The 7 Scrum Artifacts: Definitions & Examples
Measuring success and progress is a vital part of every project and must be taken seriously by the development team. Scrum artifacts are vital for the success of any scrum team.
With Scrum artifacts, a clear picture of how well the scrum team is doing regarding a project has been made easy and feasible.
Apart from helping the scrum team measure progress through scrum boards, it is vital to coordinate each scrum team member to work together towards the sprint goal.
This article details the important aspects of scrum artifacts and their types.
Let’s get started.
What are Scrum Artifacts?
Before we begin discussing agile scrum artifacts, let’s define what scrum is.
Scrum, in simple terms, can be described as an effective framework that allows teams to work together and create value through adaptive solutions for complex issues.
In software development, ‘artifact’ is a code word for certain information the scrum team and stakeholders use to clearly illustrate or describe a product in the development process.
Scrum artifacts are defined in the scrum process framework. They help you track project progress over time and keep all the team members coordinated and focused while working towards the scrum sprint goal.
You can describe it as small bits of key information for the scrum team to execute their tasks. With scrum artifacts, the definition of done is easily understood by each team member, helps to define the work the team must carry out, and adds value during a sprint.
Scrum artifacts serve as guidelines for the product development plan, providing structure to the scrum process.
While executing a project, certain constraints may arise, or changes may occur. Project artifacts adjust to effectively capture the main information required by the team to get the job done and rise above these issues.
Product owners and scrum masters should discuss artifacts and carry out tasks review with software development and remote teams.
If you are new to scrum sprint artifacts, the best way to start is to use scrum tools with agile scrum artifacts built in like Monday.com, ClickUp, and Wrike.
The 7 Scrum Artifacts
According to the scrum guide, there are three main scrum artifacts, but in this article, we will explain the three scrum artifacts with four other scrum artifacts.
1. Product Vision
The product vision is a valuable scrum artifact that serves as a guide for the scrum team. In simple terms, the product vision is a long-term goal or mission of a project or product.
With the product vision, the scrum team members can work together with a clear direction toward successfully executing the project.
The product vision should be clearly described so that the team members will easily understand it and know it by heart. It has to be precise, short, and something the team member can easily remember.
You can use product roadmap software to handle your scrum planning phase, including creating a viable product vision.
2. Product Backlog
A product backlog is a master list containing every task or goal that needs to be achieved on a project, broken down into separate items. You get these items from input sources such as competitor analysis, customer support, general business analysis, and market demands.
In other words, a complete product backlog is a specific list that includes every possible adjustment the team could afford for future releases. These changes may include technical work, fixes, or enhanced features required to keep the product competitive and functioning well.
You can describe it as a detailed list of changeable tasks that evolve over a period of time. It reflects significant changes in the business environment, technical work, or marketing conditions.
The scrum board is used to represent product backlogs. Every product backlog comprises three different types of items: user stories, bugs, and tasks.
- User Stories can also be described as a high-level description of a feature or functionality derived from an end user’s perspective.
- Bugs are certain unwanted problems or issues that arise, and the product owner wants to be fixed.
- Tasks can be described as work or jobs assigned to the scrum team for execution and completion.
As the product is being worked on and built, so does the product backlog increase. Certain adjustments and changes that are added may include an estimate or change in priority and more detail.
The product owner and the scrum team work to refine the product backlog to develop a product effectively.
How detailed a product backlog item is, is subject to its level of importance. When certain items in the product backlog are selected for the upcoming sprint, these products are further refined, developed, and improved during these sprints.
A sprint planning meeting can only occur when the team successfully delivers the item on the product backlog in one sprint.
Refining the Product Backlog
Certain activities involved in refining the product backlog include properly reviewing the user stories that are of optimum priority at the top of the backlog and questioning the product owner about the state of the backlog.
Some of these questions will include whether it is necessary to write new user stories, change the initial one, and reprioritize the product backlog.
After the team rewrites the user stories, the team will estimate the new stories based on the time required to complete them. Prepare other user stories for future sprints simultaneously, not losing sight of the product architecture as the product backlog evolves.
Finally, to effectively manage a product backlog, you will require a concrete team effort to manage a product backlog effectively. The scrum team works hand in hand to refine the product backlog successfully.
