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Why is product stability important in Scrum?

Scrum is an empirical approach that delivers value to customers in product Increments. This allows a Scrum Team to frequently and quickly learn if what they deliver is actually improving value for the customer and user. If not, the capability may be reworked or even removed. New capabilities may also be added. This means that a Scrum Team is constantly changing and evolving their product Increment which makes product stability vital, as each Increment builds on the last. 

While customers welcome new product capabilities that help them achieve outcomes that they value, they also expect a consistent experience with the parts of the product with which they are already happy. They don’t want to have to re-learn the product every time they get a new product Increment. They also don’t want new product Increments that suddenly behave unpredictably.

At the same time, the Scrum Team cannot afford to have to redevelop significant portions of the product every time they produce a new product Increment. While they expect some redesign and redevelopment based on customer feedback, they can’t afford to be starting from scratch every Sprint. Ideally, each new product Increment should add new capabilities without disrupting the valuable capabilities provided by previous product Increments.

As Scrum Teams add more capabilities to their product Increments, these instabilities can increase to the point where the product Increment becomes unusable or unmaintainable. When a Scrum Team reaches this point they have few alternatives but to stop developing new capabilities or start from scratch and develop a completely new product Increment.

Product instabilities also reduce a Scrum Team’s effectiveness. Their Ability to Innovate (A2I), which is the Evidence-Based Management Key Value Area measuring their ability to deliver new capabilities and innovative solutions to better meet customer needs. Their lower A2I in turn reduces their ability to produce valuable product Increments.



Learning Series
This learning series discusses the importance of developing and delivering valuable product Increments in order to improve the outcomes that its users and customers experience. Scrum Teams deliver product Increments and measure the results to understand what customers want or need.


Learning Series
There are many reasons why Scrum Teams struggle to deliver value. To be more effective, Scrum Teams should better understand customer needs, improve their cross-functionality, be empowered to make decisions, improve their ability to focus, and increase their feedback cycles.

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Learning Series
Scrum Teams deliver value to customers in product Increments. Product stability is vital as each Increment builds on the last.