June 27, 2019

Refresh the Purpose of the Scrum Framework

The Scrum Framework, visualized by Thea Schukken

How would the people you work with complete the following sentence: “The Scrum Framework exists in order to …”? Sometimes we get bogged down in the rules and mechanics of Scrum while forgetting what we’re trying to achieve in the first place. Or we don’t even know what the point is, and go along because it is hip or what everyone else is doing. Either way, this is not a good foundation for improvement.

“The Scrum Framework exists in order to…”

So, why not spend a part of your upcoming Sprint Retrospective to re-clarify the purpose of Scrum?

How to facilitate this Retrospective?

  • Invite people to individually, and in silence, compile a list of all the things they do as part of working with Scrum (1 min);
  • Invite people to form pairs. Taking turns, people share their lists and ask each other “Why is this important?” for each item and for the list as a whole. Encourage people to keep asking “Why?” so that you can really drill down to the core (10 min);
  • In their pairs, invite people to together complete the sentence a poster or a large sticky: “The Scrum Framework exists in order to …” (5 min);
  • The pairs share their sentences. As a group, pick the best one and refine it further. This is also an excellent opportunity to teach the purpose of Scrum if the team is struggling. Important keywords are value, “Done” increments, validating assumptionscomplexity, and predictability (10 min);
  • Create five stations, each for one of the Scrum Events. Invite people to form new pairs. Each pair picks one station to start. Give the pairs 5 minutes to explore how this event serves the purpose identified in the previous round. What can be done to optimize how this event is done? After 5 minutes, ask the pairs to move clockwise to the next station and build on what was written by the pairs before them. Repeat until every pair has visited every station (25 min);
  • Together, debrief the insights from the five stations. What are the biggest takeaways? What is one vital improvement that should be made for the next Sprint? (10 min);

Closing

We always recommend to re-iterate the purpose of Scrum at the start of the Sprint Review and Sprint Planning and how it connects to those events. If you need to help to clarify this for yourself, the Scrum Guide is an excellent start. And feel free to download this free poster (PDF) and put it somewhere visible. It clarifies the purpose of the Scrum Framework and its various roles, events, and principles.

How would you or your Scrum Team complete this sentence?

“The Scrum Framework exists in order to…”

We would love to learn from your experience using this Retrospective format. Give it a try, and feel free to share the results!

Want to learn more about the purpose of the Scrum Framework? Join our Professional Scrum Master or Professional Scrum Master II courses (in Dutch or English). We guarantee a unique, eye-opening experience that is 100% free of PowerPoint, highly interactive and serious-but-fun.