Definition of Increment in scrum guide and scrum glossary are not matched

Last post 08:48 pm June 13, 2020
by Thomas Owens
4 replies
02:19 am June 12, 2020

Hi all, I think there is a mismatched in the definition of increment in scrum guide and scrum glossary. How do you think ? Thanks

  • Scrum Guide: 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. 
  • Scrum Glossary: Increment: Scrum Artifact that defines the complete and valuable work produced by the Development Team during a Sprint. The sum of all Increments form a product.
06:11 pm June 12, 2020

Both assert the cumulative value of incremental work. Can you clarify the nature of the mismatch you see, and the concern you have?

06:52 pm June 12, 2020

Hi @Ian, Thanks for the feedback.

  • I can see the cumulative value in scrum guide: current increment = current outcome + Sum (previous increments).
  • I cannot see cumulative value in scrum glossary: current increment = current outcome (i.e,"complete and valuable work produced during a sprint").  product = current increment + sum(previous increments).



08:23 am June 13, 2020

They are describing the same thing. Each increment results in a "new" product. The increment is not the delta itself, it is the new version of the product, which is the combination of this increment and (by definition) all previous versions of the product, so all previous increments.

The increment can only be deliverd when integrated into the exisitng product, therefore the current (production) state of the product is equal to the latest increment integrated into the previous version, which is the integration of the previous etc etc

So again, both describe the same phenomena, where your first bullit describes it from sprint outcome perspective, and your second describes it from product or enduser perspective

08:48 pm June 13, 2020

I'm pretty sure that others (likely even here, on these forums) have pointed out something similar. The Scrum Glossary is more closely aligned with the dictionary definition of an increment - the increment is the addition or increase and not the sum of the previous part plus the addition or increase.

I do understand the intent of the Scrum Guide. At the end of a Sprint, what is produced as the potentially-releasable Increment should not have reduced value from an Increment from a previous Sprint. It doesn't necessarily speak to the functionality of the product, since removing functionality can add value by making the product easier to use, understand, and/or maintain. However, it's not using the dictionary meaning of Increment and is defining its own word.

I think it would be good to align the Scrum Glossary with the Scrum Guide. Personally, I refer to the Scrum Guide for the definitions of these terms over other sources. In the event of conflicts, such as this, I would recommend following the Scrum Guide over other sources.