New Scrum Guide 2020

Last post 10:18 am October 17, 2020
by René Gysenbergs
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06:23 pm October 14, 2020

Hello, 

 

I heard that a new version of the Scrum Guide will be released this fall. Do you know when it will be released (end of October / beginning of November?) and what is the impact on the certifications?

 

10:15 pm October 14, 2020

According to Ken Schwaber's blog post, the target release date is before the end of the year, it seems like "early December" is the most specific date given. Reading the other comments, it looks like Ken and Jeff Sutherland have finalized it and are using this time to translate the guide and to update their respective training materials.

I would also like to know what Scrum.org's plans are around certifications. I do know that the Scrum.org certifications don't expire, but this will be the first revision to the Scrum Guide since I've had any. I'm curious if there will be an announcement when all of the training and certification exams are updated and information to help decide if it's worth it to retake any exams or not.

10:34 pm October 14, 2020

I will try and take your questions somewhat one at a time.

 

  1. As @Thomas notes, Ken has said before the end of the year
  2. As always with the Scrum.org certifications and training, there will be a period of time for those who have been studying, etc. after the release of the new Scrum Guide before we adjust the assessments and training materials.  On day 1, nobody will have read it yet and therefore it would not be right or fair to test on something that didn't exist an hour before.  Historically Scrum.org has given approximately 2 months between release of a new guide and updates to the assessments.
  3. When Ken and Jeff release the new guide, Scrum.org will also announce timeframes for updates to the assessments and training materials.  Generally training will talk about the differences and over time evolve as you may be joining a team that already is using Scrum, etc. and you need to understand how they are working and not expect them to change on day 1 either...
  4. Either way, your current certification will still exist and never expire. 
12:49 am October 15, 2020

Eric, does Scrum.org have an opinion on retaking training and/or certification as the Scrum Guide updates? In this specific case, we don't know what the differences look like to understand how much are clarifications versus substantial changes, so I'm thinking more in generalities.

I understand that the certification never expires and we'll always be listed on the website. However, the website also does list the date we took the exam (for example, I took my exams in 2017-2018, which were all based on the 2017 Scrum Guide). Employers may use the certification and date of certification to narrow the candidate pool. I can see people, especially those with more limited work experience, who may end up in trouble if they have a certification against an earlier revision of the Scrum Guide.

I personally don't like practices like this, and I don't know Scrum.org's stance. However, is there information made available to employers to help them understand the extent to which they can trust a test based on the date it was taken and the current state of Scrum? Or opportunities for people (perhaps based on exactly when they took the exams) to retake at a discount?

08:36 am October 15, 2020

@thomas Owens, I've got my PSM I, PSPO I and SPS in 2016, so when the Scrum Guide 2017 came out, I read the extra information that was present.
There was never an employer that made a remark that my certifications were from the pre-2017-Scrum-Guide-era.

BTW, according to the blog post of Ken (see link in Eric's post), the 2020 version will be 6 pages shorter than the current version (13 pages compared to 19 pages). I really don't think that an employer will complain that you have too much Codified Theoretical Scrum Knowledge because you did exams based on the longer version of the Scrum Guide. They expect us to "forget" about the things removed, just like we forgot about chickens and pigs desire to open a breakfast diner.

09:16 am October 15, 2020

Although I would expect relatively few employers to even pick up on this nuance, I think the points that Thomas raise are interesting, and I'm curious to hear Eric's response.

I really don't think that an employer will complain that you have too much Codified Theoretical Scrum Knowledge because you did exams based on the longer version of the Scrum Guide.

Without going into the value of current knowledge, I disagree with the apparent assertion that understanding a longer version of the Scrum Guide positively correlates with having more codified theoretical Scrum knowledge. If anything, I'd expect the opposite.

Someone who could comprehend a leaner, less prescriptive guide and understands how to apply that effectively would probably demonstrate more of the skills I value in a professional, than someone who has learned to apply more detailed practices in a specific way.

They expect us to "forget" about the things removed, just like we forgot about chickens and pigs desire to open a breakfast diner.

