Importance of Principles in the Scrum Framework

June 24, 2016

Scrum is one of the most popular Agile methodologies. It is an adaptive, iterative, fast, flexible, and effective methodology designed to deliver significant value quickly and throughout a project.  The Scrum framework, as defined in the SBOK™ Guide, is structured in such a way that it supports product and service development in all types of industries and in any type of project, irrespective of its complexity.

The Scrum framework consists of three areas: principles, aspects and processes. Scrum principles are the core guidelines for applying the Scrum framework and should mandatorily be used in all Scrum projects.  Scrum processes address the specific activities and flow of a Scrum project. In total there are nineteen processes which are grouped into five phases. Scrum aspects refer to the aspects of the project that must be addressed and managed throughout a Scrum project’s lifecycle.

Scrum principles are the foundation on which the Scrum framework is based. The principles of Scrum can be applied to any type of project or organization, and they must be adhered to in order to ensure appropriate application of Scrum. Keeping the principles intact and using them appropriately instils confidence to the user of the Scrum framework with regard to attaining the objectives of the project. Principles are considered to be the core guidelines for applying the Scrum framework. The six Scrum principles are:

  • Empirical Process Control: In Scrum, decisions are made based on observation and experimentation rather than on detailed upfront planning. Empirical process control relies on the three main ideas of transparency, inspection, and adaptation.
  • Self-organization: Self-organization as an essential principle in Scrum leads to team buy-in and shared ownership; motivation, innovative and creative environment conducive to growth.
  • Collaboration: It refers to the Scrum Core Team working together and interfacing with the stakeholders to create and validate the deliverables of the project to meet the goals outlined in the Project Vision. It is important to note the difference between cooperation and collaboration here. Cooperation occurs when the work product consists of the sum of the work efforts of various people on a team. Collaboration occurs when a team works together to play off each other’s inputs to produce something. The core dimensions of collaborative work are awareness, articulation, and appropriation.
  • Value-based Prioritization: Prioritization can be defined as determination of the order and separation of what must be done now, from what needs to be done later. Scrum uses Value-based Prioritization as one of the core principles that drives the structure and functionality of the entire Scrum framework—it helps projects benefit through adaptability and iterative development of the product or service. More significantly, Scrum aims at delivering a valuable product or service to the customer on an early and continuous basis.
  • Time-boxing: To address the constraint of time, Scrum introduces a concept called ‘Time-boxing’ which proposes fixing a certain amount of time for each process and activity in a Scrum project. This ensures that Scrum Team members do not take up too much or too little work for a particular period of time and do not expend their time and energy on work for which they have little clarity.
  • Iterative Development: The Scrum framework is driven by the goal of delivering maximum business value in a minimum time span. To achieve this practically, Scrum believes in Iterative Development of Deliverables. In most complex projects, the customer may not be able to define very concrete requirements or is not confident of what the end product may look like. The iterative model is more flexible in ensuring that any change requested by the customer can be included as part of the project.

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