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The 2020 Scrum Guide™: What you need to know and how you should adapt

December 5, 2020
This is part #40 of 59 in the series Scrum Guide 2020 Updates

This blog post was originally published on Avanade Insights

If you are using the Scrum Framework for complex software product development or to organize activities around key strategic initiatives in your organization, you may be aware that Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland, co-creators of Scrum, have released a new version of the Scrum Guide on 18th November 2020. In this blog post, I have summarized my recommendations of valuable actions you should take as a business leader highlighting key changes in the new guide.


Actions you should take now

  • Review the changes between 2017 and 2020 Scrum Guides (click to see revisions)
  • Read the 2020 Scrum Guide™, it is now only 13 pages!
  • Start treating your Scrum Team as one team that is accountable for Product Owner(ship), Scrum Master(y) and Development of valuable and usable Increment every Sprint o  Stop treating the Development Team as a separate team within the Scrum Team o  Continue to hold your Scrum Team accountable for delivering value with quality
  • Enable collaboration for Scrum Team and stakeholders to draft the Product Goal. If one already exists, you’re ahead of the curve.
  • Continue helping Scrum Teams to stay focused on Sprint Goal and Definition of Done - they are now mandatory.


What you should know about the 2020 Scrum Guide™

  1. Scrum is fundamentally still Scrum. If your organization is using Scrum now, rest assured that you do not need to drop what you’re doing altogether and learn something very new. Scrum Framework continues to be based on empiricism and stands on the pillars of transparency, inspection and adaptation.
  2. It is now easier to understand and adopt. Scrum is being adopted in many domains, not just software product development. The 2020 Scrum Guide™ has placed emphasis on removing any remaining references to IT work specifically (e.g. testing, system, design, requirement, etc.). Essentially if what you do is complex, Scrum could help.

At Avanade, Scrum is used by teams such as sales, marketing and finance to achieve their respective objectives and common goals.


Summary of key changes in the 2020 Scrum Guide™

  • Concept of separate Development Team within Scrum Team is REMOVED. Now, one team, the Scrum Team, is accountable for Product Owner(ship), Scrum Master(y) and Development of usable increment(s) every Sprint. Goal for this change to eliminate “proxy” or "us and them” behavior between the Product Owner and Development Team.
  • Statement around developers is CLARIFIEDAs Scrum’s use spreads, developers, researchers, analysts, scientists, and other specialists do the work. We use the word “developers” in Scrum not to exclude, but to simplify. If you get value from Scrum, consider yourself included.
  • Concept of the Product Goal as commitment to Product Backlog is ADDED. By focusing on one Product Goal at a time, one team (Scrum Team), is focused on one product or one initiative at a time.
  • Reference that the Scrum Team is self-managing over self-organizing is EMPHASIZED. Meaning they choose who works on what, how work will be done, and what to work on.
  • Sprint Goal and Definition of Done are NO LONGER OPTIONAL. Sprint Goal highlights “why” for the work being done and the Definition of Done for each Increment adds transparency.


Thanks for reading! I hope that this post was useful for you to start understanding changes in the 2020 Scrum Guide™. I’d like to hear any comments, feedback, or questions from you. Before you leave, I encourage you to bookmark:

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