Updated: Sep 2, 2021

A lot of teams are unaware of the scrum guide and some of them might not be so aware what key changes are introduced in the latest version. Here is a quick summary on its evolution and the key changes introduced in the 2020 version.



  • Ken and Jeff developed Scrum in the early 1990s.

  • Ken and Jeff wrote the first version of the Scrum Guide in 2010 to help people worldwide understand Scrum.


  • Development Teams do not commit to completing the work planned during a Sprint Planning Meeting

  • Scrum does not mandate a burn-down chart to monitor progress

  • Release Planning is a valuable thing to do when using Scrum, but isn’t required by Scrum itself

  • The Sprint Backlog is the Product Backlog items selected for the Sprint, plus a plan for delivering them

  • The Product Backlog is "ordered," instead of "prioritized," providing flexibility to the Product Owner to optimize value in his or her unique circumstances

  • Added the practice of Product Backlog Grooming

  • Removal of many tips, optional practices and techniques

  • The team of people performing the work of creating an Increment is the Development Team. Regardless of the work performed by individual team members, they are known as Developers.

  • Removed the reference to chickens and pigs.

  • Removed reference to undone work.


  • A section on Artifact Transparency has been added

  • Sprint Planning is now one event.

  • The Product Backlog is refined rather than groomed

  • Scrum prescribes its events to create regularity and to minimize the need for meetings not defined in Scrum

  • The importance of the Daily Scrum as a planning event is reinforced

  • The concept of value is reinforced to use in the Sprint Review


  • A section on Scrum Values introduced: When the values of commitment, courage, focus, openness and respect are embodied and lived by the Scrum Team, the Scrum pillars of transparency, inspection, and adaptation come to life and build trust for everyone. The Scrum Team members learn and explore those values as they work with the Scrum events, roles and artifacts.

  • Successful use of Scrum depends on people becoming more proficient in living these five values. People personally commit to achieving the goals of the Scrum Team. The Scrum Team members have courage to do the right thing and work on tough problems. Everyone focuses on the work of the Sprint and the goals of the Scrum Team. The Scrum Team and its stakeholders agree to be open about all the work and the challenges with performing the work. Scrum Team members respect each other to be capable, independent people.


  • Added section on the Uses of Scrum

  • Changed wording in The Scrum Master section to provide better clarity to the role

  • Added to the section Scrum Master Service to the Product Owner

  • Updated the first paragraph of the Daily Scrum section to read

  • Updated the Daily Scrum section to provide clarity on the goals of the Daily Scrum

  • Added clarity around time-boxes

  • Added to the Sprint Backlog section

  • Added clarity to the Increment section:


  • Even Less Prescriptive

  • One Team, Focused on One Product

  • Introduction of Product Goal

  • A Home for Sprint Goal, Definition of Done, and Product Goal

  • Self-Managing over Self-Organizing

  • Three Sprint Planning Topics

  • Overall Simplification of Language for a Wider Audience



Even Less Prescriptive

Founders made it a minimally sufficient framework by removing or softening prescriptive language:

  • Removed Daily Scrum questions

  • Soften language around PBI attributes

  • Soften language around retro items in Sprint Backlog

  • Shortened Sprint cancellation section, and more.

One Team, Focused on One Product

The goal was to eliminate the concept of a separate team within a team that has led to “proxy” or "us and them” behavior between the PO and Dev Team.

  • There is now just one Scrum Team focused on the same objective, with three different sets of accountabilities: PO, SM, and Developers.

Introduction of Product Goal

The 2020 Scrum Guide introduces the concept of a Product Goal to provide focus for the Scrum Team toward a larger valuable objective.

Each Sprint should bring the product closer to the overall Product Goal.

A Home for Sprint Goal, DoD, and Product Goal

Previous Scrum Guides described Sprint Goal and Definition of Done without really giving them an identity. They were not quite artifacts but were somewhat attached to artifacts. With the addition of Product Goal, the 2020 version provides more clarity around this.

Each of the three artifacts now contain ‘commitments’ to them.

  • For the Product Backlog it is the Product Goal

  • The Sprint Backlog has the Sprint Goal

  • The Increment has the Definition of Done (now without the quotes) .

Self-Managing over Self-Organizing teams

Previous Scrum Guides referred to Development Teams as self-organizing, choosing who and how to do work. With more of a focus on the Scrum Team, the 2020 version emphasizes a self-managing Scrum Team, choosing who, how, and what to work on.

Three Sprint Planning Topics

The goal was to eliminate the concept of a separate team within a In addition to the Sprint Planning topics of “What” and “How”, the 2020 Scrum Guide places emphasis on a third topic, “Why”, referring to the Sprint Goal.

Overall Simplification of Language for a Wider Audience

The 2020 Scrum Guide has placed an emphasis on eliminating redundant and complex statements as well as removing any remaining inference to IT work (e.g. testing, system, design, requirement, etc). The Scrum Guide is now less than 13 pages.


Scrum stands for the the same value system which was based upon when it was originally founded in 2010 and provide you a high-level framework for solving complex problems - irrespective of whether you are an IT organization or a non-IT organization, scrum can provide you immense value providing you are ready to try it.

“Scrum is still Scrum” was a recurring message within Scrum.org. The changes to the Scrum Guide are focused towards improving the guide ot make more clear, what is important about Scrum and what isn’t. Try it, challenge it, critically analyse each word spelled out in the latest guide and yet , let's remind ourselves of the purpose of the Scrum framework. It is great when you have complex problems to solve. In an uncertain, highley complext problem, it's important that you iterate and increment the product - make your approach adaptive so that you enable the three pillars of agility - transparency, inspection and adaptation - use each increment to check if you are moving towards the right direction. The new Scrum Guide brings that home even better than earlier iterations.


Keen to learn the must know agile and scrum strategies, pick up one of the Scrum Master training programs from the list below - They are not just certification training facilitated by theorists.


  • ScrumGuides "The 2020 Scrum GuideTM" available at https://scrumguides.org/scrum-guide.html (Accessed on 08 July 2021)

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