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Words that changed in Scrum Guide 2020 update

January 10, 2021
This is part #3 of 59 in the series Scrum Guide 2020 Updates

From January 10th, 2021 the assessments have changed to support the 2020 version of the Scrum Guide. Even though Scrum has not changed significantly, some of the wording and descriptions of Scrum have changed. The assessments take advantage of the new wording to ensure consistency with the new version of the Scrum Guide. However, it is impossible to change every piece of content, book, or article about Scrum to ensure the same consistency. This document is intended to provide a quick overview of the changes to avoid any confusion. For a more complete description of the 2020 version of the Scrum Guide please go here


Role replaced by accountabilities

Many people mistakenly thought that the Scrum roles were job titles. With the 2020 release of the Scrum Guide, the focus on “accountabilities” rather than job descriptions has been emphasized by removing the word “role.” However, it is a direct replacement and there are still many places where the use of the word “role” will still make sense when describing these accountabilities. 

For a more detailed description of this change please read the blog


“Self Organized” replaced with “Self Managed”

For many people these terms are synonyms. The change was inspired by the idea that the Scrum Team should take ownership of the management tasks necessary to deliver a useful, valuable increment. The use of the word “management” highlighted this focus. However, there remains a significant amount of valuable content that uses the term “self-organized. 

For a more detailed description of this change please read the blog


Servant Leadership  

The 2017 guide used the term “Servant Leadership” to describe the style of leadership that serves Scrum Teams well. This idea is still valid, however, the 2020 Scrum Guide places more emphasis on leadership, removing the potential misinterpretation that Scrum Masters are servants first and leaders second. Understanding the idea of servant leadership is still valuable when using Scrum. 


Development Team vs. Developer

This change has the biggest impact on the content associated with Scrum. Development Team was a key role within the Scrum Framework which was replaced by the term Developer. This meant that the team (or shared accountabilities) went to the Scrum Team and individual accountabilities are held by the Developer. 


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