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What Are Scrum Artifacts? (Ultimate Guide)

What Are Scrum Artifacts? (Ultimate Guide)

Want to learn about Scrum artifacts?

While they aren’t one of Indiana Jones’ prized discoveries, Scrum artifacts are still must-haves for any Scrum team

Why?

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

This Scrum Guide Contains:

(Click on the links below to jump to a specific section)

Let’s get rolling.

What Are Scrum Artifacts?

Scrum artifacts are elements that help you share vital project information with everyone involved. 

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

And while Scrum artifacts aren’t going to help you discover lost cities or buried treasure like Indiana Jones, they’re just as important! 

Why?

They help Scrum teams maintain the transparency of key information over the project to complete each one successfully. 

Scrum has three key artifacts:

  • Product Backlog: lists the features of the product you’re developing
  • Sprint Backlog: describes what the team members should develop during a sprint
  • Product Increment: the product version delivered after each sprint to the stakeholder

But wait… what’s a sprint?

Who are these team members

And what exactly is Scrum?

Don’t worry! 

We’ll answer these quickly. 

But if you want to jump directly to the section about the 3 key Scrum artifacts, click here.

What Is Scrum?

Scrum is a project management framework based on the Agile methodology.

What’s the Agile methodology?

Agile is a project management approach based on the Agile manifesto (which is basically a guide to how to practice it).

Agile divides a project into short development cycles called sprints. Each sprint (also called a release) typically lasts for around 2–4 weeks, where the team develops different parts of the project to achieve a specific sprint goal

And since Scrum methodology is based on the Agile manifesto as well, this is exactly how Scrum works too!

Here’s an example:

Let’s say you’re developing a location-tracking device to help Indiana Jones find his artifacts.

You could take a year planning and developing the software only to realize that he’s not at all happy with the final product!

Why?

You thought that he needed more filters to sort through different locations when he actually wanted more GPS functionality instead.

You wouldn’t have faced this issue if you were using the Scrum Agile methodology!

Why?

As you build the product in stages, you could get Indiana’s feedback after each step and make necessary changes before the next sprint.

This way, you give him what he wants and not the other way around.

Voila! An incredibly happy archaeology professor who can’t wait to go on his next adventure!

What goes into the Scrum process?

The Scrum process isn’t just running a sprint using some artifacts (if only it were that simple!).

You also have five Scrum values, four Scrum events, and three Scrum roles — that’s a total of 16 different elements! 

While this seems like a lot to take in, you don’t have to worry; we’ve got you covered. 

You can check out our super-easy guides to learn these elements quickly:

But as we need a basic understanding of them before diving into the artifacts, here’s a quick overview of each Scrum methodology element:

  • Scrum values: the five Scrum values form the code of ethics for a Scrum development team. It includes commitment, courage, focus, openness, and respect.
  • Scrum events: Scrum events (each event is also known as a Scrum ceremony) are meetings that help teams discuss the development processes. It includes sprint planning, daily Scrum meeting, sprint review, and sprint retrospective meeting.
    Check out more about how they work here.
  • Scrum roles: a Scrum team has three Scrum roles that collaborate to complete the project successfully. It includes a product owner, a Scrum master, and the development team. Think of them as Indiana Jones; his dad, Henry Sr.; and their friends!

Tip: We recommend that the Scrum product owner, Scrum master, and development team take certified Scrum methodology courses before working on Scrum projects.

What Are The 3 Artifacts Of Scrum?

This is why you’re reading this article, right?

Well, we’re finally here. 

Let’s dive right in…

As mentioned before, the Scrum framework defines three artifacts:

  1. Product backlog
  2. Sprint backlog
  3. Product increment

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!

It’s 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 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 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 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”. 

The reason? 

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 chooses a product backlog item according to its priority, then adds it to the sprint backlog and splits it into tasks. Later, the 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 development 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

It’s what the team works towards in each Scrum sprint and what’s delivered to Dr. Jones for his feedback. 

An increment is basically a working, potentially-deliverable version of the product

Why “potentially”? 

Sure, the 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 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. 

After all, we wouldn’t want to let Dr. Jones down, would we?

Other Scrum Artifacts

While any Scrum project requires the above 3 artifacts, there are several others that help your team achieve their sprint goal

Think of them as all those cool folks who help Indiana in his quests!

Here’s a quick look at two 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.

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?

How To Manage Your Scrum Artifacts Efficiently

So you’ve made it this far.

Your Scrum development team has learned the Scrum artifacts and is now ready to tackle software development projects based on the Agile manifesto principles.

But just like any Indiana Jones movie, there’s one last roadblock before you get your hands on the ancient relic!

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 backlogs 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

Used by 100,000+ teams in companies from startups to giants like Netflix, Nike, Airbnb, and Google, this Agile software has everything you need to master the Agile Scrum framework.

Whether you want to manage Scrum artifacts, track sprint progress, or go off to discover El Dorado, the city of gold, ClickUp is the only tool you’ll need!

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!

Luckily, ClickUp gives you Multiple Views like:

  • 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
  • Calendar view: plan and manage your work schedules easily across a calendar. You can use this view to keep track of your product roadmap easily
  • Me Mode: a dedicated interface to keep track of what’s assigned only to you. Yay!
  • 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)?

Use ClickUp’s Sprint Lists! 

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.  

What’s more?

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? 

If you’re late with that location tracking device, Dr. Jones might find himself really lost, right?

Whether it’s a marketing or Scrum software development project, ClickUp’s Dashboards give you quick visual summaries of any Agile project. 

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: 

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 team’s performing during each sprint?

With ClickUp’s Team Reports, that’s incredibly easy!

This Scrum software auto-generates tons of real-time reports for detailed insights on your tasks and 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
  • Goals: create smaller Targets to achieve your sprint goal easily
  • Pulse: visualize your team’s activity across a given day
  • Priorities: know which tasks are urgent and tackle them first
  • Dependencies: attempt your tasks in the right order
  • Profiles: know each team member’s tasks and responsibilities quickly
  • Collaboration Detection: know when other team members are working on the same task as you are

Conclusion

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. 

You leave anything out, and your team’s progress will come to a grinding halt — much like one of those traps in those abandoned temples Indiana Jones explored! 

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 artifacts to detailed team reports, ClickUp has everything you’ll ever need for your team

Sign up for ClickUp today and discover the power yourself!

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