Scrum is a popular form of Agile project management. Its applications now include diverse areas such as software development, engineering, urban planning, and law. Scrum has also been used in software engineering educational programs, but its use in other engineering education is lagging. Within our electrical and computer engineering program, we introduced Scrum to help students improve their teamwork efficacy in projects and courses. Earlier, we have presented some initial experiences and observations when implementing Scrum in ECE courses. In this paper we will elaborate on how Scrum is applied across different years and how we scaffold student learning. Scrum methodology consists of (see www.scrumguides.org):
● Members: product owner, Scrum master, and development team
● Events: sprint planning, daily stand-up, sprint review, and sprint retrospective
● Artifacts: product and sprint backlog
● Definitions and rules governing Scrum implementation
We cannot expect freshman or sophomore engineering students to have the sophistication necessary for full implementation of Scrum. Furthermore, Scrum in educational environments is a teaching and learning tool, and it needs to be modified from its original design. Scrum involves teams, so we have to support other educational goals, such as teaching students how to engage in effective teamwork.
Our learning goals related to Scrum are grouped into four areas: A) developing projects and their components, B) applying Scrum, C) utilizing project management tools, D) running effective teams.
Freshman students should
A. Show basic skills in breaking down given assignments into team tasks
B. Be able to show concrete evidence of planning their projects
C. Learn the basics of project planning tools
D. Learn how to run team-based projects with minimal team conflict
Sophomore/junior students should
A. Develop projects from a starting idea and be able to decompose it functionally
B. Begin to apply Scrum methodology more fully
C. Effectively use project planning tools
D. Develop deeper understanding of team dynamics
Senior (capstone) students should
A. Fully develop projects with clear functionality, specifications and deliverables; adjust project goals to changing customer requirements
B. Implement full Scrum methodology
C. Be fluent in using project planning tools
D. Have very clear expectations and rules that lead to effective teamwork
Scrum for freshman students is stripped down to frequent meetings similar to daily Scrums, basic task planning, and maintaining a record of their plans using Trello. Faculty serve as product owners and there is no assigned scrum master. Sophomore and junior students are explained the basics of Scrum, decide on their own project, and are assigned an outside Scrum master. They are expected to develop product backlogs and run proper sprints. Senior students work on capstone projects with real customers, product owners, and scrum masters. In other words, they implement full Scrum methodology.
In the full paper we will provide examples of assignments and scaffolding used in different years, along with assessment methodology and initial results. We hope that our experience and information provided will enable others to implement Scrum in their courses and programs.
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