is updated. When elements of the plan are deemed unnecessary, they are removed.“
So, the answer is “No”, not frozen.
Q1: The Product Owner wants to apply some non-functional requirements to the Product. What is the best way to proceed?
A1: Add the non-functional requirements to the DoD and check every Increment against these criteria
Q2: Who is responsible for creation of the Definition of “Done”?
A2: The Development Team
Mikhail: It looks like your confusion is like this:
The Product Owner wants to apply some non-functional requirements… The best way is to add the non-functional requirements to the DoD… The Dev Team is responsible for the DoD. How the PO can add the requirements into the DoD?
Well, there is no any contradiction.
Non-functional requirements describe qualities of the system being developed. E.g. the system should be secure, extensible and have acceptable performance.
The PO explains the requirements to the Dev Team. The team has two options how to handle these requirements:
1. Add a new sub-task for every Product Backlog Item to make sure the non-functional requirements are met for this particular item (feature)
2. Add the non-functional requirements to the DoD. So, every Increment will be validated against these requirements.
The second way looks more robust because having the requirements as part of the DoD won’t allow the team to forget about them when working on new items. It also will increase transparency.
So, the PO does not change the DoD. He asks the Dev Team to produce Increments that meet the non-functional requirements. The Dev Team adds the new requirements to the DoD because it is more robust way of doing the work.
You can also check my answer for 9. Should the PO approve the DoD?
A) The stakeholders haven’t been using the Sprint Reviews to actively engage , and inspect and evaluate progress
B) Changes to the project plan were not adequately documented and shared. The change request procedure was not diligently followed
C) The PMO and its project managers have not been engaged adequately causing the project plan to become inaccurate
D) The Product Owner has not been interacting frequently with stakeholders keeping them aware of the progress.
E) The stakeholders were not allowed to attend daily scrum
F) The scrum master has not ensured transparency
Mikhail: Let’s go through all the options:
A) Looks good except that the PO is responsible for Key Stakeholder engagement. Probably there are better answers.
B) Wrong because Scrum does not have a “change request procedure”.
C) Wrong. Scrum does not have a Project Manager role.
D) The best option.
E) Wrong. Stakeholders have nothing to do at Daily Scrums.
F) Good enough. The whole team is responsible for transparency, however the SM should notice if there is a lack of transparency and help the team to address it.
A) The Development Team uses some time in each Sprint to analyse, estimate and design high ordered Product Backlog items.
B) A separate Scrum Team of business analysts and functional testers analyse high-ordered requirements one sprint ahead of development.
C) The Product Owner works with the stakeholders to prepare Product Backlog items outside of the sprint so the development team will not be disrupted.
D) The analysts on the Development Team document high ordered Product Backlog items during a Sprint when they are not busy working on the forecast.
Mikhail: A) Correct. The name of this activity is Product Backlog Refinement. However, why the PO is not mentioned here? The Scrum Guide says “Product Backlog refinement is the act of adding detail, estimates, and order to items in the Product Backlog. This is an ongoing process in which the Product Owner and the Development Team collaborate on the details of Product Backlog items.”
B) Wrong. Scrum does not have separate teams for business analysts.
C) This is a good option, but it won’t get enough clarity at the Sprint Planning. When the PO is ready with a new PB item, the PO should discuss it with the DT to make sure it is understood well before taking it into the next Sprint.
D) Wrong. Scrum recognizes only Developer role in the Development Team.
It looks like the correct answer is A. However, if it were my question, I would mention the PO in this option.
A. Prepare it by himself
B. Tell the PO to prepare and submit to the Manager
C. Ask the DT to include the report into their Sprint Backlog
D. Tell the Manager that status will be visible during the Sprint Review
Mikhail: The best option is D (status will be visible at the Sprint Review).
A duty of the Scrum Team is to be transparent. Those who need information are responsible for getting it. So, the manager can investigate the artifacts of the Scrum Team (Product Backlog, Sprint Backlog) and visit the next Sprint Review.
B. True and they should be available 100% dedicated to the Scrum Team
C. True and the productivity and progress depends on their availability
Mikhail: C is correct. PO, SM and even Dev Team members can work on more than one Product at the same time, but productivity will suffer because of switching focus.
