What Are Agile Scrum Artifacts?
Want to learn about Scrum artifacts?
Scrum artifacts are must-haves for any Scrum team.
They keep the team and the stakeholders on the same page about the project.
But why is it called an artifact?
And more importantly, what are the 3 artifacts of Scrum?
In this article, you’ll learn what these artifacts are and how to manage them effectively to master the art of Scrum.
Let’s get rolling.
What Are Scrum Artifacts?
Scrum artifacts are elements that help you share vital project information with everyone involved in Scrum project management. They help reinforce the core Scrum values of transparency, inspection, and adaptation.
This information can be anything like:
- How the project is progressing
- What activities are planned for the upcoming sprint
- What has been completed so far
According to the Annual State of Agile Report, 66% of respondents follow a Scrum methodology and Scrum artifacts help Scrum teams maintain the transparency of key information over the project to complete each one successfully.
While the Scrum Guide officially details three Scrum artifacts, we have also included extended Scrum artifacts that should be considered.
What Are The 3 Main Artifacts of Scrum?
The Scrum process framework has three key artifacts:
- Product Backlog: lists the features of the product you’re developing
- Sprint Backlog: describes what the Scrum team members should develop during a sprint
- Product Increment: the product version delivered after each sprint to the stakeholder
They ensure that both the Scrum team and the stakeholders have a shared understanding of the product development process. If someone wants to check the project progress, they don’t have to go around bugging team members, asking them about the status!
Just check the Scrum’s artifacts instead.
Here’s a close look at each of them:
1. Product backlog
Understanding what the user truly wants is crucial before developing the product.
But if their needs change constantly, how do you keep track of it?
By using a product backlog!
This official Scrum artifact is an ordered list of what features and fixes (items) are required in the product as well as a single source of requirements for an upcoming sprint.
It helps you:
- Ensure that everyone knows what’s going on
- Prioritize decisions according to changing business requirements
- Predict how much can be developed in a specific time frame using agile story points
What are story points?
In Agile software development, a user story describes how the software features will be useful to the customer. Each user story is assigned a story point, a metric that shows how difficult that user story (feature) is to implement.
Each product backlog item is then prioritized based on how important it is for the user (you only have to check its story point to know this.)
For example, Indiana preferred GPS functionality instead of advanced filtering. So the GPS feature will be at a higher position in the product backlog item list, indicating that it’s a priority functionality.
And when your Scrum team looks at the GPS product backlog item and its story point, they’ll know that they need to tackle that feature first — giving the explorer what he truly wanted!
Interestingly, the product backlog is also called a “living artifact”.
No, it doesn’t start talking or bite your hand when you come too close!
The product backlog list is continuously updated to reflect any change in stakeholder needs, much like how a living being adapts to changing surroundings!
It goes through a process called product backlog refinement (also known as backlog grooming), where you:
- Review each backlog item regularly
- Delete items that are no longer required
- Write new user stories and assign story points
- Redefine the acceptance criteria
But who manages the product backlog?
As the product owner understands user needs and defines the acceptance criteria (product standards), they’re also responsible for maintaining the product backlog.
Moving on to #2…
2. Sprint backlog
Remember, a Scrum process is carried out in sprints.
But how do you know what features should be developed in each Scrum sprint?
One way is to ask the neighborhood psychic.
But checking the sprint backlog is a more reliable method!
The sprint backlog is a to-do list that describes what product functionality should be developed in a particular sprint. It also outlines a plan (release plan) to deliver that functionality and meet the sprint goal.
The sprint backlog is created during the sprint planning meeting before each sprint.
The development team with the Scrum master chooses a product backlog item according to its priority, then adds it to the sprint backlog and splits it into tasks. Later, the Scrum team works on each task, moving it through stages like development, testing, and more (as needed) during the sprint.
As the sprint backlog highlights a real-time picture of the work needed in a sprint, the Scrum team regularly updates it. Unnecessary elements from the sprint backlog are deleted, and the estimated remaining work is updated accordingly.
3. Product increment
And finally, here’s the most crucial Scrum artifact, the increment.
An increment is basically a working, potentially-deliverable version of the product.
Sure, the Scrum team works to deliver the increment at the end of each Scrum sprint. But before calling it a shippable product, the product owner must check to see if it aligns with the development team’s “Definition of Done”.
What’s the “Definition of Done”?
It’s the collection of all the acceptance criteria (quality criteria, constraints, or non-functional/business requirements) as defined in the product backlog.
In each increment, all backlog items completed so far are integrated together. It’s then delivered to stakeholders only if it ticks all the boxes in the Scrum team’s definition of done.
Extended Scrum Artifacts
While any Scrum project requires the above 3 artifacts, there are several others that help your team achieve their sprint goal.
Here’s a quick look at few other artifacts that help teams know if they’ll be able to release the increment in time:
1. Release burndown chart
A release burndown chart (or a sprint burndown chart) highlights the remaining work to be completed in a Scrum sprint.
