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Using Microsoft Project Scrum in 2023 

 October 8, 2022

By  Dave Litten

Using Microsoft Project Scrum in 2023

There have been updates and clarifications made to the latest Scrum Guide, and these should be reflected in the execution of Scrum within Microsoft Project.

Scrum is a simple yet incredibly powerful set of principles and practices that help teams deliver products in short cycles, enabling fast feedback, continual improvement, and rapid adaptation to change.

Scrum is a prescriptive, incremental, and iterative framework for developing software that applies Agile principles

The Scrum values and principles have significant alignment with Lean and Agile values and principles
Work is divided into short time-boxed iterations called sprints which are usually 1-4 weeks

The work planned for the current sprint is chosen from prioritized work items from the Product Backlog, and it is fixed once the sprint starts. The goal is to have a working product at the end of each sprint, enabling fast feedback

The Scrum Master – the Leader Who Serves

The primary purpose of the Scrum Master has been to significantly improve team performance. They do this by helping everyone understand Scrum theory and practice, both within the Scrum Team and the organization. This includes leading, training, and coaching the organization in its Scrum adoption

Microsoft Project Scrum In 2023

Effective Scrum Masters do more than just facilitate Scrum Events and surface impediments. They are active, not passive, and do what must be done to help the Scrum Team and organization achieve great results.

The self-managing Scrum Team

There is just one team, the Scrum Team, focused on the same objective, with different sets of accountabilities for the Product Owner, Scrum Master, and Developers.

Development Teams are self-managing Scrum Teams, choosing what to work on, who is going to do it, and how it will get done.

The team self-manages to deliver on the commitments and to meet the goals.

The Daily Scrum:

The purpose of the Daily Scrum is to inspect progress toward the Sprint Goal and adapt the Sprint Backlog as necessary, adjusting the upcoming planned work, and there are many ways to achieve that purpose.

The Developers can select whatever structure and techniques they want, providing their Daily Scrum focuses on progress toward the Sprint Goal and produces an actionable plan for the next day of work. This creates focus and improves self-management.

There are many ways to achieve the purpose of the Daily Scum. For example, why isn’t the story at the top of the Backlog done? This focus can lead to a large increase in team performance

The Scrum Master, Product Owner, and Developers

The entire Scrum Team is accountable for creating a valuable, useful Increment every Sprint.
Scrum defines three specific accountabilities within the Scrum Team: The Developers, the Product Owner, and the Scrum Master.

Timebox For Backlog Refinement

The Scrum Teams decide on how much time is needed to refine and understand Product Backlog Items.

Sprint Planning

Questions asked should include: What can be delivered in the Increment in the upcoming Sprint, how the work will be achieved and why is this sprint valuable?

The Product Owner proposes how the product could increase its value and utility in the current Sprint. The whole Scrum Team then collaborates to define a Sprint Goal that communicates why the Sprint is valuable to stakeholders.

Only the Product Owner can abort a Sprint

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Sprint Review

In Scrum, the work is accomplished by the team. The Sprint Review is not just led by the Product Owner, but by the Scrum Team as a whole.

During the event, the Scrum Team and stakeholders review what was accomplished in the Sprint and what has changed in their environment. Based on this information, attendees collaborate on what to do next.

The Product Backlog may also be adjusted to meet new opportunities. The Sprint Review is a working session, and the Scrum Team should avoid limiting it to a presentation.

The Sprint Review is the venue for customers, stakeholders, and the Scrum Team to discuss how they achieved the Sprint Goal, progress towards the Product Goal, and what problems have been overcome and what remains in their way.

Daily Scrum

The Developers can select whatever structure and techniques they want, providing their Daily Scrum focuses on progress toward the Sprint Goal and produces an actionable plan for the next day of work. This creates focus and improves self-management.

There are many ways to achieve the purpose of the Daily Scum. For example, why isn’t the story at the top of the Backlog done? This focus can lead to a large increase in team performance

The Sprint Retrospective

This is about just two things; respect for people and continuous improvement.

