Scrum Guide Revisited

Scrum Guide Revisited

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"Scrum is a lightweight framework that helps people, teams and organizations generate value through adaptive solutions for complex problems." — Ken Schwaber & Jeff Sutherland, The Scrum Guide, 2020

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The Scrum Guide is the source of truth for Scrum; it is the rules of the game. Any organisation wishing to, or claiming to implement Scrum must agree to the rules of Scrum, and every scrum team must follow the rules—all the rules. The Scrum Guide is very clear on this:

"The Scrum framework, as outlined herein, is immutable. While implementing only parts of Scrum is possible, the result is not Scrum."

This clear, unbending request leads many to claim, often quite indignantly, that Scrum cannot be Agile. This intended put-down, or dismissal of Scrum is no put-down at all; it is quite accurate. The Scrum framework as described in the guide is distinctly not agile. It is quite the opposite: unbending, inflexible, immutable. Scrum is a structure, that, when implemented in full, will create the conditions for agility to occur—specifically for agile software development to occur. A flexible, vague, ever-changing structure could never do this. It would instead create confusion and chaos.

We seem to forget that the vast majority of our IT organisations already have 'agile' operating structures, with vague, opaque rules that change on a whim, creating confusion, disengagement and demotivation. We don't need more of this. Instead we need a small, simple set of unchanging rules, empirically proven to create the conditions for innovative, elegant software solutions and warm, engaged relationships in the workplace. This is what Scrum offers us, if we learn how to read the Scrum Guide with open eyes, an open mind, and an open heart—exactly what this workshop offers.

Workshop Structure

For the first hour or so we will collectively read selected passages from the Scrum Guide, and using metaphor and poetic imagery we'll discover new insights and understanding, some of which may be offered by the facilitator, most of which will emerge from the group. In the second part, working in small teams we'll (naturally!) use a Scrum process to create a visual, metaphorical Scrum Guide to complement the written, descriptive Scrum Guide. This releasable product, made by and for Scrum practitioners, will offer its user/reader a new way of thinking about Scrum and organisational change.

Who is it for?

Essentially for practising and aspiring scrum masters, this workshop can also be meaningful to managers, product owners and developers.

Everyone practising or supporting Scrum should have an understanding of the framework above and beyond a literal, "by the book" interpretation so that current and future Scrum implementations lift and inspire, rather than drag down with mundane compliance, as many seem to do today.

Note: if you are completely new to Scrum I advise that you complete one of my CSM workshops before joining this one.

About the Facilitator

Discovering XP in 1998 set Tobias Mayer on a journey of discovery into all things Agile. He has been practicing Scrum since 2003, and in 2005 was among the first twenty-five people, worldwide, certified to teach Scrum by Ken Schwaber, its co-founder. Tobias was one of a handful of long-term Scrum practitioners whose ideas and opinions were sought by Ken Schwaber during the making of the 2020 version of the Scrum Guide.

Skilled as a developer, tester and engineering manager, Tobias also has a background in publishing, theatre arts, and community service work. He skilfully blends this unusual mix of experiences when facilitating these workshops, creating a lively and engaging experience.

Tobias is the author of the highly acclaimed, and somewhat controversial book, The People's Scrum, and has written extensively on leadership, citizenship and corporate transformation. Read more about Tobias here.

Participant Reflections

Thanking Tobias Mayer for yet another enlightening workshop! Tobias is not merely a trainer; he is an engager, a catalyst, and, in his own words, an 'untangler'—someone who expertly unravels the creativity and knowledge that reside within us, all of us embarking on the journey of Scrum discovery and servant leaders.
The workshop presented us with a challenge that was as difficult as it was—in Mayerian fashion—vividly disruptive. We were tasked to rethink Scrum and its guiding manual from a perspective previously unexplored. This highly idealistic quest forced us to deconstruct our preconceptions about the Scrum Guide, setting aside the wealth of information we've absorbed from blogs, courses, practices and the guide itself. Tobias guided us to a deeper comprehension that provoked a meta-critical discourse, an ongoing dialogue that refuses closure and remains perpetually open to new interpretations and understandings of the 'Whys' in the Scrum Guide. Perhaps an accurate representation to the Scrum Guide being descriptive and not prescriptive...
It was in these moments of exploration that Tobias, as a true Maieutics practitioner, might have offered us a glimpse of what it might mean to be a 'true leader'.
Many trainers impart knowledge through direct information and hands-on practice, but I turn to Tobias Mayer when I seek to learn through the engagement of my own critical thinking and through collaboration with the manifestation of the creative minds of my fellow participants." Dr Hector Feliciano, Germany

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Workshop Availability

This is offered as an online workshop, spanning one full day. It is currently available through private booking only. Click the blue button to express interest, and we can start a conversation to see if this workshop will be useful to your organisation.


Standard pricing (discounts available to selected non-profit organisations)
  • Online: £4,000 + VAT
  • Workshop limited to 20 people

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    Image: This is Scrum, by CSM student team, October 2023
    Page created: 01/01/2019 00:00:00
    Last updated: