A scrum is an Agile methodology for project management, in use since at least 1990. It has been called a "hyper-productivity tool", and has been documented to drastically improve productivity in teams previously paralysed by heavier methodologies - quickly producing results where there had been little or none.

Its intended use is for management of software development projects, and it has been successfully used to "wrap" Extreme Programming (see http://www.xbreed.net ) and other development methodologies. However, it can theoretically be applied to any context where a group of people need to work together to achieve a common goal - real examples include setting up a small school, scientific research projects and pulling off a wedding (strange, but true)!

Scrum is characterised by:

  • A living Backlog of prioritised work to be done;
  • Completion of Backlog items in a series of short iterations or Sprints;
  • A brief daily meeting or Scrum, at which impediments are raised.

Notably missing from Scrum is the "cookbook" approach to project management exemplified in the Project Management Body of Knowledge - which assures(?) quality through application of a series of prescribed processes.

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A scrum is also a play in rugby where people go into a huddle in order to create misplacement - in other words the ball is in the centre of the scrum and it is kicked out into the main game. A scrum can also be used to describe a group hug.