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Definition of Increment in the Scrum Guide
Last Post 18 Sep 2013 05:00 AM by Grzegorz Lisiewski. 11 Replies.
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Hogir
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Hogir

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10 Jan 2013 07:30 AM
    Hello there,

    I have a question regarding the definition of the Increment in the Scrum Guide. It is defined liked this:

    The Increment is the sum of all the Product Backlog items completed during a Sprint and all previous Sprints.

    The definition consists of two parts:

    The Increment is
    a) the sum of all the Product Backlog items completed during a Sprint and

    b) all previous Sprints.

    From my point of view only a) defines what an Increment is. An Increment is for me an additive to something, not the overall set. My opinion is that a) + b) defines what a product is and not an Increment.

    In the section Definition of “Done” it also says:

    Each Increment is additive to all prior Increments and thoroughly tested, ensuring that all Increments work together.

    Does this not contradict to the definition of the Increment [a)+b)] above?

    What is your take on this? I would be very happy to get your feedback on this topic.

    Thanks.
    Philipp Eisbacher
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    Philipp Eisbacher

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    10 Jan 2013 08:01 AM
    It also seems to me that the word "Increment" is used with two different meanings, but I think the wanted definition of increment is [a+b] because under the aspect of continous integration you should not develop an increment [only a] and wait for an integration phase, you should make an inkrement [a&b] that works.

    but may someone with more experience can tell us the right meaning of those might controvers definitions.

    br,
    Hogir
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    Hogir

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    10 Jan 2013 10:27 AM
    Hey Philipp,

    thanks for your reply.

    For me b) does not define that the Increment is "Done" and therefore is in a usable condition (= potentially releaseable).

    In the section "Increment" it says: ...the new increment must be "Done"...
    a) without b) maps to the sentence above from my point of view.

    I still think that a) +b) is the definition for the product. But I am not a native English speaker and therefore maybe I have misunderstood the sentence.
    Dominik Maximini
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    Dominik Maximini

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    11 Jan 2013 08:46 AM
    Hogir, Philipp,

    think about the basic question: What is your product? After all, that's what we are trying to build, sell and pay our wages with. So is your product a single feature (like the "log in" button on this webpage)? Or is it rather the whole thing (in this case, the whole webpage)? If it is the whole thing: Would you want new features (which you might have paid for) to properly work as well when you visit the webpage or would it be sufficient for you if the old stuff works?
    Hogir
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    Hogir

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    16 Jan 2013 04:47 AM
    Dear Dominik,

    thanks for your input, but unfortunately it did not make things clearer for me. To answer your question: Yes, I want the product always working well. Therefore I want the increment to be "Done" at the end of the sprint so that it can be released.

    But I have still the open question about the definition of an Increment within the Scrum Guide.

    I have also attached an image to make it clearer what I think the an Increment is:
    It would be great if you guys could help me out with the confusion I currently have.

    P.S.
    I have also looked into different dictionaries for an definition e.g. this definition :
    something gained or added
    which does not fit to the definition of an increment in the Scrum Guide.
    (Src: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/increment)
    Ian Mitchell
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    Ian Mitchell

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    16 Jan 2013 08:35 AM
    • Accepted Answer
    An increment isn't the same thing as the product unless it is released. An increment only needs to be *potentially* releasable.

    An increment is all prior releases plus the current release. It isn't just the delta increase from a previous release because:

    a) The content of prior releases is needed in order for the work done this sprint to have value and to be potentially releasable, and
    b) An increment of potentially usable functionality must be tested adequately. This includes regression testing.

    Saying that "Each Increment is additive to all prior Increments" isn't a contradiction; the guide is saying that you have to include all prior increments in the current one, which is correct.
    Hogir
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    Hogir

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    17 Jan 2013 08:03 AM
    Hi Ian,

    thanks for your post, it makes the definition for me clear. I understand now better where the definitions is coming from.

    Michel Wicky
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    Michel Wicky

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    04 Feb 2013 08:28 AM
    The increment in scrum is like the definition, I mean (a+b). I see no problem with the definition of done.

    nothing+a = inc 1
    a+b = inc1+b = inc2
    a+b+c = inc2+c = inc3

    All prior increments may be interpreted as the previous increment because they are additive.

    My two cents
    Grzegorz Lisiewski
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    Grzegorz Lisiewski

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    18 Sep 2013 04:15 AM
    Hello,

    oh.. I'm happy I'm not the only one straggling a bit with this definition ...

    Ian , Michael,

    Your explanation helped me understand it - thanks.
    My only question is where are boundaries of an increment ?
    According to good example you have provided Michael:
    sum of all done work starting nothing to full product may be called increment or actually it is an increment.
    What if I develop my product for 5 years building new features all the time ?

    bestR
    Grzegorz Lisiewski
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    Grzegorz Lisiewski

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    18 Sep 2013 04:23 AM

    Just to add to that definition in latest guide says :The Increment is the sum of all the Product Backlog items completed during a Sprint and the value of the increments of all previous Sprints."

    I guess Product Backlog completed in the sprint is considered to be equal to value of the sprint otherwise you could not sum these things together.

    Ian Mitchell
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    Ian Mitchell

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    18 Sep 2013 04:49 AM
    > My only question is where are boundaries of an increment ?

    There is only one boundary, which is at the closure of the current Sprint.

    > What if I develop my product for 5 years building new features all the time ?

    By that point you should have delivered 5 years worth of successive incremental value

    > I guess Product Backlog completed in the sprint is considered to be equal to value
    > of the sprint otherwise you could not sum these things together.

    Not quite. It is the value of the completed items from the Sprint Backlog. Items from the Product Backlog that were originally planned into the Sprint only represent a forecast of the deliverables. Additional value may in fact have been delivered, such as unplanned defect fixes.
    Grzegorz Lisiewski
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    Grzegorz Lisiewski

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    18 Sep 2013 05:00 AM
    Ian,

    Thanks - This clarifies the idea behind the increment definition.
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