It’s time to rediscover Scrum!

5 controversial topics that were removed from Scrum

Scrum then and now, part 1

If you adopted Scrum five years or longer ago you will have had a different source to understand Scrum than exists today. There are many things that once were defined as Scrum, even mentioned in the Scrum Guide, but were removed at some point. Some items were taken out altogether, other items were replaced by something else. It is logical that many still link these topics to Scrum, but Scrum has evolved and as a result it is no longer valid to do this.

Here are 5 controversial items that were either removed or replaced. If these items put you off before you may want to reconsider if Scrum helpful for you.

1. Chicken and pigs

The Scrum Guide had the following story:

“A chicken and a pig are together when the chicken says, “Let’s start a restaurant!” The pig thinks it over and says, “What would we call this restaurant?” The chicken says, “Ham n’ Eggs!” The pig says, “No thanks, you’d only be involved but for me it would be a real commitment!”

The Scrum Team are the pigs, everyone else is a chicken. A chicken can’t tell the pigs how to do their work. The story did not always have the desired effect. It often caused a rift between the Scrum Team and ‘outsiders’.

It was taken out of the 2011 version of the Scrum Guide.

2. Commitment to work planned in the Sprint

As of 2011 the Development Team no longer commits to the work planned in the Sprint. Instead the team creates a forecast.

This is a major change.

A commitment implies that there will be no new insights during the Sprint. A forecast is taking into account empiricism: transparency, inspection, adaptation.

3. Grooming — first added, then removed

The 2010 Scrum Guide has Product Backlog Grooming as Tip only. So it was not part of the Scrum Guide, but it was a practice presented as working well within Scrum. The July 2011 version of the Scrum Guide then has Product Backlog Grooming added to Scrum. The July 2013 version has the word ‘grooming’ replaced by ‘refinement’. The word grooming has negative connotations (child grooming).

4. The three questions during the Daily Scrum

The Scrum Guide used to dictate that every team members answers the following three questions:

  1. What he or she has accomplished since the last meeting;
  2. What he or she is going to do before the next meeting;
  3. What obstacles are in his or her way

As a result the Daily Scrum often was nothing more than a status event. Often the team did not take into account the Sprint Goal and how things were going in that respect. Teams that do this don’t have an effective Daily Scrum. It gave the Daily Scrum a bad name.

This is why in 2013 the three questions were changed to:

  • What did I do yesterday that helped the Development Team meet the Sprint Goal?
  • What will I do today to help the Development Team meet the Sprint Goal?
  • Do I see any impediment that prevents me or the Development Team from meeting the Sprint Goal?

This is a huge step forward. However, when a team self-organizes they could come to the conclusion that they have another way to achieve the best results out of the Daily Scrum. This is why in 2017 the Scrum Guide mentions the three questions as an option to do the Daily Scrum, clarifying that it can be conducted in different ways, as long as the focus is on the Sprint Goal.

5. Scrum Master leads the Daily Scrum

This is what the book “Agile Software Development with Scrum” from Ken Schwaber and Mike Beedle (2002) says:

“The Scrum Master is responsible for successfully conducting the Daily Scrum.”

The book then elaborates on how the Scrum Master sets up the Daily Scrum and how the Scrum Master leads it.

The 2010 Scum Guide changed this:

“The ScrumMaster ensures the Team has the meeting. The Team is responsible for conducting the Daily Scrum.“ — Scrum Guide 2010

Ever since the 2010 version of the Scrum Guide this has stayed that way. The Development Team is responsible for the Daily Scrum as they are a self-organizing team assessing the progress towards the Sprint Goal. The Scrum Master coaches the team to stay within 15 minutes and coaches the organization that the Daily Scrum is intended to be for the Development Team. The Scrum Master actually doesn’t have to attend the Daily Scrum at all.

The following article has 6 pivotal items that have been added to Scrum:

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