Agile Scrum, new update 2020

By Ricardo Santiago

25 November, 2020 | 18:11hrs

That Agile methodologies today are present in practically all areas of organizations is something that is not questionable. We have called this Agility, and it has its reflection, as I said, in all areas of the company (… and even of our lives) in one way or another: Business Agility, Agile Sales, Organizational Agility, etc …

I still remember, back in the early 2000s when for one of the software development projects to which I was assigned as project manager, we were searching, reading and researching how we could make the development that had been entrusted to us, adapt more easily and naturally to the changing environment in which Telefónica Móviles de España was at that time. From this paragraph my intention is that you will retain two ideas: a) Agility is born within software development and b) agility is not doing things (whatever, developing software, sales processes, etc.) faster, but more flexibly and adaptively.

To be honest, Scrum was not the framework we chose at that time, because this is another idea that I would like you to remember: Agile Methodologies is not the same as Agile Scrum. I am sure that more than one reader will be surprised by this statement, and if you are one of them, the most graphic explanation is that talking about Agile Methodologies and Agile Scrum, would be the same as talking about Monotheistic Religions and Christianity, respectively. That is, one thing is agile methodologies, and another is the structured Scrum framework, originally designed for software development.

Agility in addition, is somehow inspired by the Lean world, from which it takes some ideas. But that’s another story.

Since that time, agile methodologies have been making their way in all areas of the company exponentially, obviously thanks to their proven effectiveness wherever it is applied. And when I say across the board, I mean everybody. Only about 10 years ago when you were a speaker at an event, if you did not wear a suit and tie, you somehow lost credibility and your message was less suitable. Nowadays it is the opposite, appearing in an auditorium in a suit and tie, subtracts “agility”, and somehow evokes the old inflexible practices. So yes, dressing casually makes you more agile?.

Agile Scrum in particular, or to be more exact Scrum as a concept, appears for the first time in the mid-80s by the hand of Hirotaka Takeuchi and Ikujiro Nonaka, but it is Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland who in the 90s begin to capitalize on Agile Scrum, or at least those who have best known how to capitalize on it, since today they are the visible heads of the movement.

In 2001 the “Manifesto for Agile Software Development was published by 17 authors among which are the aforementioned Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland.

Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland in 2010 published The Scrum Guide, with the aim of improving the understanding of Scrum by people around the world (and field). Since then, 5 updates have been made, the last of these being the one published in November 2020.

The changes between updates do not represent at all a change of philosophy, it continues to maintain its essence, but small adjustments are made, and some not so small, from my point of view, and aligned with the idea that I commented at the beginning about the transversal use of Agile Scrum (erroneously assigned, as I have already explained, to the universal idea of Agile Methodologies) in organizations. This update has removed the specific terminology related to the Software… Remember that Scrum was born within software development, this comes to demonstrate the wide applicability that Agile Scrum currently has in all areas of any organization. Nowadays Agile Scrum is a kind of chameleon that adapts and blends perfectly to whatever medium it is in.

Some other updates we found in this 2020 guide are:

  • Less prescriptive and simpler language.
  • Changes to some definitions, deleted or reorganized content, and new elements added.
  • The concept of a development team within a Scrum team has been eliminated to reduce the potential for dysfunction between the product owner and the development team (“us versus them”) and focus the entire Scrum team on the same goal.
  • A Scrum team now consists of the Product Owner, Developers, and Scrum Master.
  • The terms ‘accountable’ and ‘responsible’ are used more consistently, and ‘roles’ are replaced by ‘accountabilities’.
  • The terms “self-managing” and “self-management” are now used, instead of “self-organizing” and “self-organization” to emphasize autonomy in making decisions about who, how and what they work on.
  • The Scrum Masters are now described as “true leaders who serve the Scrum team and the great organization.”

These are the main changes that you can find in the Scrum Guide 2020, and that you can see in more detail in this link “Scrum Guide Comparison. A side-by-side comparison of The Scrum Guide 2020 & The Scrum Guide 2017“.

Now all that remains is to enjoy this new Scrum Guide!! ? By the way. In GTA we are already working to have aligned with the “Scrum Guide 2020”, all our exams and the official material that we distribute through our partners, for our Scrum Master and Product Owner modules.

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