(not sure about other options)
A. tell the DT to figure out themselves
B. Ask the PO to adjust the PB items according to the technical expertise of the DT, so they can plan the work.
Mikhail: A is correct. The Scrum Guide says: Teams in Scrum are self-organizing and cross-functional. Self-organizing teams choose how best to accomplish their work, rather than being directed by others outside the team. Cross-functional teams have all competencies needed to accomplish the work without depending on others not part of the team.
Mikhail: No, the statement is incorrect.
The Scrum framework does not require the same Sprint length or aligned Sprints for all teams. So, the start date can be different.
a. An increment of working software that is done
b. An increment of software with minor known bugs in it
c. Some sort of documentation
d. Failing unit test, to identify acceptance tests
Mikhail: The Scrum Guide contains:
“At the end of a Sprint, the new Increment must be “Done,” which means it must be in useable condition and meet the Scrum Team’s definition of “Done”.
a. Perfectly suits to this definition
b. Wrong because we do not know the DoD of the team in the question. So, we cannot tell are the minor bugs acceptable for a “Done” Increment.
c. and d. are wrong because the Scrum Guide says:
“Development Teams deliver an Increment of product functionality every Sprint.”
They cannot deliver only documentation or an unit test.
a. Ask the Development Team to think about whether they can add these features to the current Sprint
b. The Scrum Master add these features to the current Sprint
c. Add it to the Product Backlog
d. Introduce these features at the next Daily Scrum
Mikhail: c. is definitely correct because the Product Backlog is the single source of requirements for any changes to be made to the product.
b. is wrong because the Scrum Guide says: “Only the Development Team can change its Sprint Backlog during a Sprint.”
d. is wrong because the PO cannot introduce the features at the Daily Scrum because he or she does not participate in it
a. is correct because the Sprint scope can be re-negotiated if the Sprint Goal and quality are out of danger (see a quote from the Scrum Guide below)
During the Sprint:
* No changes are made that would endanger the Sprint Goal;
* Quality goals do not decrease; and,
* Scope may be clarified and re-negotiated between the Product Owner and Development Team as more is learned.
a) Talk to the Dev team, challenge and inspire them to complete all the work so that they meet their commitment to the PO and have the forecasted velocity.
b) Advise the product owner that the dev team owns the Sprint Backlog and it is up to them to meet the commitment. No one tell the Dev team how to turn Product backlog into increment of potentially releasable functionality.
c) Add more people to Dev team to meet the commitment to PO.
d) Coach the PO that with complex software development you cannot promise the entire scope that was forecasted during Sprint planning. As more is learned during the sprint, work may emerge that affects the Sprint backlog.
a) is not a good option. The Dev Team has no commitments to the PO. There is no goal in Scrum to meet the forecasted velocity by any price.
b) is correct. The Scrum Guide says: “No one (not even the Scrum Master) tells the Development Team how to turn Product Backlog into Increments of potentially releasable functionality;” So, it up to the Dev Team to meet the commitment.
c) is definitely wrong because adding more people to a team decreases productivity in a short term and won’t help to meet the commitment.
d) is not a good option because it is only partially correct. If Scrum is practiced for a while and implemented on a good level, usually teams deliver the scope forecasted during the Sprint Planning. However, rarely something happens during a Sprint (e.g. new completely unpredicted work discovered, a developer got a cold, etc.) and the team cannot deliver all the stories.
Mikhail: This question is about handling external dependencies in Scrum. The rule of thumb here is not to take any work into a Sprint if there are some unresolved external dependencies. The reason is the Dev team cannot take a commitment to finish the item in this case.
Another point to keep in mind is a piece of functionality should be delivered in every Sprint.
In real life I would ask the following questions at the Sprint Planning in this situation:
* Will the external component be delivered during this Sprint? Rarely the answer is “yes” if there is a person representing the external team and making the commitment.
* If the component is not delivered, will work on this item produce some valuable functionality for customers?
If the answers to the both questions are “no”, the dev team will take the next items from the Backlog into the Sprint.
The primary concern of the PO is the flow of value reflected in the ordering of product backlog. Timeline of the flow might be affected by such dependencies but doesn’t necessarily change the ordering.
Mikhail: Scrum addresses the most of the risks involved in software development.
For example, Scrum addresses timescale of the planned work via Sprint Planning and fixed Sprint length. Scrum guarantees the best possible value will be delivered in the specified time frame.