Product backlog refinement is also known as backlog grooming.
3. Sprint Vision
In most cases, the sprint goal or sprint vision is not defined as a scrum artifact; regardless, the sprint vision is a vital part of the scrum framework.
The sprint vision is the plan or blueprints the scrum team comes up with while planning a sprint. With the sprint, the scrum team clearly understands why they are investing their resources, time, and effort into the sprint.
4. Sprint Backlog
The sprint backlog is a subdivision of the product backlog that the scrum team will work on in their sprint. It is more like a to-do list for the sprint. You can break it down into further tasks the team has to work on and complete.
Every item on the sprint backlog has to be tested, developed, and documented. You can break down the sprint backlog into tasks for the team to work on and complete.
Similar to the product backlog, the sprint backlog is flexible. The software development team can adjust the backlog as priorities change and various issues arise. If certain tasks are considered unnecessary, they are dropped.
The product owner has the responsibility to help the scrum team come up with a sprint backlog during their sprint meeting. As the team completes a sprint, the estimated remaining work is updated.
In most cases, the sprint backlog is represented as a task board. The workflow is represented by several columns on the task board with specific titles.
- To Do: These are specific tasks that haven't been started.
- Doing: The work is ongoing at this point.
- To Verify: Here are completed tasks yet to be verified by another team member.
- Done: Every necessary thing has been done, and no more work is required.
Refining the Sprint Backlog by the Scrum Teams
The sprint backlog is subject to changes by the scrum team as deemed necessary. Before the team can make notable changes to the sprint backlog, negotiations will occur between them and the product owner or scrum master.
Work and various tasks at hand are generally deliberated upon during the daily scrum meeting, where decisions are made concerning the sprint backlog and if modifications are necessary.
These modifications can only occur during the short sprint, and the scrum team's sole responsibility is to implement these changes during the sprint. When there is a requirement for new work, it is added to the sprint backlogs.
After the work has been completed, there will be an update about the estimate of the work that is yet to be done, and if there are backlogs that are no longer relevant, these backlogs are removed. This process is known as backlog refining.
The development team has complete ownership and control over this process, implying that only the development team can carry out this process (Backlog Refining).
The sprint backlog gives a clear picture of the sprint while the development team works on it, the notable progress made, and the work left to do, making it highly visible.
5. Definition of Done (DOD)
The definition of done simply implies that every single aspect of the user story within the sprint backlog and all previous sprints has been completed and available for burndown tracking. It includes quality criteria and constraints.
Scrum teams must have a shared understanding of what being done entails and use this definition of done they have created as a checklist to measure progress as they work on their user stories.
Software development teams can create their definition of what is done during the first sprint planning and can be repeated during the sprint based on the stated definition.
Definition of Done (DOD) is dynamic and can change dramatically during a scrum project.
6. Product Increment
Among the three main scrum artifacts, product increment is the most important scrum artifact. It is the total of every product backlog item completed during a sprint and every previous sprint.
A product increment is the customer deliverables produced through the completion of product backlog tasks during a sprint.
The product increment must be compatible with the scrum team’s definition of done and approved by the product owner because each sprint creates a potentially shippable product increment.
What “done” means differs among scrum teams, but within a team, it is shared, and everyone clearly understands what it entails. It is natural for the definition of done to grow and become more expansive and stringent as the team matures and the project continues.
Any done increment must align with the potentially releasable functionality the product owner expects.
Apart from being the sum of all product backlog items completed within a particular sprint, product increment represents the value of increment over the past number of completed sprints.
As a result of product increment, transparency is experienced by the development team and stakeholders regarding the present state of the product.
7. Burndown Chart
The sprint burndown chart is not always considered an official scrum artifact but is too important to ignore or neglect.
A burndown chart is a graphic that displays the team's speed in completing items in the product backlog or the user stories. Therefore the burndown chart illustrates the total effort put by the team against the amount of work for a current sprint.
Burndown charts show the team’s velocity and backlog size. Velocity is the progress of the scrum team and the total number of story points within the user story that has successfully been completed during the sprint. Work done halfway is not considered as velocity.