The 2020 Scrum Guide – definition of a Scrum Team

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The is a change in The 2020 Scrum Guide that I really like. It’s the one related to a definition of a Scrum Team.

No more hierarchies

In the past a Scrum Team was defined as a team that consists of a Product Owner, a Scrum Master and the Development Team. It often happened that the Development Team perceived PO or SM as externals which resulted in some dysfunctions in the team. It was especially visible in “us and them” behavior between a Product Owner and the Development Team. Similarly, a Scrum Master was often perceived as a wiseass who only dictates the team how to do their job.

In a new version of the Scrum Guide it’s all gone. There is just one Scrum Team focused on the same objective, with three different sets of accountabilities: PO, SM, and Developers. No more hierarchies, unnecessary tensions and political battles. The Scrum Master is now accountable, too, for creating a valuable, usable increment every sprint.

Self-management

Another change related to a Scrum Team is that it’s now self-managing rather than self-organizing. In the past a Scrum Team was deciding who and how to do the work while currently it also chooses what to work on. It may sound subtle, but, in my opinion, it should allow for even better positioning of a Scrum Team in corporate structures and letting them do their job without external micro-management.

Scrum Master

Finally, the definition of the Scrum Master role has also changed. It used to be called a servant-leader for the Scrum Team, but in too many organizations it was seen more as a “servant” rather than a “leader”. Currently, it’s defined as “a true leader who serves the Scrum Team and the larger organization” which, in my opinion, better emphasizes an importance of a Scrum Master role. Not only for a Scrum Team, but most importantly also for a whole organization.

About the author

Piotr Nowinski

Software Engineering Manager, Agile Coach, PMP, PSM, SPS

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