In my previous blog post I highlighted 5 common misconceptions about Scrum that are set straight in the latest release of the Scrum Guide. But what else is new? A quick overview for active Scrum practitioners.

Continuous improvement

5 star review

The importance of continuous improvement is made more explicit by the following additions that are related to the Sprint Retrospective and Sprint Backlog:
“During each Sprint Retrospective, the Scrum Team plans ways to increase product quality by improving work processes or adapting the definition of “Done”, if appropriate and not in conflict with product or organizational standards.”

“To ensure continuous improvement, it [the Sprint Backlog] includes at least one high priority process improvement identified in the previous Retrospective meeting.”

Scrum Team

Product Owner

Some textual changes have been made to the description of the Product Owner role:
“The Product Owner is responsible for maximizing the value of the product resulting from work of the Development Team.”

The change is in the 2nd part of this sentence:

“…resulting from work of the Development Team.”

Where previously was stated:
“…and the work of the Development Team”

The Product Owner maximizes the value of the product by deciding what the Development Team will work on and in what order. The Development Team turns Product Backlog items into a potentially releasable increment. It’s up to the Development Team how they do this. And when this increment is released, value is delivered.

And as a consequence:
“No one can force the Development Team to work from a different set of requirements.”

Development Team

A member of the Development Team was previously referred to as a Developer. This has been removed:
“• Scrum recognizes no titles for Development Team members, regardless of the work being performed by the person; 
• Scrum recognizes no sub-teams in the Development Team, regardless of domains that need to be addressed like testing, architecture, operations, or business analysis;…”

Scrum Events

Sprint Planning

There is no longer stated when the Sprint Goal is crafted during Sprint Planning. It simply states that this is done during Sprint Planning:
“During Sprint Planning the Scrum Team also crafts a Sprint Goal. The Sprint Goal is an objective that will be met within the Sprint through the implementation of the Product Backlog, and it provides guidance to the Development Team on why it is building the Increment.”

Sprint Review

One of the activities during Sprint Review is inspecting the Product Backlog with stakeholders:
“• The Product Owner discusses the Product Backlog as it stands. He or she projects likely target and delivery dates based on progress to date (if needed);…”

Previously was stated:
“…He or she projects likely completion dates based on progress to date (if needed);…”

Scrum Artifacts

Product Backlog

The Product Backlog is an ordered list of everything that is known to be needed in the product”

Previously was stated:
“The Product Backlog is an ordered list of everything that might be needed in the product…”

In other words, a Product Owner should add Product Backlog items to the Product Backlog if the Product Owner really intends to add it to the product increment. You want to prevent that every stakeholder request is put on the Product Backlog without any validation, resulting in an ever growing, unmanageable list that decreases transparency.

One sentence was added to the description of a Product Backlog item:
“Product Backlog items often include test descriptions that will prove its completeness when “Done”.”


The further explain the Increment in Scrum, its definition and description are added with the following:
“An increment is a body of inspectable, done work that supports empiricism at the end of the Sprint. The increment is a step toward a vision or goal.”

Artifact Transparency

Definition of “Done”

In a Scrum Team’s never ending pursuit to improve their ability to release, an improved definition of “Done” has possible consequences in retrospective as well. This has been made explicit:
“As Scrum Teams mature, it is expected that their definitions of “Done” will expand to include more stringent criteria for higher quality. New definitions, as used, may uncover work to be done in previously “Done” increments…”

Closing note

My aim with this blog post and the previous one is not to be complete and exhaustive, but to give a quick overview of the most important changes to active Scrum practitioners. The Scrum Guide itself reflects the definition of Scrum and is the single source of truth. So please refer to the Scrum Guide for future reference.

If you have any feedback or suggestions to further improve the Scrum Guide, you can put your two cents in via Scrum Guide User Voice. Your feedback is the driving force behind the next iteration of the Scrum Guide.


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