Scrum Artifacts

Scrum Artifacts

Vivek Jayaraman
2nd Nov, 2020

Transparency is one of the pillars of the Scrum Framework. Having things transparent helps with invaluable decision-making that can increase value by keeping the risk low. Scrum has three transparent artifacts that help in frequent inspection. By maintaining the artifacts' transparency, everyone knows what the Scrum Team is working on and will work on. 

Each Scrum artifact represents work or value. They are designed to maximize the transparency of critical and essential information.

So, what are the artifacts in Scrum?

  • Product Backlog
  • Sprint Backlog
  • Increment

For measuring the progress of each of these artifacts, Scrum provides commitment. These commitments help with increasing the transparency of these artifacts, thus enhancing the focus.

What are the commitments for Scrum artifacts?  

  • For Product Backlog, it's the Product Goal
  • For Sprint Backlog, it's the Sprint Goal
  • And for Increment, its the definition of done

Let us have a brief look at each of them. 

Product Backlog:

Product Backlog is the single source of truth of the product. It contains everything that goes into the product. It is an emergent and ordered list of what is needed to improve the product. The product owner is solely responsible for the Product Backlog. Product Backlog management is done by the product owner, which includes ordering based on the value, adding more details to keep it updated, refining the product backlog items along with the developers, etc. 

The Product Backlog will be inspected during the backlog refinement by the entire Scrum Team, and they inspect it along with the Stakeholders during the Sprint review. 

What is a Product Goal?

As part of envisioning, the Product Owner and the stakeholders come up with a Product Vision. The product owner also sets multiple Product Goals toward the Product Vision. Product Goals are high-level objectives set for the Scrum Team to achieve. 

It could be a release, a product version, or could be a compiled list of features to build something that can deliver value. The Scrum Team accomplishes only one Product Goal at a time to ensure they have focus. Based on the Product Goal, the Product Backlog emerges to full it.

The Scrum Team will come up with KPIs that can help measure the Product Goal. 

Sprint Backlog: 

Sprint Backlog is the outcome of Sprint Planning. It contains the Sprint Goal, the list of Product Backlog items selected for the Sprint, and the plan to achieve the Sprint goal. The Sprint Backlog is transparent and contains the work planned by the developers to accomplish the Sprint Goal. The sprint backlog will be updated frequently inside the Sprint as more is learned during the development. The developers inspect the progress concerning the Sprint Goal during the Daily Scrum.

The commitment to the Sprint Backlog is the Sprint Goal. It is a high-level objective of what will be accomplished within Sprint. The Sprint Goal helps the developers to keep the focus. As more is learned during the Sprint, the developers work with the product owner to re-negotiate the work accordingly, keeping the Sprint goal in mind. The work and the plan may change during the Sprint while the Sprint Goal remains unchanged. 


An Increment in Scrum is a completed or finished work by the developers inside a Sprint, which satisfies the definition of done. An increment should be usable and provides value. The Increment is additive to the prior Increment, and they all work together. Every Increment is one step closer to the Product Goal. 

At the end of the Sprint, there will be multiple Increments, and together they will be delivered to the stakeholders for feedback. The sprint review is just a formal opportunity and should not stop the developers from getting feedback from the stakeholders during the Sprint. 

Definition of Done

The definition of Done is a shared understanding among the Scrum Team to assess when the work is complete on an Increment. The Definition of Done should include a list of things that the developers need to do to consider the product backlog item is done. Only when the Product Backlog Items meet, the definition of done can be called an Increment. Else, the developers need to complete the work until it meets the DoD. 

The Definition of Done increases the transparency of the Increment by providing a shared understanding of what work was done on the Increment. If multiple teams are working on the same product, they should work together and mutually come up with a definition of done. 

For a software product, the DoD will be something like

  • Coded
  • Tested
  • Security Testing Done
  • Integrated
  • No regression
  • etc

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