Academic journal article Journal of Information Systems Education

Implementing Scrum Wholesale in the Classroom

Academic journal article Journal of Information Systems Education

Implementing Scrum Wholesale in the Classroom

Article excerpt


The widespread use of the Internet and the emergence of object-oriented programming have led to unprecedented changes in the software development industry. Seeking competitive advantages in a more globally connected economy, firms sought increases in software production speed, efficiency, and agility. In response, software development practitioners grappled with ways to develop faster, more agile processes to produce more frequent iterations of working software. During the 1990s, a number of agile software development (ASD) methods were created, and this shift in the software development practice was further solidified in 2001 with the advent of the Manifesto for Agile Software Development (Beck et al., 2001). As ASD methods have become a mainstay in the business world, ASD should be taught not only to computer science students but also to business students, such as management information systems (MIS) majors, in order to inform them of the current software development landscape in organizations. Despite the popularity of ASD methods in industry and the increased attention from Information Systems recruiters and executives, current Systems Analysis and Design (SAD) textbooks provide limited knowledge on how to implement ASD methods. Hands-on software development projects, which are appropriately scoped, can help motivate MIS students to explore both the social and technical concepts pertaining to ASD. On this basis, the author assigned MIS students a course project to develop a web application using Scrum, the most widely used agile method (West et al., 2010; Version One, 2018). This project is simple enough for MIS students to implement, as it requires moderate programming skills already learned in other courses. The project lets the students explore, in some depth, the combination of social and technical aspects of software building involved in ASD. In accordance with guidelines for teaching tips, this paper contributes to the literature as wisdom-of-practice scholarship (Weimer, 2006) by detailing how Scrum has been implemented in the classroom, providing empirical results of multiple wholesale Scrum implementations, and providing pedagogical recommendations for future implementations. The term "wholesale" refers to an implementation of Scrum that utilizes all (as opposed to parts) of the Scrum process components and roles, which we discuss in the next section. The solutions described herein are replicable, grounded in theory and best practices, and recommended based upon actual experiences. The rest of this paper is organized as follows.

Section 2 provides an overview of Scrum. Section 3 describes a doable project for business students. Section 4 discusses how to initiate and implement Scrum into the classroom. This is followed by a discussion of the pedagogical approach and a summary of student feedback in Section 5. The paper concludes in Section 6 by reviewing important aspects of Scrum projects.


Scrum, which gets its name from the game of rugby, was formalized into a method for building software using a holistic, team-based approach (Takeuchi and Nonaka, 1986; Schwaber, 1995). Scrum focuses on defining process components and roles (Holvitie, Leppanen, and Hyrynsalmi, 2014) as shown in Table 1, but leaves the practicalities open for choice (Abrahamsson et al., 2002).

The Scrum framework created by Sutherland and Schwaber (2016) describes the interaction between the Scrum team and its customer. It consists of the roles, ceremonies and artifacts (i.e., process components), and guidelines that serve a specific purpose as shown in Table 1. Additional details concerning what Scrum entails can be found in the references provided (Schwaber, 1995; Abrahamsson et al., 2002; Rubin, 2012; Sutherland and Schwaber, 2016). As a recent study highlights (May, York, and Lending, 2016), Systems Analysis and Design textbooks contain little content on ASD methods, often containing only enough information to introduce students to ASD concepts and games such as planning poker. …

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