Scrum addresses the risks related to the Team: missing skills or bad relationships. The Scrum Guide tells: “Development Teams are cross-functional, with all the skills as a team necessary to create a product Increment;” and “teams are self-organizing”. It means if some skills are missing, the team can organize itself to gain them. The same is with bad relationships. Teams can overcome them by ourselves with a help from the Scrum Master.
Scrum allows to mitigate the risk of an unstable or complex technology through Product Backlog management. The most risky items will be identified and put close to the top. They will be addressed early that guarantees minimal loses in the case if something goes wrong with the technology.
Complexity and unpredictability of requirements are addressed by Scrum via constant work of the PO with the Key Stakeholders and the Development Team (Sprint Reviews, Backlog refinement sessions, etc.)
As the Scrum Master what will your do (choose two)?
a) Raise a concern to HR and get Jason removed from the team.
b) Take Jason aside and express your concern over this behavior. Tell him to act as team player and comply to team decision.
c) You suggest to open it up with full team now so that is does not further worsen. You propose to help initiate this discussion but not being the one to start it.
d) You observe this in Retrospective whether discussion on design and architecture is initiated, if not then check how comfortable is everyone with the way it is handled in project.
Mikhail: This question relates to the group of questions where a team member behaves in a wrong way. There are following ideas for the Scrum Master how to handle this:
* As the Scrum Master you are responsible for supporting Scrum, facilitating Scrum events as requested and removing impediments. So, you definitely should take an action.
* Do not immediately suspect lack of commitment. It can be unfair and even harmful. Try to understand what’s going on. Find it out by asking the individual (privately) or someone who knows the individual (discreetly).
* Scrum Teams are self-organizing, so they can handle this for themselves. You should bring it up in the next Retrospective and try to come to a solution that everyone is happy with.
So, the correct answers are c and d.
Definitely, it needs to be discussed with the team. However, it is worth to understand what’s going on before this. Sometimes the root cause of the bad behavior is very different than it seems. In many questions about harmful developer behavior B would be a good option if it was formulated like “Take Jason aside and ask why does he behave in this way”.
As usually, there is no need to wait for a formal event to inspect and adapt. This can be done as soon as the issue is identified.
a) Tell the PO that dev team owns the DoD and it is their duty to decide on acceptable performance standard
b) Encourage the PO to bring this up to the team so that team can come up with improved DoD, with strong SLA requirements for performance issues
c) Wait till retrospective because this is the appropriate time for dev team to re-consider the DoD
Mikhail: Of course, the PO needs to bring up the concerns to the team. I think it is better to do as early as possible.
However, changing the DoD during a Sprint seems not a good practice because of 2 reasons:
* If the DoD is strengthen in a middle of a Sprint, it could affect the Sprint Goal because items from the Sprint Backlog will require more time to be completed.
* Sometimes a Dev Team could desire to weaken the DoD in a middle of a Sprint to make some unfinished items “complete”. In my opinion it could endanger quality.
So, the best time to change the DoD is at the Retrospective right before the next Sprint.
Mikhail: The Scrum Guide itself does not contain details about the Scrum Values. However, I found a very good series of articles on this topic at Scrum.org that explains every value:
I think the following values were touched in the question: openness, courage and respect (c, d, e):
Openness enables team members to share their perspectives, feel heard by their peers, and be able to support team decisions.
It takes courage to share a dissenting opinion with a team member and engage in productive conflict.
It takes courage to admit our mistakes. This could apply to our technical work, our decisions, or how we conduct ourselves.
When there is respect for all opinions and perspectives, we can ensure everyone has the opportunity to be heard. When we feel we have been heard, it is possible to fully support team decisions even if the decision was not our preference.
A. Sales Executive or Sales Leader
C. Customers and Prospects
D. Market research results and analyst reports
E. Development Team
Mikhail: Actually, the Product Owner can work with anyone any time (possibly during Product Backlog Refinement and other activities) who can supply good ideas to capture more value for the Product.
In order to maximize value, the PO should identify the Key Stakeholders for the Product, and involve them as necessary throughout the development effort.