Is it really about forgetting, or simply inspecting the lessons learned, and adapting our future behaviour accordingly?

10:29 am October 15, 2020

@Simon Mayer, just written communication removes a lot of nuances, so I'm not sure against which points you are arguing at the moment.
From my point of view you have taken 1 paragraph, split that in two, reasoned against the first part using the "Letter of the Law" approach, reasoned against the second part using the "Reason of the Law" approach, all without taking the "Context of the Law" into consideration.

The context is that the Scrum Guide is a living document and therefor it is expected that with each new iteration we look at the things that have changed, understand why these changes have occured and adapt our method/behaviour accordingly. This has always been de modus operandi with each adding of information to a Scrum guide over the years and will still be valid when the new shorter Scrum Guide appears.

So with this context in mind, my first paragraph that you quoted states that no employer will use against any Scrum Master the fact that they had to study more "codified theoretical Scrum Knowledge" because employers understand that Scrum Masters adapt in a correct way to changes.It would be a sad day if the promoters of Agile aren't Agile themself.

On my second paragraph that you quoted, you can see the quotes around "forget", this should have been a red flag that there was more context around "forget" than just the literal meaning of forget. Each Scrum Master that started with Scrum when there still was a mention of masochistic chickens and pigs in it, knew/knows what they represented, learned from that lesson, learned why it was changed later on, learned from that lesson again and so on. It was never about forgetting, but about being Agile when changes appear.

 

01:10 pm October 15, 2020

Employers may use the certification and date of certification to narrow the candidate pool. I can see people, especially those with more limited work experience, who may end up in trouble if they have a certification against an earlier revision of the Scrum Guide.

I think that would be a wonderful problem to have.

In my experience most employers seem to go by a random Scrum article they misread some 20 years ago, lost, found, dropped in a puddle, put through a wringer, misread and lost again, reconstituted as a "version" of Scrum they have "customized" for the organization, and then generally ignored until they eventually interview a Scrum Master who asks probing questions.

01:19 pm October 15, 2020

Like always, there will be a history of changes to the Scrum Guide, but remember, Scrum is still Scrum.  There may be some changes the Ken and Jeff provide to help you improve how you can use and apply it, but the core concepts of empiricism, inspect and adapt will always be there.

01:42 pm October 15, 2020

@Simon Mayer, just written communication removes a lot of nuances, so I'm not sure against which points you are arguing at the moment.

Indeed.

I think we're both in agreement that understanding how Scrum evolves over time is important.

Where I think we differ is that I doubt being able to understand and apply a longer version of the Scrum Guide is a guarantee of being able to do that with one that offers less guidance.

And then built on that point, we may have varied expectations about how an employer might value certificates gained at different points in time.

But it is all rather hypothetical until the 2020 update is released.

05:33 pm October 15, 2020

I agree with Ian, I would LOVE to have an employer so deeply involved in Scrum and the various updates that they would care about my PSM1 being dated in Jan 2017 while knowing a new version of the SG is coming out. My immediate leadership knows the ins and outs but outside of that small circle, the idea is "you got your PSM, you're good, doesn't matter the date"

10:18 am October 17, 2020

Where I think we differ is that I doubt being able to understand and apply a longer version of the Scrum Guide is a guarantee of being able to do that with one that offers less guidance

I think the same, it's not a guarantee at all, but I believe that someone who has learned the proper lessons of implementing Scrum (through being taught in class and/or by mentorship) should have the "tools in their toolbox" to adapt their craft to newer Scrum guides (longer or shorter).

And then built on that point, we may have varied expectations about how an employer might value certificates gained at different points in time.

That is indeed our only difference because I haven't come across in my career employers that follow up the date of a certification programme and its content.
Heck a lot of them don't know which organisation provides which certification: SA/CSM or Scrum.org/PSM or think that the ScrumXP framework a SAFe Scrum Master teaches is 100% identical to the Scrum framework a PSM/CSM teaches.

But it is all rather hypothetical until the 2020 update is released.

200% agree