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Simplifying Scrum

June 21, 2018

"To simplify yields a richer result." - Yvon Chouinard, Let My People Go Surfing.

This is one of my favorite quotes of all time. Throughout life, I am constantly learning through trial and error. And I have found that the simple process often leads to the better product.  For Instance, my barbecue chicken recipe.  I love Summer and enjoy spending time with friends and family barbecuing.  I have a simple recipe that is my go-to, but I’ll often try to shake things up with new sauces,  rub mixtures, or brining. Turns out that my simple recipe with a minimal amount of ingredients is always the crowd favorite.

Scrum ElementsAs with most of my experiences, I find a correlation here with Scrum.  One of the principles of the Agile Manifesto is “Simplicity – the art of maximizing the amount of work not done – is essential.” Scrum is a framework consisting of eleven elements; required ingredients if you will. It is supported by many complementary practices such as a Sprint Burndown chart, User Stories, Story Points, Definition of “Ready,” Team Working Agreements, Poker Planning, etc. All too often I have observed the focus on these complementary practices rather than Scrum itself. Is there a point when too many ingredients get in the way of the original recipe?  Would the Scrum framework in your world of work be more optimal with less of them?

Like my chicken recipe, I have tried adding many different ingredients to Scrum over the years. I find myself now removing those complimentary practices to focus more on the framework itself.  Working with teams, I have emphasized the Scrum Values and Principles with a renewed focus on simplification. The products we are building are complex, does the way we build them have to be?

Let me know your thoughts on keeping Scrum simple in the comments below.  And you're not getting your hands on my secret chicken recipe.


As Vice President of Agile Innovation at Itero Group, Todd Miller leads our team in the delivery of Target Transformative Agile Services, Embedded Services, Scrum Training, and Product Development at our Scrum Technology Centers.

A professional Scrum trainer for, Todd has coached and trained enterprise teams across the United States on the Scrum framework, enterprise Agile transformation, and professional software development.

Connect with Todd on LinkedIn or Contact Todd directly for information on our Agile Practice

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