Have you read the scrum guide lately

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Every conversation around agile and scrum is a conversation about empirical process control. The term empirical is derived from or related to experimentation and observation rather than theory.

You must be thinking what has this got to do with the scrum guide. Well, there is a connection.

When experimenting, a big part of the experimentation is based upon the rules of idea or a entity that is being experimented with. As a example, when experimenting with chemicals in the lab, there are clear rules on when a chemical compound can increase risk or be harmful. However; scientists and researchers have continued to study chemicals from the time they were discovered to now to explore opportunities to leverage the properties of the chemical for general well being or further analysis. The study never stops.

In a similar way, some of authors who wrote some of the world’s bestsellers have continued their research, aspiring to make the results of their research more proven, well supported with success stories and case studies. More often than not, the key set of rules around the study has remained the same.

Looking at the history of scrum, Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber conceived the Scrum process in the early 90’s. They codified Scrum in 1995 in order to present it at the Oopsla conference in Austin, Texas (US) and published the paper “SCRUM Software Development Process”. With the first publication of the Scrum Guide in 2010, and its incremental updates in 2011 and 2013, Jeff and Ken established the globally recognized body of knowledge of Scrum.

The scrum guide has gone through it own share of revisions. For the most part, the core to the revisions has been the need to keep the guide as simple as the scrum framework itself and to adapt specific terminology to make it more in line with how the industry has adapted the framework itself. The present version of the scrum guide is only 16 pages long with focus on the core framework.

I first got introduced to scrum back in 2007 when I spent 2 days with Jeff Sutherland, participating on a CSM class. Since then, I have been of the assumption that scrum has remained the same till very recently when I happened to attend another class while being in middle of projects. I was surprised to unearth some serious gaps in my understanding of scrum and when the current scrum guide says. I spent the next few days going through the guide multiple time to bring make my understanding of scrum current.

Additionally, talking to may coaches and scrum masters, I feel people have not felt the urge to go back and read the guide recently and have been teaching scrum to teams and individuals based on their past understanding and using the old terminology. This has impacted me so much so that one of the first questions I ask candidates in an interview is “when did you last read the scrum guide?”. This helps me assess how current is their understanding of the framework and the kind information I should be ready to digest.

While some might argue that the changes in the guide have been minimal, I believe the current guide is much simpler, gives a good understanding of scrum in least possible number of words and is definitely the best source to assess your understanding of scrum.

I can confidently say that just going through the guide will help you make the mental decision about the quality of your adoption of scrum without the need to go through the long and formal assessments.

So “have you read the scrum guide lately?” If not, I highly recommend you take a quick refresher and ensure you are doing scrum right. Click here to print the latest version.


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