The Artifacts

Note: This is one in a continuing series of posts re Scrum Intro. The preceding post is here.

Now we turn to the artifacts in Scrum.

First we have to be clear: There can be many many artifacts for a team depending on the work and how you define artifact. So, the main artifacts we will discuss here are what we consider the core Scrum artifacts.

My list is this:

  • The Product Backlog
  • The Sprint Backlog
  • The Scrum Board
  • The Sprint Burndown Chart
  • The Release Burndown Chart
  • Working Product
  • The Definition of Done
  • The Impediment List

My list is not what you will find in the Scrum Guide. So, when they are not mentioned in the Scrum Guide, I will explain a bit more.

Do we have to use all these artifacts every time? Well, of course not. Use common sense. If you are quite confident that an artifact won’t help you in your specific situation, by all means do not fool with it. Just, be careful. Common sense is not very common. That’s a Ken Schwaber saying, I believe. What I think it means is we are so easily captives of the old ideas and so we do not see the truth of the current situation well enough. Often we do not make the right decision, so be careful.

Should I have other artifacts? Do you recommend other artifacts? I often get these questions. The answer is probably “yes” in both cases. Again, we are only discussing the most basic Scrum artifacts.

Let’s mention one more artifact (or someone could call it an artifact). That is, the Scrum tool.

There are many many Scrum tools out there — none are identical. They do many things and they vary a lot, but typically they hold the Product Backlog and the Sprint Backlog. Often they do more such as generate the burndown charts, show a Scrum Board, etc.

Well known Scrum tools include using Excel, Rally (recently renamed within CA), Version One, Jira, Pivotal Tracker and many, many more. Some of the Scrum tools (other than the ones above) used to be lame a few years ago; now most of them are pretty decent. You should probably have a Scrum tool, even if it is only an Excel sheet. 

Our goal in this paper does not include addressing the Scrum tool as one of the artifacts. OK — now let’s discuss each artifact I mentioned above.

Note: The next post in this series is here


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