There is a good article at Scrum.org that explains everything about the Key Stakeholders. It divides the Key Stakeholders into three broad categories:
- The Users – The human people who actually use the Product. Sometimes the Development team acts as a “Production Support Engineer” user
- The External Customers – The people responsible for paying to use the Product
- The Internal Customers – The people responsible for making the funding decisions for the Product development effort
The Scrum Glossary gives a definition:
A Key Stakeholder is a person external to the Scrum Team with a specific interest in and knowledge of a product that is required for incremental discovery. Represented by the Product Owner and actively engaged with the Scrum Team at Sprint Review.
So, the PO might consider all the suggested options. However, we can try to arrange them:
C. Customers and Prospects (The Users)
B. CEO (The Internal Customers)
A. Sales Executive or Sales Leader (specific interest in and knowledge of the Product)
E. Development Team (sometimes acts as a “Production Support Engineer” user, can give useful feedback during Product Backlog Refinement and other activities)
D. Market research results and analyst reports
(A): You identify the dependencies and re-order the Product Backlog for them.
(B): You work with the Development Teams on how to best parse the work.
Mikhail: Actually, it is easy to answer using the Nexus Guide. It has special events for identifying and minimizing dependencies between the teams and forecasting which team will deliver which Product Backlog items: Refinement and Nexus Sprint Planning. Both meetings involve representatives from all the teams.
So, the correct answer is B.
There is a good paper describing this process in detail: Cross-Team Refinement in Nexus™
A. Add at least one high priority item into the Product Backlog
B. Add at least one high priority item into the Sprint Backlog
C. Aim for highest priority item to be implemented in the next Sprint
D. Add the highest priority item into the Product Backlog
Mikhail: A and D are wrong because they suggest adding a team process improvement directly into the Product Backlog. Remember, the Product Backlog lists all features, functions, requirements, enhancements, and fixes that constitute the changes to be made to the product in future releases.
B (add a process improvement into the Sprint Backlog) looks good. However, the current Sprint is almost over at the time of Retrospective. The scope of the next Sprint will be defined at the following Sprint Planning. So, B is not the best choice.
The Scrum Guide contains: The Sprint Backlog makes visible all the work that the Development Team identifies as necessary to meet the Sprint Goal. To ensure continuous improvement, it includes at least one high priority process improvement identified in the previous Retrospective meeting.
So, C option is the best.
A. Report daily progress to stakeholders
B. Do the work planned in the Sprint Backlog
C. Increase velocity
D. Pull Product Backlog items for the Sprint
E. Reorder the Product Backlog
F. Set the time for the Daily Scrum
Mikhail: A. Wrong. There is no such a duty.
C. Wrong. There is no a formal commitment for this.
D. Correct. The Guide states: “The number of items selected from the Product Backlog for the Sprint is solely up to the Development Team.” I would rephrase it as the DT pulls items from the PB until it feels it is enough.
E. Wrong. This is a PO responsibility.
Check 1 Answer:
A. The productivity of the first team decreases
B. The productivity of the first team increases
C. The productivity of the first team remains unchanged
Mikhail: The correct answer is A. Productivity will decrease because the first team should spend time on interaction with the other team and resolve dependencies. In the very beginning the productivity will drop even more because members of the first team will have to do some knowledge transfer to the new team.
A. Facilitating and also participating as a Scrum team member.
B. Summarizing and reporting the discussions to management.
C. Acting as a scribe to capture the Development Team’s answers.
D. Prioritizing the resulting action items.
Mikhail: A. Correct. The Scrum Guide states: “The Scrum Master ensures that the meeting is positive and productive. The Scrum Master participates as a peer team member in the Retrospective from the accountability over the Scrum process.”
B. Wrong because management is not part of Scrum
C. Wrong because there is no Scribe role in Scrum
D. Wrong because the whole team should do it
A. During Sprint Planning.
B. After they have been discussed and agreed to at the Sprint Retrospective.
C. Whenever needed.
D. Before a Sprint begins.
E. Prior to starting a project.
Mikhail: The correct answer is C. Teams in Scrum are self-organized. There is no need to wait until a formal event. Scrum events give formal opportunities to inspect and adapt. However, any adjustments to practices or processes can be made whenever it is needed.
A. When the Product Owner identities a new work.
B. When the Scrum Master has time to enter them.
C. As soon as possible after they are identified.
D. During the Daily Scrum after the Development Team approves them
Mikhail: The correct answer is C “as soon as possible”. The Scrum Guide clarifies it:
“As new work is required, the Development Team adds it to the Sprint Backlog.”
