Sidebar: Scrum is a Framework not a Process

Scrum practitioners may notice my prior post about Planning and Pulling made strong recommendations that go beyond Scrum and the Scrum Guide.   It’s okay to add your own processes to Scrum; in fact, that’s what a framework is for — it’s a structure which provides a combination of shared clarity and vocabulary plus freedom to innovate.

When I was writing this post yesterday, I was wondering how to make that point clearly.  Today, I ran across a great article that makes the point for me:  Scrum: It’s a Framework not a Process by Krystal Ahlstrom.  Check it out.

This gives me an opportunity to pull out one of my favorite agile aphorisms….

Don’t be a Scrum But

The authors of the Scrum Guide make it clear:  if you’re going to take away an element of scrum, that’s okay, but don’t call it scrum.

“We do scrum but we don’t do daily 15-minute scrum meetings.”  That’s not scrum.

“We do scrum but we don’t have retrospectives.”  That’s not scrum.

“We do scrum but we don’t have a product owner who prioritizes the backlog.”  That’s not scrum.

So don’t say you’re doing scrum when you’re not.   “Scrum but” is not scrum.

It’s okay to be a Scrum Plus

Adding something to scrum is just fine.  What you’re adding is not scrum either, but you can call what you’re doing “scrum … plus….”

“We do scrum plus technical coordination among architect-minded people representing each scrum team.”

“We do scrum plus we track escalations on a Kanban board.”  (Yes, dev team members often wear more than one hat in a company.  That’s a scrum team member plus….)

“We do scrum plus breakfast together every Friday morning.”

You can add processes to scrum all day long, if they work with the framework.  When you do, may I suggest:

  • Be careful your additional processes are consistent with the spirit of agile.
  • Make clear to others that your additions are not scrum, they’re what your team has decided to add.


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