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Feedback on 'Scrum' definition from the Scrum Guide

Last post 10:24 am October 16, 2012 by Ryan Cromwell
3 replies
08:29 am October 15, 2012

Hello all,

I'd like to provide feedback in form of a comment on the definition of Scrum in the Scrum Guide. There it says:

>Scrum Overview
>Scrum (n): A framework within which people can address
>complex adaptive problems, while productively and creatively
>delivering products of the highest possible value.

The interesting part here is 'complex adaptive problems'. I understand that problems can be complex and that is logical to state or assume, but to me there is no sense in saying that problems are adaptive.

I'll copy/paste few relevant word definitions from the dictionary:

- Adaptive, adjective
Having a capacity for adaptation.

- Adaptation, noun
The process of adapting to something (such as environmental conditions).

- Adapt, verb
Make fit for, or change to suit a new purpose; Adapt or conform oneself to new or different conditions.

- Problem, noun
A state of difficulty that needs to be resolved; A question raised for consideration or solution; A source of difficulty

I'd say that the process of solving problems can be adaptive. When solving problems you can have adaptive approach and adaptive execution of it, but it makes no sense saying that problems itself are adaptive.

From my viewpoint the definition of Scrum as it is stated in the Scrum Guide is not completely logical and should be changed. I'd like to hear some feedback from the community on this.


11:07 am October 15, 2012

Whether successfully conveyed or not, I believe the intent is that complex problems are not always clearly understood. As we approach and attempt to solve a complex problem, our understanding of that problem becomes clearer. In this way we must reevaluate both the problem and the solution. Continuous planning allows for this dynamic where a plan alone constrains learning.

06:12 am October 16, 2012

I agree with you and that is how I see it too.

If one checks the blog posts about changes to Scrum Guide, one will see that they are trying to improve the Scrum Guide by changing some terms and wordings to more clear or accurate ones. It is very important that everything is as clear, concise, accurate and logical as possible. For a document containing definition of a process/framework (Scrum Guide) it is crucial that it is written in such way and effort from the organization to make it so is clearly visible.

I appreciate that and in such spirit I'm hoping to draw some attention to specific part of Scrum Guide where I can see possible improvements (definition of Scrum: '... adaptive problems...').

10:24 am October 16, 2012

Agree. It is up to Ken, Jeff and the rest of to synthesis this information and take action - if action is appropriate. I'm not entirely sure it does, personally.

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