Scrum Guide 2020 Changes | Updates in Scrum Guide 2020

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What’s New in Scrum Guide 2020?

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The guide which binds all the rules, artifacts, events, and roles related to Scrum was updated once more on the date November 18th, 2020, Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber had published a substantial update to the already ever-present Scrum Guide. The last update was made almost three years ago, in the year 2017. The co-creators stated that the 2020 Scrum Guide would help in bringing the Scrum back to its minimal framework nature by softening or removing the prescriptive language. 

If you're a Developer, Scrum Master, Project Manager, or Business Owner, it's extremely vital to be constantly updated on the current rules & regulations of the Scrum Framework. Knowing the changes that have been made will help you to be efficient in your task with the most effective group of people. So, without further ado, let's jump right straight into the changes. 

But, before we do so, it's important to let you know the changes in the latest Scrum Guide 2020 compared to the Scrum Guide 2017 Edition. 

2020 vs 2017 Scrum Guide DifferencesLet's look at some of the significant differences between the 2020 and 2017 Scrum Guide. 

1. Language is simpler

The new 2020 Scrum Guide has been able to eliminate any type of redundancy, complex statements and omitted any IT inference such as designing, testing, requirements, and the like. The change was made so that the guide could be available to a much wider audience. Due to its simplification, the guide is now less than 13 pages. 

2. Being less prescriptive

It should be remembered that over the years, the Scrum Guide had become a lot more prescriptive than before, as multiple new elements were added to it. But, with the latest 2020 edition, the aim is to bring the guide back to its minimalistic origin. For example, the three Daily Scrum Questions were deleted, the language was softened across the Sprint Retrospective items present in the Sprint Backlog, the Sprint Cancellation Section was shortened etc. 

3. Focus is shifted towards the team

The 2020 edition has put a great emphasis on having one common goal, that the whole team should be focused upon. The guide also describes sets of accountabilities for the Scrum Master, Product Owner, and Developers, instead of focusing on individual goals. Implementation of the primary goal was to eliminate any division or separation within the team, thereby boosting cooperation between the Developers and the Product Owners. 

4.  Sprint Planning is now more detailed

With the introduction of Scrum Guide 2020, the creators introduced a third new topic Why is this valuable, The topic explains how Sprint Planning is an event in Scrum that defines what and how the work can be achieved in the Sprint as it is a very essential part of the Agile framework; the new topic now makes it easier for Product Owners and Developers to understand the necessity of Sprint.

5.  Changes in Definition

The new guide also brought some changes to the way certain terms were defined in the Scrum guide 2017, to list them; terms such as Scrum, Product Backlog, Sprint Backlog, Definition of Done, Product Increment and a few more were changed to cope up with the change in the Agile methodologies

The List Of Things That Were Removed From The Scrum Guide 2020

To simplify the 2020 Guide Edition, a couple of things or unnecessary content were removed to make it more lightweight. 

The removed list of elements are as follows:

  • Daily Scrum Meetings for detailed discussions.
  • The usual three typical questions for Daily Scrum.
  • The Definition of Done concerning an organization's viewpoint. 
  • Monitoring methods for the project progress towards the end goal, in the Product Backlog. 
  • The elements of prescription present in the Sprint Review.
  • Outcome details defined in the Sprint Retrospective purpose. 
  • Team's capacity percentage for the Refinement Session. 
  • Certain concepts such as Developers within a Scrum Team were removed and instead the focus of the entire Scrum Team is directed towards a common objective.
  • Terms such as Scrum Uses were removed and content of topics such as Measuring Progress toward Goals is reorganized

The Key Alterations

1.Introduction of a Product Goal

The current updated version of the Scrum Guide introduces a new concept of a Product Goal, which is to direct the focus of the Developers towards a larger, more valuable objective. This denotes that every Sprint will bring the product closer to its designated target.

One of the major challenges that are faced during Product Management is the creation of a tangible relationship between the business strategy and work strategy. There's no denying that Product Goals are often overlooked, which is why this addition will help in bringing some much-needed changes. 

2.More questions during the Sprint Planning Cycle

It should be perceived that major emphasis was also put on the Sprint Planning Cycle section. Apart from the usual questions of how and what, the 2020 Scrum Guide also focuses on the question of why. 

The question why is referred to as the Sprint Goal because Scrum treats every Sprint as an investment of both money and time. Therefore, it's essential to have a vision of such an investment and that's why more questions are being introduced.

3.Artifact commitments

After the Product Goal was added, more clarity was also obtained around the identity of the Definition of the Done and Sprint Goal, thereby treating them as artifacts. The following commitments are made to each of these three artifacts:

  • Increment: Definition of Done
  • Product Backlog: Product Goal
  • Spring Backlog: Spring Goal

With the help of these commitments, the key characteristics of each of the above-mentioned artifacts can be described effortlessly. As a result, more focus and transparency can be identified in the product development process. 

4.Accountability roles

In the new 2020 Scrum Guide, the term role was replaced with accountability. The primary reason for such a change is that - to put enhanced emphasis on the fact that the role should be less viewed as a job description and more as the “minimum set of responsibilities required to implement Scrum in the best possible manner. 

The accountability is divided into three separate groups:

  • Developer
  • Scrum Master
  • Product Owner

Such role removal made the guide simpler. 

5.Concept of a self-managing team instead of a self-organizing team

The earlier editions of the Scrum Guide denoted Developers as self-organizing, which is why they can choose who can perform a particular set of tasks and how to accomplish the same. Now, the concept has been replaced by self-managing teams.

In a self-managing team, the team will decide what they should be working upon, who is going to work upon, and how the task will be completed. References also include the mention of the Scrum Master, who should support the self-managing team as well as nurture a relationship with the Scrum Goal. 

The focus is more on the team members of the project, encouraging and empowering them to perform the task that is necessary to deliver a valuable Definition of Done or Increment.


The Scrum Guide 2020 isn't a prescriptive method anymore because flexibility is highly necessary to experiment, learn and evolve. The Guide goes through the bare minimum rules & regulations that will allow teams to complete complex projects while also providing them with a common foundation or language. 

It should come as no surprise that the 2020 Scrum Guide release was aimed to make it shorter, inclusive, and clearer. The Guide now assists in presenting the actual nature of Scrum, in a form that is easy to adapt & understand. 

Lastly, learning the modifications will help you in achieving amazing success and results for your projects & developers.





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Is a passionate learner and blogger on Agile, Scrum and Scaling areas. She has been following and practicing these areas for several years and now converting those experiences into useful articles for your continuous learning.