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The Scrum Guide 2017 Update

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The Scrum Guide 2017 Update

The latest revision of Scrum has arrived, and there are some important textual and conceptual updates to note looking toward the new year.

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On the 7th of November 2017, a new version of The Scrum Guide was released by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland. Since most of us are working in an Agile/Scrum environment, it is good to take a closer look at the changes that were made to the guide. I will try to highlight the major changes per section. You can also look at the revision history of the guide itself where the changes are listed. The revision history of the guide only mentions the high-level changes, but more textual changes are made to the guide than mentioned in the revision history.

Definition of Scrum

Some minor textual changes are made in order to remove references to software development only. Terms like "product development" and "development practices" are replaced with "products" and "work techniques." Besides that, focus is set on "continuously improving the product, the team, and the working environment."

Uses of Scrum

This is a whole new section. The main goal of this section is to indicate that Scrum is not only used or applicable for software development, but more in general is a framework when complex work is involved.

Scrum Theory

In this section only the second example of the transparency paragraph is changed a bit. "Those performing the work and those accepting the work product must share a common definition of 'Done'" is changed to "Those performing the work and those inspecting the resulting increment must share a common definition of "Done.'"

Scrum Values

No changes worth mentioning.

The Scrum Team

The first paragraph is extended with the sentence "The Scrum Team has proven itself to be increasingly effective for all the earlier stated uses, and any complex work." This again refers to continuously improving yourself as a team to handle complex work.

The Product Owner

This section remains mainly unchanged, except the last sentence was changed from "No one is allowed to tell the Development Team to work from a different set of requirements, and the Development Team isn’t allowed to act on what anyone else says." into "No one can force the Development Team to work from a different set of requirements." The new sentence sounds more to the point and clear, although both texts intend to say the same thing.

The Development Team

Besides some minor textual changes, an extra sentence was added: "A 'Done' increment is required at the Sprint Review." This seems to be logical, because what would you demonstrate in the Sprint Review if your increment is not "Done"? The only thing you can do in this situation, is to demonstrate the previous increment.

Development Team Size

No changes worth mentioning.

The Scrum Master

The role of the Scrum Master is more clarified. It stated:

"The Scrum Master is responsible for ensuring Scrum is understood and enacted. Scrum Masters do this by ensuring that the Scrum Team adheres to Scrum theory, practices, and rules."

And is now changed into:

'The Scrum Master is responsible for promoting and supporting Scrum as defined in the Scrum Guide. Scrum Masters do this by helping everyone understand Scrum theory, practices, rules, and values."

I am quite happy with this textual change. The coaching role of the Scrum Master in applying Scrum and letting everyone understand Scrum is often neglected.

In the section "Scrum Master Service to the Product Owner," the following bullet was added:

"Ensuring that goals, scope, and product domain are understood by everyone on the Scrum Team as well as possible."

Scrum Events

No changes worth mentioning.

The Sprint

No changes worth mentioning.

Sprint Planning

No changes worth mentioning.

Daily Scrum

It is now explicitly mentioned that the Daily Scrum has to be held every day of the Sprint. Often, Daily Scrums are skipped for various reasons, but they shouldn't be.

A slight change is made in the phrasing about who may participate in the Daily Scrum. The Scrum Master must ensure that the meeting is not disrupted by anyone other than the Development Team, and this is a good addition. Again, this further clarifies the responsibilities of the Scrum Master.

The phrasing was:

"The Scrum Master enforces the rule that only Development Team members participate in the Daily Scrum."

And is now changed into:

"The Daily Scrum is an internal meeting for the Development Team. If others are present, the Scrum Master ensures that they do not disrupt the meeting."

Sprint Review

The first change in this section is about the time box. This change will be repeated in the next sections. The text "at most" is added to the time box, indicating that the time box of 4 hours is a maximum time box and not a required duration of 4 hours.

The following change is a minor textual change, the new terminology used is a better reflection of what is meant:

"The Product Owner discusses the Product Backlog as it stands. He or she projects likely completion dates based on progress to date (if needed)."

And is now changed into:

"The Product Owner discusses the Product Backlog as it stands. He or she projects likely target and delivery dates based on progress to date (if needed)."

The last change in this section is further clarification of what a release:

"Review of the timeline, budget, potential capabilities, and marketplace for the next anticipated release of the product."

And is now changed into:

"Review of the timeline, budget, potential capabilities, and marketplace for the next anticipated releases of functionality or capability of the product."

Sprint Retrospective

Again, the text "at most" is added to the time box, indicating that the time box of 3 hours is a maximum time box.

The sentence, "The Scrum Master ensures that the meeting is positive and productive" is added. Again, this is a clarification of the responsibilities of the Scrum Master.

The last change in this section clarifies the outcome of the Sprint Retrospective. The sentence:

"During each Sprint Retrospective, the Scrum Team plans ways to increase product quality by adapting the definition of 'Done' as appropriate."

Is now changed into:

"During each Sprint Retrospective, the Scrum Team plans ways to increase product quality by improving work processes or adapting the definition of 'Done', if appropriate and not in conflict with product or organizational standards."

Scrum Artifacts

Product Backlog

A few minor textual changes were made (not worth mentioning here) and the following sentence was added:

"Product Backlog items often include test descriptions that will prove its completeness when 'Done."'

Sprint Backlog

A few minor textual changes were made (not worth mentioning here) and the following sentence was added:

'To ensure continuous improvement, it includes at least one high priority process improvement identified in the previous Retrospective meeting.'

This means you are obliged to improve (and why wouldn't you?).

Increment

The following sentence is changed, where the term "usable" is more elaborated in detail:

'It must be in useable condition regardless of whether the Product Owner decides to actually release it.'

It has been changed into:

"An increment is a body of inspectable, done work that supports empiricism at the end of the Sprint. The increment is a step toward a vision or goal. The increment must be in useable condition regardless of whether the Product Owner decides to release it."

Artifact Transparency

Definition of "Done"

The following sentence was added, indicating that when the definition of "Done" is extended in subsequent increments, this can mean that earlier increments are not "Done" according to the new definition of "Done":

"New definitions, as used, may uncover work to be done in previously “Done” increments."

This actually means that extra work will be put on the Sprint Backlog.

Summary

In general, the most important changes are:

  • Uses of Scrum is not only for development;
  • Refinement of the role of Scrum Master;
  • Clarification on the goals for the Daily Scrum;
  • Time boxes mentioned are maximum lengths;
  • You need to continuously improve.

It is a good advice to regularly re-read the Scrum Guide, especially when an update is released. This can reveal anomalies into your own Scrum process and lead to adjustments to your working processes.

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Topics:
scrum guide ,agile ,scrum values ,update ,scrum

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