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Update to the Scrum Guide - What it means to

November 18, 2020
This is part #5 of 59 in the series Scrum Guide 2020 Updates

Today, the 18th of November 2020 Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland released an update to the Scrum Guide. If you are interested in an overview of what has changed, read about the seven main changes described with some context. In a nutshell, the changes are: 

  • Less prescriptive
  • One team focused on one product
  • Introduction of the Product Goal 
  • Artifact commitments, 
  • Change from self-organized to self-managed
  • Three Sprint Planning topics
  • A general simplification of language 

One main thing to also remember, Scrum is still Scrum and although these changes were made, the cores of Empiricism, Inspection, and Adaptation remain at its heart. The changes were driven by a desire to more explicitly support the use of Scrum in more industries and problem domains and in response to comments and suggestions by the greater community of Scrum users. I am excited about the changes and the opportunity to remind people about the Scrum Guide and encourage discussion and learning. 

For a more detailed about the changes and how they can lead to some interesting discussions read my blog on the content changes. 

For a description of the impact for please continue to read on.


What does this mean to the Assessments?

Today there are no changes to the assessments. They will continue to support the 2017 version of the Scrum Guide. This will allow learners, trainers, and coaches to become familiar with the new wording and additional concepts prior to being tested on them. We plan that on January the 10th, we will update assessments to be based on the 2020 version of the Scrum Guide. So, if you have been preparing for the test with the 2017 content then I suggest you take the test before January the 10th 2021. Because updating the assessments will take time assessments will not be available on January 10th and the updated assessments will be available on January the 11th. 


What does this mean for the training classes?

The course material, like the tests, will not change until January 10th, 2021. However, because the training material is being delivered by our fantastic Professional Scrum Trainers there will be a few slides that describe the changes and you will have opportunities within the training classes immediately to discuss the changes. But remember, the tests will not change until January the 10th, so any discussions are purely to help you learn. 


What does this mean for content?

There is a lot of material on the website and in other places including thousands of books with Scrum in the title. Those materials can not change overnight. Those materials will still add value because Scrum has not changed and much of it is used to describe how to use Scrum, not the pure definition of it. Yes, maybe they reference the Development Team rather than the Developers, or they do not provide a description of the Product Goal, but ultimately the ideas they are describing still make sense and may be valuable to you. That means that will still have content that references the 2017 (and before) Scrum Guide. Materials that are tied directly to the Assessments will be updated for January the 10th, but other materials may not. So if you see something that is using the wrong words do not worry.

If you are familiar with the 2017 version of the Guide you may be struck with how different this version of the Guide looks. But, don’t worry Scrum is still the same. The structure of the Guide has changed and many of the more prescriptive language and practices have been removed to get back to being a lightweight, easy to understand framework. But Scrum is still Scrum.  And that has not changed. Use the Scrum Guide as the framework it is intended to be, to provide a foundation and if there are any surprises spend a minute thinking about “how does that help us solve this problem, deliver this value, or work more effectively as a team”. This release of the Scrum Guide highlights the most important part of Scrum. You. Scrum is a great framework, but without smart people using it, it cannot provide value! 



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