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InfoQ Homepage News Latest Edition of the Scrum Guide Now Available

Latest Edition of the Scrum Guide Now Available

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The latest edition of the Scrum Guide has been launched by Scrum co-creators Ken Schwaber of and Jeff Sutherland of Scrum, Inc.  The previous version was released in 2013, and the biggest change in this version of the Guide is the inclusion of the Scrum Values.  

The Scrum Guide contains the definitive guide to Scrum, "the rules of the game".  Schwaber and Sutherland collaborate to keep the Scrum Guide up to date, responding to feedback from the community via the User Voice section of the Scrum Guide website. 

Following the release, InfoQ spoke to Schwaber about the changes in the latest version and plans for the future.

It’s been three years since The Scrum Guide was last updated – what has changed in that time so that a new version was necessary?  

The Scrum Guide is managed independently of by Jeff Sutherland and I, the creators of Scrum.  There is an active community of Scrum professionals who use the Scrum Guide as the basis for their work. Those individuals have been providing input via the User Voice section of the Guide website to provide input to upcoming releases and feedback on the Guide. Adding the Values into the Scrum Guide has received the highest number of votes by more than 3x.  So, Jeff and I have listened to the audience and added them in.  Not only was it based on feedback from Scrum professionals, but also the fact that professionalism requires a set of values and these values help to encompass the professionalism of Scrum and software development. Enacted and embraced, these values create a culture for Agile software development.

What are the major changes in this version?  

This version of the Scrum Guide adds the Scrum Values into the Guide.  They include Commitment, Courage, Focus, Openness and Respect. The values should be followed by the entire Scrum Team, as that is critical to the success of the team in general.  The Guide goes on to say "When the values of commitment, courage, focus, openness and respect are embodied and lived by the Scrum Team, the Scrum pillars of transparency, inspection, and adaptation come to life and build trust for everyone. The Scrum Team members learn and explore those values as they work with the Scrum events, roles and artifacts.

Successful use of Scrum depends on people becoming more proficient in living these five values. People personally commit to achieving the goals of the Scrum Team. The Scrum Team members have courage to do the right thing and work on tough problems. Everyone focuses on the work of the Sprint and the goals of the Scrum Team. The Scrum Team and its stakeholders agree to be open about all the work and the challenges with performing the work. Scrum Team members respect each other as capable, independent people.

It seems that many Scrum practitioners and teams adopt Scrum as a set of process guidelines rather than as a philosophy of work – what is the impact of this approach, and what should be done instead? 

Scrum is truly a framework for working together as a Team to deliver better software. Those that truly adopt Scrum follow the framework as a way of working and organizing as a Team. Scrum being empirical is critical to its success as the Scrum Team is self-organizing and continuously reviewing their success and failures and adapting with changes that are needed to ensure future success. If the Scrum Team is not empowered for this, they will struggle to succeed, but also, if they don’t work to adapt, they will not change and not gain the advantages of empiricism which is at the heart of Scrum.   

Is the Scrum Guide becoming more prescriptive?

No, the Guide and Scrum itself is not prescriptive.  Empiricism is at the heart of Scrum and by its nature must evolve and be optimized by the team.  We have seen prescriptive processes come and go over the years and the success of software development impacted minimally. Scrum has been going strong for over 21 years now and a big reason why it has been successful and outlived all of the prescriptive processes is due to its lack of being overly prescriptive.  Scrum provides a framework for working and the team adapts to their abilities, organization and needs to make it work for them based on the Scrum Guide and framework provided.  

How do the Scrum values compare with the Values and Principles of the Agile Manifesto?

The values within the two are very complimentary.  As I wrote in my book, "Scrum is based on a set of fundamental values. These values are the bedrock on which Scrum’s practices rest.”  The Scrum Values are based on how to act and work as an individual within a Scrum Team. Without courage, for example, you could not speak up when one is not abiding by the Manifesto values.  Without Focus, how do you deliver the working software, etc.  They are quite supportive of each other. 

Where to from here – what is the next frontier for Scrum and how will that influence the Scrum Guide in the future?

Changes to the Scrum Guide are heavily influenced by those using Scrum in the real-world and their voice for change. That said, I would expect changes to be impactful on scaling across multiple teams working on a single product; for example, the work that we have done at on the Nexus Framework which leverages Scrum as the basis for teams working to deliver an integrated increment. You can find the Nexus Guide at As Scrum continues to evolve and be more successful, teams will evolve and therefore need to work more closely together to deliver software and Nexus is at the heart of that.

Schwaber and Sutherland spoke in a webinar launching the new version of the Scrum Guide.  A recording of this webinar will be available soon from both the Scrum, Inc and websites. 

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