Publication of the new Scrum Guide (November 2020)

Celebrating 25 years of Scrum, the new guide was presented on November 18, 2020 at an event held jointly by Scrum Inc. and Scrum.org; the companies of Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber respectively, co-creators of Scrum. Since that time, The Scrum Guide (November 2020) can be read and downloaded (in several languages, even) at: scrumguides.org

new scrum guide
Presentation of the new Scrum guide (November 2020)

Size matters

The first thing that attracts attention is its smaller size. In just 10 pages, the authors distill this framework from the “Definition of Scrum” to the description of the “Commitment: Definition of Fact”, the last artifact described in the new guide. But let’s not be fooled, a smaller guide makes Scrum even larger, a framework agnostic to the definition of the value you will build with it, a line of work that its authors have been developing with every evolution of the framework.

“A smaller guide makes Scrum even larger, a framework that is agnostic to the definition of the value you are going to build with it.”

The old roles?

Another aspect that is generating more commotion is related to the old Scrum Roles, which have become known as “Responsibilities”. In this way, the concept of Scrum Team gains importance (as opposed to the old roles), and is now described as a self-managed team, and it is the responsibility of the Scrum Team itself to define who does what, when and how. In this way, new implementations of Scrum are possible, without failing to comply with the specifications of the Scrum Guide:

  • A Scrum Team formed by one person permanently occupying the responsibilities of PO, one person permanently occupying the responsibilities of SM, and several people permanently occupying the responsibilities of Developer.
  • A Scrum Team formed by one person occupying the responsibilities of PO, with several people occupying the responsibilities of Developer, which also turn the responsibilities of SM in order, randomly or as / when they consider.
  • A Scrum Team formed by several people occupying the responsibilities of Developer, and rotating between them the responsibilities of PO and SM.

“New Scrum implementations are possible without missing the Scrum Guide”

Fixed duration

There is also a subtle, but no less important, change that you may not have noticed: the duration of the Sprint has changed from a maximum duration (timeboxed) to a fixed length. This, just as before, allows a Sprint not to get longer, the change comes in that now also prevents a Sprint from getting shorter, and thus further promotes the concept of sustained rhythm.

“The duration of the Sprint has changed from a maximum duration (timeboxed) to a fixed length”

Commitments

Another important change is the reappearance of “commitments”. And although this is a change that is causing discussions in different areas, let me ask you a question: did nobody notice that the 2017 guide included the value of the Commitment, but then did not specify commitments throughout the guide? Well, in the new guide, the Scrum Team commits to the Product Goal, the Sprint Goal, and the Definition of Fact to ensure improved transparency and to be able to measure progress in delivering value from the Product Backlog, the Sprint Backlog, and the Increment respectively.

“No one was surprised that the 2017 guide included the value of Commitment, but then did not specify commitments throughout the guide”

Conclusions

The aspects presented in this article are a small summary of some of the changes incorporated in The Scrum Guide (November 2020). Some others remain unremarked, such as the elimination (finally!) of the three questions in the Daily Scrum, the incorporation of the Sprint Goal development in the Sprint Planning by the Scrum Team, or other changes that in my opinion will continue to contribute to Scrum being the most extended agile framework, not only in Software Development initiatives, but in any initiative of any department, industry or even in any aspect of our lives, that aims to generate value through adaptable solutions for complex problems.

Publication of the new Scrum Guide (November 2020)

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