Skip to main content

Due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, we have paused all purchases and training in and from Russia.

Clarifications in scrum guide.

Last post 05:24 am December 28, 2013 by Leonardo Campos
3 replies
05:17 am December 23, 2013


While going through scrum guide, there are two points which were not very clear to me.

1. In Page 4 under "Scrum Team" the guide says "Scrum Teams are self-organizing and cross-functional." .However I see later on that these qualities are only assigned to Development Team. Is the self-organizing and cross functional aspects relevant for scrum master and product owner also.

2. Further in the paragraph, the last line says "The team model in Scrum is designed to optimize flexibility, creativity, and productivity.” I can understand that the flexibility can be achieved by providing ways to incorporate changes and productivity by keeping teams focused in the ambit of a sprint. But I am not very clear that how the frameworks help in creativity?


05:24 am December 23, 2013

1. Scrum Teams are self-organising, that's correct. Development Team is also self-organizting as it's the part of the Scrum Team. I do not see any conflicts here.
2. You're right - Scrum Guide is a short document that doesn't give long and exhaustive answers. Look at the values of Scrum (which are also out of Scrum Guide scope) - Courage, Focus, Commitment, Openness, Respect. Scrum is just an implementation of those Values (as well as Manifesto). Think about how those Values can support Creativity? What about Focus and focused work?

05:59 am December 23, 2013

> Is the self-organizing and cross functional aspects relevant for scrum master and product owner also.

The Scrum Team, of which the Development Team is a subset, is a self-organizing unit. Scrum Team members do not need external agencies (such as project managers) to organize them. So self-organization is indeed relevant for the Scrum Master and Product Owner roles as well as for the Development Team.

Cross-functionality is a feature of Development Teams, i.e. those who action the work from a Sprint Backlog should not be organized into sub-roles or silos or responsibility. However, since the Scrum Master and/or the Product Owner can also be members of the Development Team, they can in this sense also be cross-functional.

> I am not very clear that how the frameworks help in creativity?

It's the team model that is cited as helping creativity. This is very tightly aligned to the principle of self-organization. A team that is expected to manage its own process - rather than to seek direction - must demonstrate initiative. In other words the creative process, and the responsibility for its inspection and adaptation, is vested wholly within the Scrum Team.

05:24 am December 28, 2013

Since I believe the self-organization matter was already fully answered, I'll address the creativity subject.

Complexity Theory helps to understand this matter. Complexity means that something, like software development for instance, has a certain degree of unpredictability. Normally a complex system is composed of independent agents following fairly simple rules and these agents limit themselves mutually. Think about a soccer match where the player are independent agents following simple rules.

Dave Snowden created a framework called Cynefin ( Welsh word which means something like Place of multiple belongings) based on Complexity theory, which helps as a decision aid tool. It states that you should identify which context you are working in (Simple, Complicated, Complex, Chaotic). Once identified, there are some appropriate ways to deal with that particular context.

On the Complex context, for example, you should "Dance with the system", poke it to see how it responds, since it is not fully predictable. It is exactly in this context that Scrum is a perfect fit. Complex environments require empirical lightweight processes that let experiments be held and practices and products emerge, that's what Scrum is perfect for.

Complex-adaptive systems, like a Scrum Team, need to constantly inspect and adapt: Scrum Practices are designed to help you with that, like Planning (adapt the product), Review (inspect the product), Retrospective (inspect and adapt process) and Dailies (inspect and adapt how to achieve the Sprint Goal).

Inovation which would be the product of creativity is created specially when working properly in the Complex and Chaotic contexts.