Scrum artifacts all tie into the Agile methodology and they all intend to drive value. The goal of the artifacts is to enhance transparency and also create opportunity. Everyone should be able to see the Artifacts, understand where they came from, and see the goal of each. The three official three Scrum Artifacts, as outlined in the Scrum Guide, are: Sprint Backlog, Product Backlog, and Product Increment. Each of these are made with the customers interests top of mind.
The product backlog lists everything that the Development Team may have to accomplish for the product. This backlog is a capture of all known future improvements to a product. This list of improvements is ranked or prioritized based on importance. This is determined by the Product Owner. Effective product backlog items should each have D.O.V.E.
Backlog items should also have a criteria that lets the team know if the item is fully carried out or not, a definition of “done.” Items should not have instruction on how to complete the items but what a finished item looks like. It is up to the team to decide the “how”.
A product backlog is an overarching to-do list for the Development Team for a product. A sprint backlog pulls a couple of Sprints worth of work off of the product backlog. This backlog is a plan for realizing the sprint goal. The artifact also gives a real time snapshot of a Development Team’s work for the current sprint.
What goes on the product backlog is up to the Product Owner. How many items get pulled into the sprint backlog is up to the Development Team. Ideally, the items pulled into a sprint are locked in and cannot be removed. If the team has additional time, they can choose to add items to the sprint backlog.
At Clearly Agile, we prefer a physical board version representing this backlog. This backlog should be in a highly visible spot, like in the team’s meeting room. A physical board allows the team to gather around it for meetings and to see progress that is being made. For teams that cannot have a Scrum board to meet around, there are tips and tricks to making a virtual board imitate a physical board. Some even consider the Scrum board as an artifact itself.
The Product Increment is also known as the Minimum Viable Product or MVP. The end of each sprint should result in a product that can be given to the customer or end user. This doesn’t mean the Product Owner will release this new feature. The goal of every sprint to fully complete product features. It isn’t to have three separate features 80% finished.
This goal promotes continuous progress and allows teams to get feedback on their work from customers if needed. Product Increment allows your team to be nimble and adapt to the users needs as the product is continued to be built. This greatly reduces risk of fully building out a product all at once.
The artifacts of Scrum are essential to keep top of mind as your team grows and improves. Knowing the artifacts and the value they provide will help you understand their importance. Scrum is a methodology which aims to derive value at the earliest possible time. These artifacts help ensure this guideline gets met. Utilize each artifact in Scrum to realize the potential of the methodology and its many benefits. Our agile coaches and Scrum Master classes can help you and your team better understand these concepts.