Artifacts are part of the core of the Scrum method. They ensure that all members of a Scrum team have the same level of knowledge and that all progress and activities of the development team remain transparent.
Definition: What are artifacts in Scrum?
In addition to events and roles, the three artifacts in Scrum are among the supporting pillars of the Scrum framework. They ensure that the product development process runs optimally.
The three artifacts are the Sprint Backlog, the Product Backlog and the Product Increment. In the form of lists, they clearly show what progress the Scrum team has made and what steps are due next. The goal of the three artifacts is to document the progress of the work as transparently and comprehensibly as possible. The artifacts guide the development team and the product owner through the product development process.
Use of the Scrum artifacts in practice
In agile project management, work with the artifacts takes place in several phases:
No. 1 Product backlog - all tasks of the creation process in view.
The product backlog is a list in which all functions (product backlog items) of the future finished product are recorded and prioritized. The Product Owner is responsible for this list and compiles all requirements that are necessary for the development of the product. This includes features, user stories, enhancements and more.
A special feature of the product backlog is that it is not rigid. It is constantly evolving. The Scrum Product Owner incorporates changing priorities and adapts the backlog items to new stakeholder requirements. He or she is responsible for ensuring that the product backlog constantly shows the current priorities. The product backlog is the basis for selecting the tasks to be completed during the next sprint (sprint planning).
No. 2 Sprint backlog - all pending tasks in the current sprint.
The product owner derives the sprint backlog from the product backlog. This list contains the technical details of all tasks that need to be executed and completed during the current sprint, i.e. during a specific period of time. The product owner decides which tasks are included in the sprint backlog. In contrast to the product backlog, the sprint backlog is unchangeable. Once a task has been included in the current sprint, it must also be completed.
The Sprint Backlog consists of several levels:
Why? What is the goal of the current sprint (commitment)? Achieving this goal is the top priority.
What? This level defines which tasks from the product backlog are to be processed in concrete terms and which technical specifications the result should have.
How? The sprint backlog provides information on how the selected tasks are to be implemented.
At the end of the Sprint, the Sprint Review takes place. This involves a review of the product with regard to the requirements of the stakeholders and customers.
No. 3 Product increment - finished product based on the Definition of Done
The Scrum increment is a completed part of the product, i.e. a completed task from the Sprint Backlog. An entry of the sprint backlog becomes a product increment when the responsible developer sets it to the status "completed".
The core element of the product increment is the "Definition of Done". So that it is clear when a task is completed, all members of the Scrum team must agree on a uniform definition of the degree of completion of a completed element. The Scrum master is responsible for this. In software development, the Definition of Done might be something like a Product Backlog item has been developed and tested.
Origin of the artifacts in Scrum
Scrum artifacts are an essential part of the Scrum framework. They have been described in the Scrum Guide and the Agile Atlas and thus defined.