Scrum is a project management technique which is used to organize the work and planning around a project, often a software development project. Scrum builds upon the pillars of transparency, inspection, and adaptation to provide a framework for rapid project development.
Scrum breaks project planning into short, fixed-length sprints of work which happen on a regular and predictable cadence, often a few weeks. These sprints are made up of four stages (or "ceremonies" in scrum parlance): planning the sprint, a daily standup meeting, a spring demonstration of the work product, and a retrospective to understand what went well and what could be improved in future sprints.
What is the difference between scrum and agile?
Agile is a more general term referring to the way teams are organized and projects are managed. While related terms, not all agile development necessarily follows a scrum framework. Kanban is another popular project management framework that some projects adopt, while other pick and choose the pieces from various agile methodologies that best meet the needs of their project and team.
Where the two overlap is in a focus on rapid development allowing for fast adaptation to changing circumstances, an infrastructure for quick feedback and testing, close collaboration between team stakeholders, and a desire to ship products quickly.
What is a scrum master?
A scrum master is one of a few critical roles on any scrum team. The scrum master is the facilitator for the scrum process and keeps the team organized and free from outside distraction. In short, they remove barriers to the success of the scrum team and keep processes moving. This is a little different than a traditional project manager, and in fact, scrum teams typically have a separate product owner who represents the project's stakeholders, including customers and management.
What does scrum have to do with open source?
For companies developing open source software, using scrum may help them to better align with other open source principles, as well as some of the broader attributes of open organizations. Scrum emphasizes transparency, inspection, and adaptation, three pillars that are also critical to the open source community, and so it should be no surprise that there are a lot of advocates of scrum in the open source world.
Where can I learn more about scrum?
This is just an introduction, but we think you might appreciate these additional resources.
What is scrum? [scrum.org]
Scrum reference card [collab.net]
A brief introduction to the scrum framework [atlassian.com]