7 big changes to the Scrum Guide (2020)

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7 big changes to the Scrum Guide (2020)

why innovation! 7 min
7 Big Changes to the Scrum Guide (2020)
2020 marks the Scrum Framework’s 25th Anniversary and what better way to celebrate a pivotal milestone than with an updated Scrum Guide?

According to the founders, Dr. Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber, Scrum has gotten a bit more prescriptive than what it was originally meant to be. In a bold move to reboot some of these unwanted elements and progress Scrum into a minimally efficient framework, they introduced a leaner Scrum Guide which aims to improve significantly on the Scrum pillars of Transparency, Inspection and Adaptation.

Over an extensive 3-hour long event, the founders and Scrum experts presented the new Scrum Guide; one that iterates and reinforces some long-standing principles while presenting some new additions.

In this article, we look at seven of the biggest changes in detail.

7 Big Changes to the Scrum Guide (2020)

1. Less Prescriptive

A certain level of prescription is good as it enables the people using a framework like Scrum to understand it better and deliver work in a satisfactory manner. Over time however, the language surrounding Scrum began to get complicated. As Scrum is applied to even more industries today, prescriptive language can be a deterrent for newcomers to pick up fast.

So, following the update, Daily Scrum questions have been removed (they were once necessary, then made optional and now completely omitted) and language around the Product Backlog Items (PBI) attributes and retro items in the Sprint Backlog have been softened.

2. One Team, focused on One Product

Scrum practice advocates that only one Scrum team should be working on one product. In practice however, it is commonly observed that the relationship between the Product Owner and Development Team is contractual, that is, the team is viewed as a ‘sub-team’ within the Scrum Team.

This can result in some unhealthy friction.

Therefore, this update reinforces that there are no sub-teams or proxies within the Scrum team to eliminate the ‘us versus them’ behaviour between the Product Owner and the Development Team. In essence, the updated Scrum Guide asserts that there is no designated Development Team, only the Scrum Team as a whole comprised of cross-functional professionals.

With this change, there is only one Scrum Team working toward the same objective with the Product Owner, Scrum Master and Developers having their respective sets of accountabilities.

The Scrum team is also now 10 or fewer members.

3. Introduction of Product Goal

A new artifact, the Product Goal is a more tangible and measurable objective than a Product Vision. This aims to focus the Scrum Team toward a more valuable objective. Each Sprint therefore, should strive to close the gap between the product and the overall Product Goal.

4. Sprint Goal, Definition of Done & Product Goal have a new home

Not quite artifacts but attached to artifacts, the earlier versions of the Sprint Goal, Definition of Done (DoD) and Product Goal have existed in an in-between state, lacking an established identity. The 2020 updated Scrum Guide resolves this by reinforcing the Commitment value and inserting it into the goals and DoD.

From now on, the commitment for the Product Backlog is the newly introduced Product Goal. The Sprint commitment is the Sprint Goal and for the Increment, it is the DoD.

This new home is designed to bring transparency and focus as the Scrum team works toward progressing each artifact.

7 Big Changes to the Scrum Guide (2020)

5. Self-Managing

Previously this was self-organising which emphasised the Development Team to organise themselves by choosing who and how to do the work. In the updated Scrum Guide, this has been replaced with Self-managing, which places the focus on the Scrum Team to choose who, how and what to work on.

6. Three Sprint Planning topics

Adding to the planning topics of what and how, the 2020 Scrum guide also includes explicitly a third topic of why, referring to the Sprint Goal. The sequence of topics therefore during the Sprint Planning will be why, followed by what and how.

During the Sprint as the developers determine what it takes to achieve the Sprint Goal, their plan (i.e. Sprint Backlog or the what) might change but the why does not.

7. Scrum for a wider audience

Overall, the bulk of the changes focuses on the removal of redundant and complex jargon. In addition, many references to IT work have also been removed to simplify the language for a much wider adoption of the Scrum Framework. Industries and companies implementing change initiatives, including the adoption of Agile and Scrum practices will have an easier time doing so.

And a good thing for aspiring new Product Owners and Scrum Masters is that the Scrum Guide is now six pages shorter!

7 Big Changes to the Scrum Guide (2020)

The changes made to the Scrum guide is extensive. These seven points are the tip of the iceberg but no less important to know. Take the time to absorb the changes by re-reading the Scrum Guide.

And as always if you have any questions, our talented team of Agile consultants and coaches will be happy to answer them.

Send your questions in at this link!

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