Retrospectives are successful if the conversations are open, honest, and focus on improving processes and interactions. There are many ways to achieve this.

This scrum event has a focus on process improvements, team happiness, and cohesion, giving individual Scrum Teams flexibility in how they approach the Sprint Retrospective.

The Scrum Master and the whole Scrum Team are to be flexible in finding creative ways to solve problems by first finding their root cause. Sometimes these solutions are the removal of impediments, while others may be potential process improvements identified by the Scrum Team.

The most impactful improvements are addressed as soon as possible. They may even be added to the Sprint Backlog for the next Sprint.

Scrum Artifacts and Commitments

There are just three Artifacts in Scrum, the Product Backlog, the Sprint Backlog, and the Increment. Each represents work or value and is designed to maximize the transparency of key information.

Each of these Artifacts has a corresponding commitment:
• The commitment for the Product Backlog is the Product Goal
• For the Sprint Backlog, it is the Sprint Goal
• For the Increment, it is the Definition of Done

These commitments exist to reinforce empiricism and the Scrum values for the Scrum Team and their stakeholders and provide better focus on how to align teams on the goals and the concrete steps needed to make them a reality.

The Sprint Goal

This is the single objective for the Sprint. The Team needs to focus on:
• What is the purpose of the Sprint?
• What do all these things add up to?
• What are we trying to accomplish?
Put simply it answers the most important question in Scrum, why?

The Sprint Goal is the Team’s commitment to what will be delivered by the Sprint Backlog. The Sprint Backlog is an intimate description of what that Goal is.
The Sprint Goal creates coherence and focus, encouraging the Scrum Team to work together rather than on separate initiatives.

The Product Goal

A product is a vehicle to deliver value. It has a clear boundary, known stakeholders, well-defined users, or customers. A product could be a service, a physical product, or something more abstract. A Scrum Team commits to delivering something of value, this is the Product Goal.

A Scrum Team commits to deliver something of value, this is A Product Goal.

The Product Goal describes the future state of the product which serves as a target for the Scrum Team to plan against. Each Sprint Goal is their commitment to getting closer to that.

Every time something hits that Definition of Done, is their commitment to delivering quality and value in every Product Backlog Item they create.

The Product Goal is in the Product Backlog. The rest of the Product Backlog emerges to define “what” will fulfill the Product Goal.

The Definition of Done

This is a formal description of the state of the Increment when it meets the quality measures required for the product. The moment a Product Backlog item meets the Definition of Done, an Increment is born.

The Definition of Done is the Team’s commitment to quality and value. If something does not meet the Definition of Done it can’t be released and should never be demonstrated at Sprint Review.

The Definition of Done gives the Scrum Team a clear idea of what standards the Team needs to meet to be finished with a Product Backlog Item. And the Team commits to reaching that Product Increment at the end of each and every Sprint.

It gives you one of the greatest deliverables in Scrum: The work not done. It tells Scrum Teams where to stop.

The Definition of Done is a formal description of the state of the Increment when it meets the quality measures required for the product.
The Scrum Team commits to achieving its goals and supporting each other. Their primary focus is on the work of the Sprint to make the best possible progress toward these goals.

The Scrum Team and its stakeholders are open about the work and the challenges.

Scrum Team members expect each other to be capable, independent people, and are respected as such by the people with whom they work. The Scrum Team members have the courage to do the right thing, and to work on tough problems.

It is the commitment of the Scrum Team to deliver value, reach goals, solve problems, and support each other in doing so. It is a commitment not to Scrum, per se, but to using Scrum to reach the goals they have set for themselves.

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Dave Litten


David spent 25 years as a senior project manager for USA multinationals, and has deep experience in project management. He now develops a wide range of Project Management Masterclasses, under the Projex Academy brand name. In addition, David runs project management training seminars across the world, and is a prolific writer on the many topics of project management.

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