“The Sprint Backlog is a highly visible, real-time picture of the work that the Development Team plans to accomplish during the Sprint”
There is no need to wait for the Daily Scrum to approve it.
A. As much as the Product Owner and Development Team agree is necessary to create enough ready Product Backlog Items
B. Up to 10% of the capacity of the Development Team
C. As much as the Product Owner deems necessary to create enough ready Product Backlog Items
D. Up to 10% of the capacity of the Development Team in a typical Sprint, but as much as 90% in early Sprints
Mikhail: At first glance it seems that answer should be B. However, it is A. The Scrum Guide states:
“This is an ongoing process in which the Product Owner and the Development Team collaborate on the details of Product Backlog items.”
“Refinement usually consumes no more than 10% of the capacity of the Development Team.”
So, Refinement takes as much time as the PO and the DT agree. Usually, it takes not more than 10% of the total Sprint time.
A. Instruct the Development Team to split into 2 teams with 5 Developers in each
B. Instruct the Development Team to split into 2 teams, they should decide the appropriate sizes
C. Raise the increased team size as a potential impediment and help the Development Team decide what to do about it
D. Do nothing, the Development Team must fix its own issues
Mikhail: The Scrum Guide advises optimal team size of 3 to 9 people. A and B are wrong because teams are self-organizing. C is better than D because the Dev Team can be not aware of the potential risks. Your job as the Scrum Master is to clarify it and facilitate coming to a solution.
A. Development team plans work for next 24 hours
B. Inspect work since last daily scrum
C. Forecast upcoming sprint work
My confusion: A and B looks correct. C is not clear to me, do they mean upcoming work of the current sprint or the work of upcoming sprint?
Mikhail: The Scrum Guide contains “The Daily Scrum is held every day of the Sprint. At it, the Development Team plans work for the next 24 hours. This optimizes team collaboration and performance by inspecting the work since the last Daily Scrum and forecasting upcoming Sprint work.”
So, all the options are correct.
A. No, that is far too hard and must be done in a hardening Sprint.
B. No, each Scrum Team stands alone.
C. Yes, but only for Scrum Teams whose work has dependencies.
D. Yes, otherwise the Product Owners (and stakeholders) may not be able to accurately inspect what is done.
Mikhail: In my opinion, the answer should be “Yes” without any other conditions. The Nexus Guide states: “A Nexus consists of multiple cross-functional Scrum Teams working together to deliver a potentially releasable Integrated Increment at least by the end of each Sprint.”
So, all teams should integrate their increments by the end of each Sprint.
C is the correct answer here because D contains “Product Owners” which assumes several POs are working on the same project which is wrong.
Mikhail: True (A). The Scrum Guide states: “The heart of Scrum is a Sprint, a time-box of one month or less during which a “Done”, useable, and potentially releasable product Increment is created.”
A. Report daily progress to stakeholders
B. Do the work planned in the Sprint Backlog.
C. Increase velocity.
D. Pull Product Backlog items for the Sprint.
E. Reorder the Product Backlog.
F. Set the time for the Daily Scrum.
Mikhail: A. Wrong. There is no such a duty.
C. Wrong. There is no a formal commitment for velocity increase.
D. Correct. However, I would note, the whole Scrum Team does it at the Sprint Planning (not only the DT).
E. Wrong. This is a PO responsibility.
Q1 :Who creates the Increment?
A1: Only members of the Development Team create the Increment.
Q2: What belongs solely to the Development Team?
I think, the answer here should include “Increment”, but the answer was : The Sprint Backlog
Mikhail: I think, there is no any contradiction between the questions. The Scrum Guide contains:
“Only members of the Development Team create the Increment.”
“Only the Development Team can change its Sprint Backlog during a Sprint. The Sprint Backlog is a highly visible, real-time picture of the work that the Development Team plans to accomplish during the Sprint, and it belongs solely to the Development Team.”
So, according to the Scrum Guide, the both answers are correct.
It is not written in the Guide, but in fact, when the Increment is created, it does not belong to the Dev Team anymore. For example, someone hired a dev team to create a product. When the job is done, the product belongs to the person who funded the project.