We developed Scrum in the early 1990s. We wrote the first version of the Scrum Guide in 2010 to help people worldwide understand Scrum. We have evolved the Guide since then through small, functional updates. Together, we stand behind it.
The Scrum Guide contains the definition of Scrum. Each element of the framework serves a specific purpose that is essential to the overall value and results realized with Scrum. Changing the core design or ideas of Scrum, leaving out elements, or not following the rules of Scrum, covers up problems and limits the benefits of Scrum, potentially even rendering it useless.
We follow the growing use of Scrum within an ever-growing complex world. We are humbled to see Scrum being adopted in many domains holding essentially complex work, beyond software product development where Scrum has its roots. As Scrum’s use spreads, developers, researchers, analysts, scientists, and other specialists do the work. We use the word “developers” in Scrum not to exclude, but to simplify. If you get value from Scrum, consider yourself included.
As Scrum is being used, patterns, processes, and insights that fit the Scrum framework as described in this document, may be found, applied and devised. Their description is beyond the purpose of the Scrum Guide because they are context sensitive and differ widely between Scrum uses. Such tactics for using within the Scrum framework vary widely and are described elsewhere.
This publication is offered for license under the Attribution Share-Alike license of Creative Commons, accessible at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/legalcode and also described in summary form at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/. By utilizing this Scrum Guide, 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.
In a nutshell, Scrum requires a Scrum Master to foster an environment where:
Scrum is simple. Try it as is and determine if its philosophy, theory, and structure help to achieve goals and create value. The Scrum framework is purposefully incomplete, only defining the parts required to implement Scrum theory. Scrum is built upon by the collective intelligence of the people using it. Rather than provide people with detailed instructions, the rules of Scrum guide their relationships and interactions.
Various processes, techniques and methods can be employed within the framework. Scrum wraps around existing practices or renders them unnecessary. Scrum makes visible the relative efficacy of current management, environment, and work techniques, so that improvements can be made.
Scrum employs an iterative, incremental approach to optimize predictability and to control risk. Scrum engages groups of people who collectively have all the skills and expertise to do the work and share or acquire such skills as needed.Scrum combines four formal events for inspection and adaptation within a containing event, the Sprint. These events work because they implement the empirical Scrum pillars of transparency, inspection, and adaptation.
Transparency enables inspection. Inspection without transparency is misleading and wasteful.
Inspection enables adaptation. Inspection without adaptation is considered pointless. Scrum events are designed to provoke change.
Adaptation becomes more difficult when the people involved are not empowered or self-managing. A Scrum Team is expected to adapt the moment it learns anything new through inspection.
Commitment, Focus, Openness, Respect, and Courage
The Scrum Team commits to achieving its goals and to supporting each other. Their primary focus is on the work of the Sprint to make the best possible progress toward these goals. The Scrum Team and its stakeholders are open about the work and the challenges. Scrum Team members respect each other to be capable, independent people, and are respected as such by the people with whom they work. The Scrum Team members have the courage to do the right thing, to work on tough problems.
These values give direction to the Scrum Team with regard to their work, actions, and behavior. The decisions that are made, the steps taken, and the way Scrum is used should reinforce these values, not diminish or undermine them. The Scrum Team members learn and explore the values as they work with the Scrum events and artifacts. When these values are embodied by the Scrum Team and the people they work with, the empirical Scrum pillars of transparency, inspection, and adaptation come to life building trust.
Scrum Teams are cross-functional, meaning the members have all the skills necessary to create value each Sprint. They are also self-managing, meaning they internally decide who does what, when, and how.
The Scrum Team is small enough to remain nimble and large enough to complete significant work within a Sprint, typically 10 or fewer people. In general, we have found that smaller teams communicate better and are more productive. If Scrum Teams become too large, they should consider reorganizing into multiple cohesive Scrum Teams, each focused on the same product. Therefore, they should share the same Product Goal, Product Backlog, and Product Owner.
The Scrum Team is responsible for all product-related activities from stakeholder collaboration, verification, maintenance, operation, experimentation, research and development, and anything else that might be required. They are structured and empowered by the organization to manage their own work. Working in Sprints at a sustainable pace improves the Scrum Team’s focus and consistency.
The entire Scrum Team is accountable for creating a valuable, useful Increment every Sprint. Scrum defines three specific accountabilities within the Scrum Team: the Developers, the Product Owner, and the Scrum Master.
The specific skills needed by the Developers are often broad and will vary with the domain of work. However, the Developers are always accountable for:
The Product Owner is also accountable for effective Product Backlog management, which includes:
For Product Owners to succeed, the entire organization must respect their decisions. These decisions are visible in the content and ordering of the Product Backlog, and through the inspectable Increment at the Sprint Review.
The Product Owner is one person, not a committee. The Product Owner may represent the needs of many stakeholders in the Product Backlog. Those wanting to change the Product Backlog can do so by trying to convince the Product Owner.
The Scrum Master is accountable for the Scrum Team's effectiveness. They do this by enabling the Scrum Team to improve its practices, within the Scrum framework.
Scrum Masters are true leaders who serve the Scrum Team and the larger organization.
The Scrum Master serves the Scrum Team in several ways, including:
They are fixed length events of one month or less to create consistency. A new Sprint starts immediately after the conclusion of the previous Sprint.
All the work necessary to achieve the Product Goal, including Sprint Planning, Daily Scrums, Sprint Review, and Sprint Retrospective, happen within Sprints.