You can use it to gauge if things are moving according to plan and check if you’ll be able to achieve the goal in time. The Scrum master updates the release burndown chart after each sprint.
Burndown charts reinforces the core Scrum values of commitment, openness and focus.
2. Release Plan
Often created during the sprint planning meeting, a release plan outlines the work to be completed in the next sprint.
It helps you answer questions like:
- When will the current sprint finish?
- How much will it cost to implement the features?
3. Definition of Done
Teams can document and share their definition of “done”, so that all internal stakeholders have a shared clarity of how to approach open tasks. This artifact is useful for defining the boundaries of an increment.
Using this definition, teams can avoid confusion about what was completed during a sprint. During their sprint review meetings, scrum teams can close out “done” tasks for burndown tracking and move on to the next open task to progress toward their end goals.
How To Manage Your Scrum Artifacts Efficiently
So you’ve made it this far.
Your Scrum team has learned the Scrum artifacts and is now ready to tackle software development projects based on the Agile manifesto principles.
How do you manage each Scrum artifact?
And on top of that, with more companies opting to work remotely after COVID-19, you’ll need to manage your artifacts remotely.
Luckily, that’s why you have powerful project management tools like ClickUp!
These tools help Scrum teams:
- Plan for an upcoming sprint
- Manage their sprint backlog and product backlog efficiently
- Track how each sprint is progressing over time
- Communicate with each other and with every stakeholder
The Best Scrum Agile Software: ClickUp
ClickUp is the world’s leading Scrum project management software.
Here’s a glance at some ClickUp features that make adapting to the Scrum framework a cakewalk:
1. Multiple Views for adapting to various project needs
Project needs could change any time, right?
And to adapt to changes successfully, your project management tool must be flexible enough to view project requirements from different perspectives!
- List view: perfect for teams who prefer GTD-style to-do lists. Tasks are listed down as simple checklists, which can be quickly checked off as you progress
- Board view: lets you visualize and move tasks Kanban-style
- Box view: see your tasks sorted by assignee, to know who’s working on what instantly
These Views can keep you company during your daily scrum meeting, helping you plan the current sprint or even the next sprint!
2. Sprint Lists to know how your sprints are progressing
Want to track your sprints without sweating profusely (or moderately for most of us)?
A Sprint List is a simple checklist that divides the current sprint into small tasks to help you track its progress. You can quickly check work items off according to your progress.
You can also add Scrum points to a list to gauge the time you’ll take to finish a particular backlog item.
They’re perfect for team discussions during a Scrum meeting, like the sprint planning meeting or sprint review meeting.
3. Powerful Dashboards for visual overviews of your project
Want to know if things are running according to plan?
Checking the Dashboard will give you some necessary ammo for your daily scrum or sprint review meetings. You can even use it to help multiple Scrum teams within your project coordinate with each other.
For added flexibility, you can even customize the graphs you get, such as:
- Velocity Charts: view the completion rate of your tasks
- Burndown Charts: show the amount of work remaining in a project
- Burnup Charts: highlight the amount of work already completed in a project
- Cumulative Flow Charts: display how the project is progressing over time
4. Custom Statuses to manage varying project stages
Most project management tools give you a default set of project statuses that have nothing to do with your project.
I mean, how is a “grammar check” stage useful in a software development project?!
Luckily, with ClickUp’s Custom Statuses, you can create task statuses that perfectly reflect your project needs. For example, you can create a status like “beta testing and development” for Indiana’s location-tracking device project.
The best part?
Just glance at a task’s status to know what sprint execution stage it’s in! This way, you’ll instantly know how the project is progressing.
5. Detailed Reports to track your team’s performance
Want to know how your Scrum team is performing during each sprint?
This Scrum software auto-generates tons of real-time reports for detailed insights on your tasks and development team. You get reports like:
- Task Completed Report: shows which tasks each member completed
- Worked On Report: highlights the total number of tasks each member worked in a given period
- Workspace Points Report: gamify your work process and track who’s doing well
- Time Tracked Report: displays the total time tracked by each team member during a sprint
You can use these reports to calculate total work done by the team, balance out workloads, identify bottlenecks, or even reward well-performing team members during the daily scrum meeting!
However, these aren’t all of ClickUp’s features.
This Agile software also gives you features like:
- Assigned Comments: create tasks out of comments to ensure that they never go unanswered
- Automation: automate repetitive tasks in your sprints
- Priorities: know which tasks are urgent and tackle them first
- Dependencies: attempt your tasks in the right order
- Collaboration Detection: know when other team members are working on the same task as you are
Scrum artifacts are super important for any Scrum team. They share key project information with everyone involved to guide your team in the right direction.
However, these artifacts are only effective when used alongside each Scrum role and event.
Luckily, with the right project management tool, you can coordinate all these elements.
That’s why you need a powerful Scrum project management software like ClickUp!
From managing your Scrum artifacts to detailed team reports, ClickUp has everything you’ll ever need for your Scrum team.
Sign up for ClickUp today and discover the power yourself!