The most relevant updates in the 2020 Scrum Guide

Get to know the latest updates and new concepts released in the guide’s latest edition

 

When we founded Octobot seven years ago, we created the company with an agile mindset and decided to use Scrum as our framework to develop all of our projects. The Scrum methodology allows us to fulfill our client’s needs in every phase of project execution, quickly adapting to changes in the environment, reducing project risk, and delivering real value to the end users. This framework also embodies our guiding principle of continuous improvement, our dedication to the ongoing pursuit of pure alignment with the methodology. 

The most recent Scrum Guide update was in 2020, before that in 2017. Every time a new edition of the Scrum Guide launches, we take our time to digest any changes and thoughtfully plan how we will implement them in our daily operations. In this article, we’ll share the latest updates and review new concepts or different forms of expressing the framework fundamentals as released in the guide’s latest edition.

Scrum Teams

– Teams collectively should have all the necessary skills and expertise to do the work. This emphasizes the value of roles with different capabilities, such as QAs, UI/UX Designers, Frontend or Backend developers, etc.

– Team size recommendations have changed to 10 people or less for better communication. 

– A recommendation for bigger teams was added: If Scrum Teams become too large, they should consider reorganizing into multiple cohesive Scrum Teams, each focused on the same product. Therefore, they should share the same Product Goal, Product Backlog, and Product Owner

– Scrum Teams are self-managed and team members are responsible for all team management and tasks (“internally decide who does what, when, and how”).

Pillars and Values

– Having more transparent artifacts enables a better inspection, which results in an improved adaptation capacity.

– More emphasis is placed on the Scrum Values (Commitment, Focus, Openness, Respect, and Courage). When these values are embodied by the Scrum Team and the people they work with, the empirical Scrum pillars of Transparency, Inspection, and Adaptation come to life.

Sprints

Shorter sprints increase the value of the agile framework in adapting and limiting the risk.

– Shorter sprints allow the Scrum team to quickly adapt to changes in the project environment and deliver the best value possible to end users.

– Forecast tools such as burndowns and burnups are still recommended, but do not replace the practice of empiricism: “In complex environments, what will happen is unknown.

Events

– The structure of a Sprint Planning was updated with the first topic being a question: “Why is this Sprint Valuable?”

– There is no longer a recommended guideline for the Daily Scrum. Developers can select the structure and techniques they prefer as long as it focuses on progress towards the Sprint Goal.

– The Sprint Review gets a broader scope, not focusing solely on the presentation of the product increment, but instead on being a Working Session. As far as we understand, a Working Session should be a space for working together and defining next steps.

– The Sprint Retrospective objective is also extended, and the guide mentions that its main purpose is to find ways to increase quality and effectiveness.

Artifacts

– The concept of Commitment is introduced to each artifact of the framework. The Product Backlog commits to a Product Goal, the Sprint Backlog to a Sprint Goal, and an Increment to a Definition of Done.

– Product Goal commitment is the new kid on the block: The Product Goal describes a future state of the product which can serve as a target for the Scrum Team to plan against. The Product Goal is in the Product Backlog.

– Another concept made more explicit is the increments management. In this new version of the guide, multiple increments can be created in a sprint and can be delivered to the stakeholders prior to the sprint’s end. This last change is reflected in this phrase: “The Sprint Review should never be considered a gate to releasing value.”

– There is also more emphasis on the importance of the Definition of Done. If a Product Backlog Item does not comply with the DoD it cannot be released or even presented at the Sprint Review.

Get started with the 2020 Scrum Guide

In conclusion, we believe that the new emphasis on the framework values, together with focusing on the pillar chain, solidifies Scrum, since values and pillars are cornerstones that enable teams to achieve goals successfully. Also, having a Product Goal is fantastic for the project Scrum team, acting as a beacon during the execution of the project.

I hope you find this post useful. Feel free to drop a comment with your own highlights from the updated Scrum Guide, which you can find here.

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