Scrum Guide

What is the Scrum Guide, which clarifications does the current version contain and which terms are missing?

The Definition of Scrum

Scrum is a process model for project and product management and follows the values and principles set out in the Agile Manifesto. Scrum was defined by the two authors Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland in the Scrum Guide.

In the Scrum Guide the essential concepts like

  • the Scrum Team (consisting of Product Owner, Scrum Master and Development Team),
  • the events (Sprint, Sprint Planning, Daily Scrum, Sprint Review and Sprint Retrospective) and
  • the artifacts (product backlog, sprint backlog and increment)

are described.

It is interesting that the guide itself contains an assessment of Scrum. Scrum is therefore a framework within which various processes and techniques are used. And it is lightweight, easy to understand but difficult to master.

Additions in the current Scrum Guide

The Scrum Guide is maintained independently from companies or providers and is therefore considered brand neutral. It has since been translated into over 30 languages. The last revised version was published in November 2017. Among other things, it contains the following clarifications and additions:

  • Scrum is generally suitable for product development and not only for software development.
  • It is the task of the Scrum Master to implement Scrum in the sense of the Scrum Guide.
  • All meetings work with “maximum” timeboxes, so that they can be finished even before a timebox expires.
  • The Daily Scrum focuses on the sprint goal.
  • The Backlog should contain a measure from the last retrospective.
  • A lack of product understanding is an impediment.

“Missing” terms in the Scrum Guide

The Scrum Guide explicitly names three pillars that are essential for the success of undertakings:

  • transparency,
  • inspection and
  • adaptation.

It was clear to the authors that Scrum cannot be used one-to-one everywhere and at all times. Nevertheless, there are always voices that claim, “What is not in the Scrum Guide is not Scrum! In fact this is a relatively impractical argument; many elements that are used in numerous Scrum projects and developments are not found in the Scrum Guide. The User Story, for example, is not based on the Scrum Guide but on Extreme Programming (XP). The Scrum Guide does not mention the User Story as such, but simply speaks of Backlog Items in the context of the artifacts. There is also no estimation or mapping for the Backlog Items. In addition to this there are other terms “missing”, for example

In case of doubt, it is therefore advisable to take a look at the current version of the guide on the one hand, and on the other hand to consciously adapt – i.e. design the framework – according to sensible and practical criteria.


You can download the Scrum Guide in German here  »

Interested in more insights?

Find more explanations and details