The House of Scrum is a metaphor for the Scrum Framework I came up with sometime last year. And it turned out to be a helpful way to explain the framework to people who would like to learn more about Scrum.
Scrum is a framework that people use to address complex adaptive problems, while productively and creatively delivering products of the highest possible value. Scrum is lightweight simple to understand and difficult to master. As Ken Schwaber, the co-creator of Scrum said the framework takes two days to learn in the lifetime to master.
It’s very important to understand that Scrum is not a method, process, or technique. It’s a framework. The framework can use various processes and practices within itself. The House of Scrum is built on a solid foundation of empirical process control or empiricism. Empiricism says that knowledge comes from experience and experimentation and the best decisions are made around what known. So what it means it basically says, try new things, validate your hypothesis, learn new stuff, and then go and make better decisions.
The empiricism has three pillars. These are transparency, inspection, and adaptation. And as we’ll see later, these three pillars lend themselves really well to the Scrum Framework.
Transparency requires that the process is visible to its participants. Two examples of transparency in Scrum Framework are a common language that should be shared by everyone, and the Definition of Done to ensure everyone is on the same page in the understanding of the state of work.
In Scrum, we frequently inspect its artifacts and progress towards a Sprint Goal. How often do we before the inspection? Well frequent enough as not to let the problems fester and accumulate, but not as frequent as for the process to get in the way of work. Inspection is best done at the point of work by those who are most qualified to inspect Scrum artifacts. If the inspection uncovers some variances from the desired outcome they should be fixed, and that’s where adaptation’s coming in. Just in time adaptation is best as it prevents further deviations.
Scrum adds another layer to the foundation. Think about it as a level that raises your house above the floodwater quite a useful concept here in Houston. This level consists of Scrum values and those values are courage, commitment, focus, openness, and respect. If you want an easier way to remember these I use the acronym CCFOR or double-C4
Scrum Team members are courageous to do the right thing to achieve the goal and the work on tough and complex adaptive problems. They are committed to achieving the goals of the Scrum Team. Scrum Team focuses on both the work done in the Sprint and the goal of the team. Stakeholders and Scrum Team, Scrum Team members, agree to be open about the work, open about the process and challenges with those. And last but not least, we expect people to be capable and independent individuals.
I want to dwell a little bit more on this last one. Explaining the value of respect I always like to expand on the Scrum Guide definition. For me respect goes in all directions it goes laterally. We respect our customers; we focus on delivering the right thing with the highest quality. We respect our suppliers, for example, not asking for what we don’t need. Respect goes down to the subordinates, and it goes up to the managers. Respect goes in all directions and it’s absolutely crucial for the smooth functioning of a great Scrum Team.
For the full description of the Framework read the House of Scrum Transcript.