Scrum Artifacts

The 3 Scrum Artifacts and How They Can Help You

Teams employing Scrum deliver a remarkable 250% improvement in quality.

If you’re looking to finish projects faster, make your team more productive, and deliver better results to your clients, Scrum is one of the best frameworks to use. There are many ways you can go about using Scrum with your projects.

We’ve divided this complex framework into three simple steps to help eliminate confusion and allow you to get started using Scrum with ease.

In this post, you’ll discover the three Scrum artifacts and how they can help you manage projects better.

What Are Scrum Artifacts?

Scrum artifacts help teams organize their work, track progress, and ensure everyone is on the same page – reducing any delays or friction. These artifacts act as a roadmap that guides the team through the project completion.

There are three main artifacts in the Scrum framework:

  1. Product backlog. This acts as a to-do list for the project, containing all of the tasks, features, and improvements.
  2. Sprint backlog. This acts as a short-term plan, containing the tasks with assigned team members, urgency, and deadlines.
  3. Product increment. This is the result of the work done during a sprint – it’s a working version of the product (or may even be a final version).
Scrum artifacts

Source: Atlassian

The Three Main Scrum Artifacts

Now we’ve covered an overview of the Scrum framework and its artifacts, let’s examine a number of useful tips and real-time examples, so that you can begin using it in your framework with your team, maximizing your productivity. 

We’ll be using the Atarim app through this process.

#1: Product Backlog

The product backlog is a to-do list that includes everything needed to finish a product, such as:

  • Improvements
  • New features
  • Bug fixes
  • Tasks

This ‘to-do’ list is usually put together by using data from customer support, competitor analysis, market demands and business analysis.

The product backlog needs to be very dynamic, with new tasks added on-demand from clients. Of course, the number of potential changes to a product can be limitless. The only limitation is the capacity of your team to deliver them. Therefore we like to think of it as a space for coordinating workload that is manageable.

Here’s how a product backlog would look for designing a website for a small business.

Let’s say you and your team need to create a website for a local bakery. To manage the project effectively, you decide to use a product backlog. You’d start by gathering data and adding that into the backlog.

Gathering Design Ideas

You and your team meet to brainstorm design ideas for the bakery website. 

This includes things such as choosing a color scheme, selecting fonts, creating a logo, and designing layout mockups.

brainstorming

Source: Hover

Plus, with each of the ideas you gather, you’ll also think about how it will impact the UX. 

It’s all about getting into your ideal customer’s mindset and thinking about their interests and what appeals to them – “as a visitor, I want the website to have a warm and inviting color scheme so that it feels friendly and welcoming.”

Prioritizing

You’ll now need to discuss which design elements are the most important.

For instance, you might all agree that creating a wireframe, a website template, a color scheme, and branding are the most important.

Atarim product backlog

Estimating Effort

Now you estimate how much time and effort each task requires. 

Designing the logo might be labeled as “medium” effort since it involves creativity and iterations. Choosing the color scheme could be seen as “low” effort because it’s about making aesthetic choices and is generally a lot faster.

Atarim time estimation

Adding and Refining

As the project progresses, new ideas will arise, or there may be a need to refine existing tasks. 

For instance, you might add “Creating iconography for the website” and “Testing color contrast for accessibility.” This is a continuous process that lasts through the whole process of product development.

Sprint backlog 

Sprint backlog includes the specific backlog items the Scrum team will deliver during the current sprint (specific time period of product development). It involves selecting a task from the product backlog and breaking that task into smaller, actionable sprint items.

Sprint backlog in Scrum

Source: Usefyi

For instance, you may have a task for “creating a shop page” in your product backlog.

However, this is a pretty big task that can be divided into smaller sub-tasks or steps, which can include:

  • Designing a product layout
  • Selecting product categories
  • Configuring product filters
  • Adding the ‘Add to Cart’ functionality
  • Setting prices and discounts

The product backlog contains this big task “creating a shop page”, while a sprint backlog divides this task into smaller, actionable tasks that will get completed more quickly and easily.

The smaller sprint tasks are assigned to the relevant teams such as design and development.

assgning tasks to team members in Atarim

Of course, the sprint backlog is also dynamic, similar to the product backlog, and is updated during the sprint planning phase of Scrum.

Here’s a progression of our bakery example from the product backlog into a sprint backlog.

Selecting Tasks for the Sprint

In your first sprint, you focus on crucial design elements.

Based on the priority from the product backlog, you select tasks such as “creating a wireframe”, “finding the right website template”, and “creating a color scheme”.

Atarim setting up task priority and urgency

The goal for this sprint is to have the foundational design elements ready for review.

Assigning Responsibilities

Each task is assigned to a team member based on their strengths and expertise. 

For instance, Mike is skilled in creating wireframes, and so takes on the task of creating a wireframe and choosing the template for the website.

Tracking Progress

There are plenty of ways you can track the progress of your current sprint. For instance, you can have regular, daily meetings with your team members to discuss what needs to be done, and get updates on the project progression.

We like to use the User Activity feature in the Atarim app for staying on top of things.

From there, you can see what each of your team members are doing, what tasks are overdue or are taking longer than expected, and make the necessary adjustments.

Atarim tracking team activity

#3: Product Increment

Product increment is the deliverables that your team completed during the sprint.

It consists of a usable and potentially releasable version of the product. In this step, you should also demonstrate the product to the stakeholders. In theory, no further development is required, and the product can be released immediately.

However, this is rarely the case, and you’ll often have to continue working on the project.

This may be due to the new tasks in product backlog, bug fixes, improvements, or feedback from a client. Product increments are additive – they build on previous iterations of the product.

By the end of several sprints, the Scrum team will have delivered multiple product increments (product versions), each improving on the next to meet user needs.

Let’s now continue with the example of designing a website for a local bakery.

Reviewing the Increment

If you do everything properly, you should meet the goal of your sprint. Now it’s time to review each of the deliverables and showcase them to the client.

  • Wireframe. The client sees a structured visual representation of how the website’s layout and elements will be organized.
  • Website template. This template includes the layout, navigation, and interactive elements, giving the owner a realistic preview of the website. 
  • Color scheme and branding. The finalized color scheme, along with the initial branding elements (such as fonts and visual styles).

Demonstrating Functionality

Next, your team ensures that the website and all deliverables are functional, such as making sure that links and buttons are interactive, providing a realistic representation of how users will interact with the website. 

Soliciting Feedback

The bakery owner reviews the Increment and provides feedback. 

They might suggest adjustments to the wireframe, provide preferences for some interactive elements, or offer additional feedback. 

Atarim leaving suggestions and feedback on client's live site

Now It’s Time to Repeat the Process

Based on the feedback from the client, you and your team can prepare for the next sprint.

The first sprint tends to be the hardest, since you’re creating a product from scratch. After you get the ball rolling, you can start to focus on easier tasks, such as:

  • Refining website template
  • Creating additional pages
  • Adding functionality

Each increment serves as a clear milestone in the project.

This project management philosophy allows for timely feedback, ensuring that the website design aligns with the bakery owner’s vision.

With each of the sprints, the product grows in value and functionality.

Conclusion – Ready to Start Your Scrum Project?

Scrum artifacts are essential steps for a successful project completion. If you’re looking to learn additional information about Scrum, we recommend checking our previous post on the best books for Scrum masters.

You can also learn more about managing projects by checking these resources:

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