Starting Scrum: Basics and Backlog

Dave Borzillo
2 min readJun 26, 2021


This is the first in a series of posts documenting my experience in ways to get a team started on scrum.

Photo by Leon on Unsplash

A new team of 3–9 people can learn the basics of scrum very quickly. The video below from Scrum Inc is only 4 minutes and 30 seconds and gives the team the fundamentals of how scrum works.

What I find is that after learning about scrum they all look at each other thinking, “Where do we start?”.

Most of the time, I find starting to define the product backlog of work is a great place to start. You can even start to create a product backlog without knowing who will be scrum master and product owner.

The team can immediately answer questions like:

  • What is the product the team is working on? Is it the entire product or a piece of it?
  • What is the overall goal of the product when it is finally finished?
  • Could we break down the product into key pieces that themselves will have work to be done?
  • What will need to get done for each piece of the backlog?

Notice closely if someone is starting to take the lead in capturing the responses. That person will most likely be the product owner.

Also look for the person who is helping facilitate the discussion and resolving any conflicts. That person is a great candidate for scrum master.

Once you have a backlog that will take several sprints use the following team canvas from Scrum Inc to capture the team’s identity, event schedule, and other information to get the team scrumming.

A good agile coach should stick with the team for a few sprints for questions and observations. Once everything clicks, just follow-up every so often.

Questions or comments? Please post below.