Scrum tools and practices for enhancing an incomplete framework

tl; DR: Scrum Tools, Part 1

“The Scrum framework is objectively incomplete, […].” (source.) This half-sentence is probably one of the more frequently misinterpreted statements of the Scrum Guide. On the one hand, it defines the need to augment Scrum with other practices and tools. On the other hand, that’s what The reason why so many attempts to practice Scrum are simply unsuccessful, resulting in versions of the Scrumbutt epic variety. So, let’s look at proven Scrum tools and practices that enhance a purposefully imperfect framework without debunking or rejecting its first principles. Huh.

Please note that the following Scrum Tools and Practices list is not complete. Please feel free to add more suggestions by commenting.

Various areas of applying additional scrum tools and practices

There are at least six areas where enhancing Scrum helps enable business agility. Part one of this three-part series will address stakeholder collaboration and team building:

collaboration with stakeholders

This section covers a lot of the groundwork, given that the Scrum Guide addresses a self-management team building a product. However, the reality is very different, especially in larger organizations. There are helpful scrum tools, concepts and practices, for example:

  • ComplexityScrum: Scrum is not a one-size-fits-all approach to solving any problem. Scrum thrives in solving complex adaptive problems and others fail. Use concepts such as the CineFin Framework or the Stacy Matrix to better understand appropriate decision processes and areas where Scrum can be helpful.
  • organizational design: Think in team topology or consider Conway’s Law when organizational structures hinder your organization’s progress in using Scrum and becoming agile.
  • helpInclusion and alignment with stakeholders to build trust proves critical to the success of a scrum team. Liberating structures have repeatedly demonstrated that they help accomplish this goal. Other ancillary practices are stakeholder retrospectives or the equivalent of Lean Manufacturing’s gemba walk.
  • Change: Not everyone in the organization will be excited to become agile. Usually, several members are vested in maintaining the status quo for personal reasons. Lean Change Management can help to understand why this is so and how to progress anyway.
  • empathy mapping: Try to walk in place of your stakeholders to build a shared understanding of their needs which helps in decision making with empathy mapping.
  • stakeholder mapping: Not all stakeholders are created equal. Identify the people the scrum team needs to keep close.
  • responsibilitiesSelf-management: Self-management does not require that the scrum team prepare its own salaries. Therefore, find out who is responsible and at what level in collaboration with your management and other stakeholders. For example, Management 3.0’s Delegation Poker has proven to be a helpful tool to accomplish this task.

team building

A “team” is not a group of people with a shared intention in the same place at the same time. Team building requires effort and engagement; You don’t start with the scrum team; You build over time. The following Enhancing Scrum tools and practices will support that effort:

  • team developmentNo effort can give “agility” to an organization. A change in mindset is always a process that can take months and even years. The Agile Fluency Model® helps to understand the principle forces at work at the team level. Also, consider Tuckman stages and the shu-ha-ri concept of mastering a craft.
  • Self-selection of scrum teamsSelf-management in Scrum begins with the teams’ own selection. Closely related is the idea of ​​peer recruitment which gives a scrum team the authority to veto new employees. Advanced Scrum teams can also adopt dynamic retiming.
  • work agreement: While the Scrum Guide provides Scrum values ​​at a relatively abstract level, creating concrete work contracts at the team level helps to identify the way the team works within the given constraints. Consider augmenting this approach with a readme for each team member.
  • to teach: Scrum cannot be pushed; It needs to be pulled, and coaching individual team members is an important part of the process. Next to other techniques in the coaching toolbox, 1-on-1s with team members are especially helpful.
  • psychological protection: Creating a safe environment where each team member can voice their opinion without fear of repercussions is critical to self-management. This builds trust and allows the scrum team to oversee and optimize the way they work. In addition to Scrum values, nonviolent communication and core protocols will support the process of creating psychological security.
  • health check up: Get regular health checkups done as part of scrum team. Various tools are available to provide these introspective opportunities. However, you can start by running anonymous surveys among team members. (Don’t forget to ask if team members are happy with their position, would they suggest a good friend opening in your organization, or are they already looking for a new job. You might be surprised about the results.) will be.)
  • education: In a complex environment, there are no experts. Therefore, it is mission-critical to continuously educate the members of the Scrum team. After generous training and conference budgets, there are also less prominent ways to share knowledge, from pair programming to practices communities, book clubs, and brown-bag sessions.
  • slack time: Another idea to improve value creation and team building is to abandon the industrial paradigm-driven idea of ​​pushing “resource utilization” to 100 percent or more. Conversely, reserving 10–20 percent of a team’s time for the unexpected improves fluency and, thus, effectiveness.
  • common goal: In Scrum, Sprint Goals and Product Goals serve as unified objectives out of the box. There are other means of expanding this, for example, with OKRs or objectives and key results.
  • team event: Scrum is good at getting match points. This is why we work as a team in sprints and rally around the sprint goal. Beyond that work-related “team event,” there are many opportunities to come together as a team and accomplish something meaningful, from hackathons to meeting meetup sessions or company-wide barcamps to achieving sprint or product goals. To celebrate such successes.


A purposefully unfinished framework is a blessing and a curse in disguise. On one hand, it defines the need to augment Scrum with other practices and tools. On the other hand, this is why so many attempts to practice Scrum are simply unsuccessful, resulting in versions of the Scrumbutt epic variety. The need to look beyond the Scrum Guide to make Scrum a success also challenges many team members and organizations alike. Scrum Masters need to be comfortable solving personal and organizational problems as their primary objective, Product Owners need to go into product discovery, and Developers need the warmth to talk to customers. The opportunities to make something great are endless; Don’t get caught up in scrum tools analysis paralysis.

Please note that this Scrum Tools and Practice List is not and cannot be complete. Please feel free to add more suggestions by commenting.

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