Making Scrum Easier to Master

This section of the portal is for supporting the Disciplined Agile Value Stream Consultant Workshop (DAVSC), currently under development. Discussions on the pages here will take place on the Disciplined Agile LinkedIn group.


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This page is curated by Al Shalloway.

This page is designed for three different roles:

  1. a person making a decision on which flavor of Scrum to pursue for their organization
  2. a Scrum master
  3. teams doing Scrum

Every topic will be of value for each role but they are marked accordingly for those who want to focus on their role.

The latest Scrum Guide says:

Scrum is:

  • Lightweight
  • Simple to understand
  • Difficult to master

I have never liked these statements. For one, it sounds like a gutsy way to justify having a framework that’s hard to use. But just as important, having done Scrum since 2000, I would suggest that Scrum is often easy to master. The question is why is it sometime difficult to master and sometimes easy to master. My experience is that when Scrum is used by a team for where it was originally designed (creating new products – see The New New Product Development Game) it is a good framework and easy to master.

It has often been a good framework for teams to use for other purposes, but usually easier when teams were more experienced. There is a correlation between Scrum being easier to master and:

  1. cross-functional teams are present
  2. the team is building a new product
  3. the individuals are experienced in Flow, Lean and/or Kanban
  4. the individuals involved are closer to early adopters than to laggards using the Crossing the Chasm terminology

Scrum can be difficult to master when these aren’t present. The reasons for this is:

  1. Scrum is not fit for purpose everywhere
  2. Scrum provides little insights on how to transition an organization to meet it’s requirements (it assumes the people using it will figure this out)

This guide is designed to make Scrum easier to master (even if what you are mastering is not Scrum Guide Scrum).

Background and How to Start (optional)

This section is intended for someone considering how to start with Scrum. There are two main options today – Scrum Guide Scrum (Scrum Alliance,, and Disciplined Agile Scrum. These are short posts that will provide you insights on which is better for you.

Practices / Concepts to Introduce to the Team

  • Attend to delays in your system (“Just in time”)
  • Create a focus on finishing . Some people attempt to manage WIP via WIP limits. It is usually easier and more effective to create a focus on finishing. Completion exists at many levels: tasks, stories, features, and MBIs.
    • When done with a task, look to finish another task in the same story.
    • When done with a story, look to finish another story within the same feature.
    • When done with a feature, look to finish a feature within the same MBI. This focus quickens the rate of feedback, both increasing quality and efficiency.
  • Understand the concept of the MBI

Things to Know

How to Learn Scrum

If You’re Already Use Scrum

Making Scrum Easier to Master With Disciplined Agile

Miscellaneous Posts