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What is an Increment and how Does it Connect with the other Elements of Scrum

March 30, 2022

Welcome to Scrum Sutra — a series to share a 3-min overview of each element of Scrum and how it connects with the other elements in the bead to form Scrum Sutra.

Today, it's about Increment.

The Increment is one of the three Scrum Artifacts. The other 2 being Product Backlog and Sprint Backlog. The Increment represents value.

The Increment is the sum of all Product Backlog items Done during a Sprint and the value of all the previous Increments.

The entire Scrum Team is accountable for creating a valuable and useful Increment every Sprint. In fact, Developers are committed to creating any aspect of a usable Increment each Sprint, the Product Owner is accountable to maximize the value of the Increment, and the Scrum Master helps the Scrum Team focus on creating high-value Increments that meet the Definition of Done.

An Increment is created the moment a Product Backlog item meets the DoD. Going by that, if a PBI does not meet DoD, an Increment is not formed, and if it is not formed, it is not presented in the Sprint Review and not released. How can we release something that does not exist! This is to ensure transparency w.r.t. all work that was agreed to be done as part of the Increment has indeed been done.

There can be multiple Increments created within a Sprint. Each Increment is built on top of all prior Increments and need to cohesively align to Definition of Done, be usable and valuable.

Talking of Definition of Done. The DoD is a commitment that Scrum Team has toward the Increment. It exists to reinforce empiricism and the Scrum Values for the Scrum Team and their Stakeholders.

It is created collaboratively by the Scrum Team on top of organizational standards, if it exists.

Scrum’s empirical approach gives many opportunities to inspect and adapt the Increment.

In Sprint Review, the sum of all the Increments are together presented. The Increment is collaboratively inspected by the Stakeholders and Scrum Team. The Product Owner shows courage in not accepting Increment which does not meet DoD and expectations.

Finally, let's conclude from where it all starts – the Product Goal. If the Product Goal describes the future state of the Product, then the Product Backlog represents the path toward the Product Goal and the Increment is your GPS device that indicates your current position toward the Goal.

That’s a 3-min overview on Increment. Stay tuned to the next in the Scrum Sutra series.

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