What Is Scrum?

Scrum is a subset of Agile and one of the most popular process frameworks for implementing Agile. It is an iterative software development model used to manage complex software and product development. Fixed-length iterations, called sprints lasting one to two weeks long, allow the team to ship software on a regular cadence. At the end of each sprint, stakeholders and team members meet to plan next steps.

Scrum follows a set of roles, responsibilities, and meetings that never change. For example, Scrum calls for four ceremonies that provide structure to each sprint: sprint planning, daily stand-up, sprint demo, and sprint retrospective. During each sprint, the team will use visual artifacts like task boards or burndown charts to show progress and receive incremental feedback.

Jeff Sutherland created the Scrum process in 1993, taking the term “Scrum” from an analogy in a 1986 study by Takeuchi and Nonaka published in the Harvard Business Review. In the study, Takeuchi and Nonaka compare high-performing, cross-functional teams to the Scrum formation used by Rugby teams. The original context for this was manufacturing, but Sutherland, along with John Scumniotales and Jeff McKenna, adapted the model for software development.