Scrum Guide 2020 - What's new?

A few days ago - mid November - Scrum celebrated its 25th birthday and released a new version of its Scrum Guide.
The good news: Scrum remains Scrum.
Person working on a laptop. The picture shows some Scrum relevant symbols.

Nevertheless, there were some major changes

  • New module: The Product Goal. The relation between Sprint Goal and Sprint is the same as between a Product Goal and a product: What do we plan to achieve for the product in the upcoming Sprints?  Every Sprint should bring us a step closer to this goal.
  • The Development Team is replaced by "Developers". This unifies the language and leads to more transparency: There is only one team, which is the Scrum Team. This includes different responsibilities, which are carried out by one Scrum Master, one Product Owner and by the Developers.
  • Each artifact now has an associated commitment. This leads to more transparency in terms of Sprint Goal and Definition of Done. 
Product Backlog → Product Goal
Sprint Backlog → Sprint Goal
Increment → Definition of Done
  • The Sprint Planning is supplemented by the initial question of "why": Why are we doing this Sprint? This is followed as usual by the questions of "What" and "How".

To sum it up: The Scrum Guide is now kept more neutral and is no longer aimed only at software development, but at all teams that need to solve complex problems. In addition, the language has become more simple and clearer. Furthermore, the Scrum Guide is now even shorter (13 pages instead of 19).

What is the reason for the importance of the Scrum Guide?

Scrum is the global de facto standard for agile approaches and enables agility in thousands of teams and companies. The Scrum Guide describes the rules of the game: How can we as a team solve complex problems?
In contrast to SAFe, for example, the intention of the Scrum Guide is "Reduce to the max": What is the smallest possible set of rules needed to play this "game"? Similar to the rules for chess, the Scrum Guide does not describe concrete practices, tactics or strategies: The application of the rules and design of the game differs from team to team and from company to company (one could also say: complex).
However, the rules of Scrum have proven themselves a thousand times. In fact, many things that have now been formulated explicitly in the Scrum Guide could already be observed in good performing Scrum teams.
A thorough examination of the Scrum Guide is beneficial for most teams.  It would be kind of presumptuous to ignore this proven set of rules and regulations, assuming that one knows better and therefore does not have to follow certain (few!) rules. Rather, the risk of concealing problems would increase significantly.
About the author: Ari Byland is a passionate Professional Scrum Trainer (PST) at and Enterprise Agile Coach at a Swiss software company. From his current and past activities as Product Manager, Agile Coach, Development Manager and Software Developer, he not only knows the challenges faced by Development Teams and Scrum Masters, but also by Product Owners, from his own experience.
Ari Byland is a Professional Scrum Trainer and SAFe Program Consultant. He holds a Master in Digital Business from the University of Applied Sciences in Zurich. 

Key words: Scrum, Agile Project Management, News

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