What is an Increment in Scrum?

Learn About the Scrum Artifact: Increment

As described in the Scrum Guide, an Increment is the sum of all the Product Backlog items completed during a Sprint and the value of the increments of all previous Sprints. At the end of a Sprint, the new Increment must be “Done,” which means it must be in useable condition and meet the Scrum Team’s definition of “Done.”  An increment is a body of inspectable, "Done" work that supports empiricism at the end of the Sprint.  The increment is a step toward a vision or goal.  The increment must be in usable condition regardless of whether the Product Owner decides to release it.

The entire point of Scrum is to deliver a "Done" increment.

Definition of "Done"

Scrum ProjectWhen a Product Backlog item or an Increment is described as “Done”, everyone must understand what “Done” means. Although this may vary significantly per Scrum Team, members must have a shared understanding of what it means for work to be complete, to ensure transparency. This is the definition of “Done” for the Scrum Team and is used to assess when work is complete on the product Increment.

The same definition guides the Development Team in knowing how many Product Backlog items it can select during a Sprint Planning. The purpose of each Sprint is to deliver Increments of potentially releasable functionality that adhere to the Scrum Team’s current definition of “Done”.

Development Teams deliver an Increment of product functionality every Sprint. This Increment is useable, so a Product Owner may choose to immediately release it.  If the definition of "Done" for an increment is part of the conventions, standards or guidelines of the development organization, all Scrum Teams must follow it as a minimum.

Videos and Webcasts


Vertically Slicing


The Importance of Vertically Slicing Architectures - As part of the Scrum Tapas video series, Professional Scrum Trainer, Chuck Suscheck discusses his thoughts on vertically slicing architecture with an analogy on human anatomy.  


Using Scrum to Control Risk


Using Scrum to Control Risk - Ken Schwaber the co-creator of Scrum and founder of Scrum.org in an interview with the Boston Business Journal talks about how Scrum is used to control risk.

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