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What does Scrum stand for?

22 Nov 2017

Scrum is a network for developing complex products

This right here would be the simplest definition of Scrum, and one we most often see floating around. Though it’s precisely the misleading simplicity of this definition that enables the not too savvy Scrum enthusiasts to refer to the framework in various “record scratching” ways such as:

Scrum and Agile methodologies

Simply put, a methodology is a set of exact rules which, when followed as suggested, produce the desired result or outcome. Therefore – Scrum is not a methodology since it actually focuses on the adaptability to change, thus making it incompatible with strict rules and restrictions. Before you draw any conclusions, take a look at the next quote:

How to master scrum

There’s not a nicer way to put it: if it “doesn’t work”, the problem might be, well, you (or rather your expectations). As much as we’d like, Scrum doesn’t give answers to all of your questions, nor does it provide a safe path towards success. You have to satisfy some major demands before Scrum starts bringing the results – besides adopting the structure set by Scrum, your entire team must have a deep understanding and appreciation of the agile principles behind this framework.

But even then, Scrum is still difficult to adopt, often requiring a lot of changes, not only in everyday development but also culturally (word agile comes to mind, right?). Then there’s also the fact that Scrum may simply not be a good fit for your project. Sure, it works wonders when developing complex products that last a long time and include different kinds of specialists, but there are probably just as many who have tried and failed to implement it properly.

With that being said, it rather depends on how it’s implemented than in what industry. Even though Scrum is mostly used in the IT, its principles can be applied to virtually anything, as long as one adheres to Scrum’s incremental approach to optimize predictability and control risk. After all, Scrum was built on three pillars: transparency, inspection, adaptation, which are crucial to making it work for you and your team.

Scrum Transparency Inspection Adaptation

Transparency – the consistent use of Scrum’s inspect-and-adapt event encourages team members to communicate about the impediments they face and the transparent backlogs, easily accessible by all. Transparency enables continuous improvement of both the team and the project, not to mention the shared understanding of Scrum concepts.

Inspection – the Scrum Team inspects the artefacts they are creating and their progress towards the goal. This includes showing the product to the product owner and/or stakeholders at the end of the sprint.

Adaptation – when impediments come to the surface as a result of an inspection, the Scrum Team adapt their way of work to remove them. It is the process of continuous improvement over time – perhaps the biggest factor for companies choosing to work through Scrum.

From the three pillars, we can deduce that Scrum is all about the value that is delivered to the end users. In the fields such as software development, it will enable you to adapt to new situations and the environment, even change product requirements during development. This agility and adaptability make it possible to create a product that will have the highest value possible to the end users.

This brings us to the complete definition of Scrum:

Scrum is a framework complex adaptive problems highest value

Oh yeah, one more thing - Scrum is not the same as Agile

If you want to learn more about the basic Scrum terminology and its usage in practice – sign up for our Online Scrum course. Also, try out our backlog scrum tool as it will give you additional "feel" for the framework.