Understanding The Scrum Guide: What is Developing?

This is the 2nd part of the “Understanding the Scrum Guide” series. Here you can read the 1st part. The purpose of the series is to discuss what people might be thinking when they read the Scrum Guide for the first time. For the discussion, I will refer much to the English dictionary as I think it has the most neutral definition of any vocabulary. Neutral means it might be not influenced by any management text-books and consultants.

The quote picked from the Scrum Guide is still the same as the 1st part, but this time it is more focusing on “developing“.

Scrum is a framework for developing, delivering, and sustaining complex products

The Scrum Guide

What is Developing?

The title should be something like “what is developing a complex product?”. I will talk about the meaning of complex products later in the upcoming post. So, let’s focus on the word developing only for now.

“Developing” according to the dictionary is:

– growing and becoming more mature, advanced, or elaborate.

There are many words that have similar meanings with “develop” as a verb, for example: grow, evolve, expand, enlarge, spread, progress, prosper, succeed, thrive, and flourish. There are also synonyms that I found interesting such as initiate, instigate, originate, invent, establish, and generate. So, the word “develop” without adding any prefix and suffix could be mean:

Why I chose the word “grow” over other synonyms? The reason is that it has something to do with nature and cultivation. Growing naturally is the culture you want to embrace when it comes to adopting agility principles for your organization. My apologies for talking about culture as it is too far for this moment.

The Scrum Guide uses the word “developing” instead of “develop” as quoted above. So, we can replace the world developing with growing. Am I seriously talking about this word-formation? Yes, it really matters. When you are using the word develop in terms of growing, then by the dictionary, you don’t know exactly when you will stop the development.

Organization development has no end. It is the people or nature who manage to stop the development at a point in time. At that point, you don’t develop anymore. Here the people or nature are the constraints.

Ivan Darmawan

How Come a Development Has No End?

The development has an end or has no end is a matter of perspective. It is also depending on your background and experience of doing jobs. Your position in your organization also influences your perception of development. Let’s put a phone evolution analogy to get more understanding of the development term.

Never Ending Development

The development has an end if your development scope is about developing a single phone. But from the market and organization perspective, the phone development will not end. Another analogy, you can also limit your scope just to build an office sky scrapper as a contractor. But, the development will take another level of understanding when you are a mayor of a city. An office building can be replaced anytime but not a city.

The Scope of Development (Growing) with Scrum

The Scrum Guide does not explicitly say about when the development must end. For organizations that their business depends on continuous innovation, indeed the development will not end. In fact, they will be transforming continuously into a new way of development, growing, inspection, and adaptation to face the ever-changing market.

It is okay to develop a product based on time, budget, and scope as success criteria, but then what’s next? The next one will also need time, budget, and scope, and then what’s next? Development with Scrum is beyond time, budget, and scope constraints.

The Scrum Guide actually says about the success criteria of a product development which is delivering products of the highest possible value.

Scrum (n): A framework within which people can address complex adaptive problems, while productively and creatively delivering products of the highest possible value.

The Scrum Guide

Keep in mind to ask this question when you are talking about the scope of development with Scrum: “What kind of value we want to achieve in this particular development?” The following image describes the quick view of value.

Development with Scrum Point of View

Value is a big topic, so stay tuned for my upcoming posts.

If you find a client-vendor contract relationship then the scope of development is always belongs to the client or user. The vendor might be only developing part of a scope. For a software development, it is recommended to have a vendor as a partner rather than just a contractor that can be replaced.

Let’s close this post with a Dilbert:

How would you handle the ever-changing business?


Understanding The Scrum Guide: What is Framework?

This is the first post of “Understanding The Scrum Guide” series. The purpose of the series is to discuss what people might be thinking when they read the Scrum Guide for the first time. Of course, it is impossible to read people’s minds, so all I can do is just guessing and hope I could get feedback from you to guess better. Guess better? Am I joking? You might be laughing if you have been familiar with the #NoEstimates movement 🙂

Every time in the series I will quote sentences from the Scrum Guide in an orderly manner from the top to the bottom of the Scrum Guide. In this very first of the series, all the sources of the quotes are coming from the “Purpose of the Scrum Guide” section of the Scrum Guide.

Let’s pick the first quote:

Scrum is a framework for developing, delivering, and sustaining complex products

The Scrum Guide

For now, I just want to talk about the definition of the framework. We will talk about developing, delivering, sustaining, complex, and product on the next posts, so you won’t take much time to read this post.

What is Framework?

Many people thought Scrum is a process, a standard, and/or a methodology. Is that true? Let’s find out what Google says about the definition of the word framework. Google uses the Oxford Dictionary as the source of its English dictionary. This is what I found:

Can you find the word “process” as one of the synonyms of the word framework? It is so clear that Scrum is not a process. Again let’s see what the dictionary says about the definition of process:

Scrum is not a process because if you read thoroughly the definition of the process above, Scrum won’t tell you about a series of definitive actions, steps, procedures, operations, or activities that must be taken. Scrum is also assuming that your business will not end, so there is no particular end in Scrum.

Please, don’t get me wrong. Scrum is also talking about processes but in different contexts. The Scrum Guide has mentioned the word process 20 times which I will talk about them later. Okay, I give you a bit of hint about Scrum and process relationship which you can also find it in the Scrum Guide:

it is a framework within which you can employ various processes and techniques

The Scrum Guide

In short, Scrum is the container of your organization’s processes and techniques. Further, Scrum is also the container of your organization culture and habit.

How about whether Scrum is a methodology or not, let’s refer to the definition:

Is Scrum a system of methods used in a particular of study or activity? Let’s take a look on the definition of method first:

So interesting that process is also the synonym of method. If Scrum is not a process, then Scrum is also not a methodology. Again, don’t get me wrong, the Scrum Guide does mentioning some of those words which I will address them later. But keep in mind this formula (ouch!) to understand the relationship between Scrum and methodology:

Scrum is a framework to help you continuously improving your [fill with any of method’s synonym]

Ivan Darmawan

for example, Scrum is a framework to help you continuously improving your process, procedure, technique, strategy, plan, tactic, recipe, rule (including Scrum?), system, etc.

That’s all for now. Let’s close this post with following Dilbert Cartoon.

Improving the processes