Scrum Guide Side-by-Side Comparison

Johannes Geske
Nov 18 · 3 min read

A side-by-side comparison of The Scrum Guide 2020 and The Scrum Guide 2017.

On November 18, 2020 the co-creators of Scrum, Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland, published an update of the Scrum Guide. With the Scrum Guide 2020, the authors aim to “bring Scrum back to being a minimally sufficient framework by removing or softening prescriptive language”[1].

To help you see and understand these changes, we created a side-by-side comparison of the Scrum Guide 2020 and the Scrum Guide 2017.

This information was compiled by Johannes Geske who is a Professional Scrum Trainer (PST) at Scrum.org and an agile coach based in Duesseldorf, Germany. His journey in Scrum began in 2005. Johannes is a Scrum Trainer at Amazing Outcomes where he teaches and coaches Scrum to help teams and organizations to deliver greater value to their customers.

Summary

Before you dive into a detailed side-by-side comparison, have a look at this summary of what has changed and — equally important — what hasn’t changed.

What hasn’t changed:

In a nutshell, Scrum is still Scrum. Scrum is still a lightweight framework to solve complex problems and deliver value. Scrum is still about a cross-functional team of people collaborating closely with one another and their stakeholders. As a team, they create valuable and useful Increments every Sprint.

What has changed[2]:

  • Less prescriptive, simpler language and removal of software-specific terminology.
  • Changes to some definitions, e.g., Scrum definition, empiricism, Product Backlog, Sprint Goal, Sprint Backlog, Increment, Definition of Done.
  • Removed (e.g., “Scrum Uses”) or reorganized content (e.g., “Measuring Progress toward Goals”).
  • Elements added and their relationships clarified, e.g., the “Commitments” Product Goal (new), Sprint Goal and Definition of Done.
  • The concept of a Development Team within a Scrum Team was removed to reduce the potential for dysfunctions between the Product Owner and the Development Team (“us vs. them”) and focus the entire Scrum Team on the same objective1.
  • A Scrum Team now consists of the Product Owner, Developers, and the Scrum Master. The people doing the work of creating a usable Increment are called Developers.
  • The “entire Scrum Team is accountable for creating a valuable, useful Increment every Sprint.” The Developers are accountable for all aspects of creating the usable Increment.
  • The terms “accountable” and “responsible” are used more consistently, and “roles” is replaced by “accountabilities”.
  • The Scrum Guide now uses the terms “self-managing” and “self-management” to emphasize that Scrum Teams choose “who, how and what to work on” whereas the Scrum Guide 2017 used the terms “self-organizing” and “self-organization” to describe that Development Teams chose “who and how to do work”.
  • The term servant-leader was removed, and Scrum Masters are now described as “true leaders who serve the Scrum Team and the larger organization”.
  • Sprint Planning now has three topics: “Why is this Sprint valuable?”, is the new first topic.
  • The purpose of events is clarified and the description how to conduct them is less prescriptive.
  • A “Product Goal” is introduced, serving as a target and describing a future state of the product.
  • It is clarified that multiple Increments can be delivered within a Sprint, even prior to the end of a Sprint. Sprint Review is not a gate to releasing value.

Side-by-Side Comparison

You can access and read the side-by-side comparison here.

You can access and read the side-by-side comparison here.

License:

This information was compiled by Johannes Geske who is a Professional Scrum Trainer (PST) at Scrum.org and an agile coach based in Duesseldorf, Germany. It is offered under the same license as the Scrum Guide, the Attribution Share-Alike license of Creative Commons, accessible at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/legalcode and in summary form at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/. By utilizing this side-by-side comparison, you acknowledge and agree that you have read and agree to be bound by the terms of the Attribution Share-Alike license of Creative Commons.

Source:

[1] Scrum Guide Revision History (accessed: 18‑Nov‑2020)
[2]
The Scrum Guide 2020 (accessed: 18‑Nov‑2020)

Amazing Outcomes

We help you create amazing outcomes that exceed your goals.

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store