I’ve been thinking a lot lately about Scrum patterns. To that end, I’ve drafted a conceptual model, which is depicted in the below image. (You may want to click the image twice to see a bigger view of it)
“Sprint Progress Monitor” is my term for what used to be called the “Sprint Burndown.” In the 2011 Scrum Guide, Sprint Burndowns were no longer required but some way of monitoring sprint progress, via summing the remaining work, was still required. In the Scrum Guide, it is made clear that these practices can be implemented using several techniques, and “techniques may vary” from team to team. So, this is what inspired me to use the term “Scrum Technique Pattern.” A Scrum Technique Pattern(STP for short) implements the intentional gaps left by the Scrum Guide. Teams can inspect and adapt their technique patterns, while still fulfilling the Scrum framework. Said another way, there are intentional “variation points” in Scrum, and the STP’s are different ways of implementing those variation points.
“Optional Scrum Patterns” are patterns that can be used in conjunction with Scrum, but are not specific implementations of Scrum techniques as specified or required in the Scrum Guide. These can be just about anything, but they must follow and/or support Scrum principles in order to be considered as an Optional Scrum Pattern.
I also see the need for the ability to create a “mashup” of different Scrum patterns to create a set of practices and techniques for a particular team or context. For instance, we might start out with a Scrum Starter Kit that includes things like:
- Holding a Release Planning meeting every 2-3 months (OSP)
- 2 Week Sprints (STP)
- Using Story Points to estimate Product Backlog Items(STP)
- Using Ideal Hours to estimate Sprint Backlog plan items(STP)
- Doing a typical burndown chart to sum the remaining work for the sprint(STP)
- Representing Undone Work(OSP)
- Doing the typical “round robin” style of the Daily Scrum(STP)
- Doing a fairly typical “Plus-Delta” retrospective analysis(STP)
Any of the above patterns could be interchanged with other patterns, and the Scrum implementation would still conform to doing correct Scrum. Presumably the change to different patterns would be an attempt to improve a team’s ability to delight their customers and users.
Who writes these patterns? Where do they come from?
In a word, anywhere. I’ve seen dozens of them on the internet and in books. I’ve documented a few original ones myself(though many of mine are adapted from others, and I would make every reasonable attempt to give credit where credit is due). I would not be attempting to create all of these patterns, but to assemble them and label them so Scrum practitioners can easily understand which of them are optional, and which are fulfilling required practices of Scrum. Of course, it will also become helpful to understand where these patterns fit into the grand scheme of Scrum, and I have some ideas along those lines, too.
I will keep iterating on this concept, and I hope to get back to you with more on this topic in the future.
Filed under: Agile, Organizational Change, Release Planning, Scrum, Scrum Adoption, Scrum Strategies, ScrumMaster Tips, Story Points, The Daily Scrum, The Retrospective, The Sprint Review, User Stories