How Do You Start a Scrum Project?

A Scrum Project has a five-phase framework, and it starts with the Initiate Phase. Once all of the mandatory outputs from each of the Initiate Phase processes are completed and approved, the project can continue with the remain four phases: Plan & Estimate, Implement, Review & Retrospect, and Release. And the best part about the Scrum Initiate Phase: it’s fast and simple. The turn-around time for the Initiate Phase is usually 1-3 days. Longer times may apply for environments that are not currently functioning as Scrum as the roles will need to be hired externally.

Starting a Scrum Project happens before the sprints begin and is generally triggered by an organizational or stakeholder need, presented in the form of a Project Business Case. When there is a need for a project, management and stakeholders gather to determine the following processes:

  • Create Project Vision
  • Identify Scrum Master and additional Stakeholders
  • Form Scrum Team
  • Develop Personas and Epics
  • Create Prioritized Product Backlog
  • Release Planning

Create Project Vision – The very first task is to assign a Scrum Product Owner to the project, as he or she will lead the project visioning process by eliciting requirements from the business side and stakeholders. Product Owners may be assigned internally or if no Products Owners are available, may be hired externally as a Contractor or as a full-time role. The main focus is to create a Project Vision Statement that will serve as the high-level driver and focus for the project.

Identify Scrum Master and Additional Stakeholders – If the organization is already operating in a Scrum environment and has a pool of Scrum Masters, this process can take minutes, as you will be assigning a Scrum Master who already meets the default selection criteria of “what makes a good Scrum Master?”.

Form Scrum Team – Similarly to identifying a Scrum Master for the project, the Scrum Team will be assigned based on skill set, availability, and business requirements. Once the team is formed, they will begin their process of working together to get to a high-performing team level.

Develop Personas and Epics – Receiving input from as many stakeholders as possible is ideal for this process. The Project Vision Statement is used as guidance for whom the product will be serving which will aid in the creation of project personas.

Create Prioritized Product Backlog – The Product Backlog is a list of functionalities and features required for the project and are prioritized by the items that have the most business value. The prioritization process will take longer than creating the items that are in the Product Backlog, as it considers the value, risk/uncertainty, and dependencies of each item.

Release Planning – This is primarily to satisfy the needs of stakeholders. This schedule sets expectations for the clients/customers as to when deliverables with functioning products will be released. For example, we will release updates every 2 weeks. This determines the lengths of the Sprints in the project.