Scrum Improvements

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Scrum Improvements

Ken Schwaber, the co-founder of Scrum, discusses why Scrum positions and artifacts must remain fixed and the Scrum variants appearing in the industry.

· Agile Zone ·
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The circumstances where Scrum is used are diverse. When people get Scrum to work well for them, they have had to make it fit their situation. They often feel that was a shortcoming of Scrum, and if we only “updated” Scrum to include their addendum, everyone would benefit. Product backlog refinement has been a frequently visited topic:

Product Backlog Refinement: the process of adding detail, order, and estimates to inventory in a backlog. Items will have been refined to a sufficient degree once they are ready to be worked on. Refinement is best conducted by those who will eventually do the work.

My response: Scrum is a general-purpose framework applicable in complex situations, where more is unknown about the parameters than is known. The rules of empiricism and self-organizing make it work within short iterations that control the risk and increase chances of finding answers and creating value. The few roles, artifacts, and events are fixed so the Scrum team can focus on unraveling complexity.

READ the ABOVE CAREFULLY again. It is important to take to heart.

METHODOLOGISTS ALWAYS WANT TO ADD TO SCRUM so it works better when circumstances exist or people want to increase the chances of getting the outcome they desire.

In doing so, they limit the applicability of Scrum. What if Scrum is being employed to get answers from research? Such as using Scrum to determine if a specific tool set and cloud can really be used for a high volume, ultra-secure purpose. Many of the “enhancements” such as product backlog refinement would hinder.


When we worked with you to help you learn and understand Scrum, we invested in you so you could train/mentor other people how to apply Scrum to their previously unapproachable situation. Each outcome helps people learn to work in teams to get outcomes from previously intractable situations.

Every time you attempt to make Scrum more specific from what you learned, you make it less useful to the rest of us.

Approach Scrum with humility. Learn and grow as you use it. Solve complex problems with Scrum as it is.

Or, you can create situation-specific Scrum variants, that you own and sustain. But, they aren’t Scrum.

agile ,product backlog ,scrum

Published at DZone with permission of Ken Schwaber , DZone MVB. See the original article here.

Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.

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