January 6, 2022

It’s actually OK to be a Scrum Purist, and this is why!

“You’re a Scrum purist”. When I hear people say this, it’s often associated with something negative. As if you’re a dogmatic, one-trick pony disguised as a Scrum police. Inflexible with an attitude of it’s the Scrum way or the high way! And if I’m being honest, I have missed out on some freelance opportunities based on this thinking in organisations.

I’m here to set the record straight and say that it’s actually a big compliment when people say you’re a Scrum purist.

Source: Merriam-Webster dictionary

Why is it OK to be a Scrum Purist?

To understand “why being a Scrum Purist is OK” is to understand the definition of a framework and how Scrum fits in it.

The Scrum framework is purposefully incomplete, only defining the parts required to implement Scrum theory. Scrum is built upon by the collective intelligence of the people using it. Rather than provide people with detailed instructions, the rules of Scrum guide their relationships and interactions.

- Scrum Guide 2020

As Scrum Purists, we understand that:

  • Scrum is imperfect and incomplete by design. As documented in the Scrum Guide, the framework only describes what is minimally needed. How you make Scrum successful for your team is up to the self-managing ability of your team.
  • We should be applying “Bottom-Up Intelligence”. Don’t limit your team with your intelligence. Instead, find ways to utilise the brilliance of the entire group.
  • What works for one team doesn’t automatically mean that it will work for another. That is why the first value of the Agile Manifesto is about People & Interaction over Processes and Tools.
  • The rules in Scrum are there to create transparency so that you can inspect and adapt from it. For example, Scrum events are timeboxed because they provide focus and allow you to learn from them.

Conclusion:

A Scrum Purist understands this and is driven by values and principles to help others embrace empiricism. In my opinion, this makes a Scrum Purist actually the exact opposite of a Scrum Dogmatic Police.

Scrum is just a framework. It is built upon by the collective intelligence of the people using it. So whether you’re a Product Owner, Developer, Scrum Master or Leader, It’s OK to be a Scrum Purist!

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