During the Sprint:
Various practices exist to forecast progress, like burn-downs, burn-ups, or cumulative flows. While proven useful, these do not replace the importance of empiricism. In complex environments, what will happen is unknown. Only what has already happened may be used for forward-looking decision making.
A Sprint could be cancelled if the Sprint Goal becomes obsolete. Only the Product Owner has the authority to cancel the Sprint.
The Product Owner ensures that attendees are prepared to discuss the most important Product Backlog items and how they map to the Product Goal. The Scrum Team may also invite other people to attend Sprint Planning to provide advice.
Sprint Planning addresses the following topics:
Selecting how much can be completed within a Sprint may be challenging. However, the more the Developers know about their past performance, their upcoming capacity, and their Definition of Done, the more confident they will be in their Sprint forecasts.
The Sprint Goal, the Product Backlog items selected for the Sprint, plus the plan for delivering them are together referred to as the Sprint Backlog.
The Daily Scrum is a 15-minute event for the Developers of the Scrum Team. To reduce complexity, it is held at the same time and place every working day of the Sprint. If the Product Owner or Scrum Master are actively working on items in the Sprint Backlog, they participate as Developers.
The Developers can select whatever structure and techniques they want, as long as their Daily Scrum focuses on progress toward the Sprint Goal and produces an actionable plan for the next day of work. This creates focus and improves self-management.
Daily Scrums improve communications, identify impediments, promote quick decision-making, and consequently eliminate the need for other meetings.
The Daily Scrum is not the only time Developers are allowed to adjust their plan. They often meet throughout the day for more detailed discussions about adapting or re-planning the rest of the Sprint's work.
During the event, the Scrum Team and stakeholders review what was accomplished in the Sprint and what has changed in their environment. Based on this information, attendees collaborate on what to do next. The Product Backlog may also be adjusted to meet new opportunities. The Sprint Review is a working session and the Scrum Team should avoid limiting it to a presentation.
The Sprint Review is the second to last event of the Sprint and is timeboxed to a maximum of four hours for a one-month Sprint. For shorter Sprints, the event is usually shorter.
The Scrum Team inspects how the last Sprint went with regards to individuals, interactions, processes, tools, and their Definition of Done. Inspected elements often vary with the domain of work. Assumptions that led them astray are identified and their origins explored. The Scrum Team discusses what went well during the Sprint, what problems it encountered, and how those problems were (or were not) solved.
The Scrum Team identifies the most helpful changes to improve its effectiveness. The most impactful improvements are addressed as soon as possible. They may even be added to the Sprint Backlog for the next Sprint.
The Sprint Retrospective concludes the Sprint. It is timeboxed to a maximum of three hours for a one-month Sprint. For shorter Sprints, the event is usually shorter.
Each artifact contains a commitment to ensure it provides information that enhances transparency and focus against which progress can be measured:
Product Backlog items that can be Done by the Scrum Team within one Sprint are deemed ready for selection in a Sprint Planning event. They usually acquire this degree of transparency after refining activities. Product Backlog refinement is the act of breaking down and further defining Product Backlog items into smaller more precise items. This is an ongoing activity to add details, such as a description, order, and size. Attributes often vary with the domain of work.
The Developers who will be doing the work are responsible for the sizing. The Product Owner may influence the Developers by helping them understand and select trade-offs.
A product is a vehicle to deliver value. It has a clear boundary, known stakeholders, well-defined users or customers. A product could be a service, a physical product, or something more abstract.The Product Goal is the long-term objective for the Scrum Team. They must fulfill (or abandon) one objective before taking on the next.
The Sprint Backlog is a plan by and for the Developers. It is a highly visible, real-time picture of the work that the Developers plan to accomplish during the Sprint in order to achieve the Sprint Goal. Consequently, the Sprint Backlog is updated throughout the Sprint as more is learned. It should have enough detail that they can inspect their progress in the Daily Scrum.
The Sprint Goal is created during the Sprint Planning event and then added to the Sprint Backlog. As the Developers work during the Sprint, they keep the Sprint Goal in mind. If the work turns out to be different than they expected, they collaborate with the Product Owner to negotiate the scope of the Sprint Backlog within the Sprint without affecting the Sprint Goal.
Multiple Increments may be created within a Sprint. The sum of the Increments is presented at the Sprint Review thus supporting empiricism. However, an Increment may be delivered to stakeholders prior to the end of the Sprint. The Sprint Review should never be considered a gate to releasing value.
Work cannot be considered part of an Increment unless it meets the Definition of Done.
The moment a Product Backlog item meets the Definition of Done, an Increment is born.
The Definition of Done creates transparency by providing everyone a shared understanding of what work was completed as part of the Increment. If a Product Backlog item does not meet the Definition of Done, it cannot be released or even presented at the Sprint Review. Instead, it returns to the Product Backlog for future consideration.
If the Definition of Done for an increment is part of the standards of the organization, all Scrum Teams must follow it as a minimum. If it is not an organizational standard, the Scrum Team must create a Definition of Done appropriate for the product.
The Developers are required to conform to the Definition of Done. If there are multiple Scrum Teams working together on a product, they must mutually define and comply with the same Definition of Done.
The Scrum Guide documents Scrum as developed, evolved, and sustained for 30-plus years by Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber. Other sources provide patterns, processes, and insights that complement the Scrum framework. These may increase productivity, value, creativity, and satisfaction with the results.
The complete history of Scrum is described elsewhere. To honor the first places where it was tried and proven, we recognize Individual Inc., Newspage, Fidelity Investments, and IDX (now GE Medical).