Scrum Maturity Framework

For some time now I’ve been a part of the scrum.org organization, which provides high-quality Scrum education and helps development teams and customers to maximize value by using the Scrum framework. As a part of the Professional Scrum Trainers community, I’ve found many good ideas about how to inspire people to grow Scrum in maturity. On the other hand, I've seen many students who are looking for a good Scrum assessment that would help them understand where are they and what the ultimate goal is in Scrum. Typical questions I hear from the average Scrum practitioner include:

“Are we doing Scrum or not?”

“What else we can do in Scrum to achieve a higher maturity level?”

Keeping this in mind, we have developed a simple framework to measure Scrum maturity that’s based on the current version of the Scrum Guide, with some explanations of what might go wrong if we skip some mandatory or recommended practices to. Further ahead in the article you can find more details on how to use it.


Sustainable results

Many Scrum practitioners feel bad about their Scrum implementation and how the software development process is working in general. Some symptoms recur many times on a regular basis and there is not enough courage to cope with them and take responsibility to fix them. For instance, developers don’t produce high quality code because of a lack of time to prepare better design, requirements not coming in time, requirements being completely misunderstood, etc. As a result we are wasting time reworking the code, the business doesn’t pay attention to project needs, stakeholders don’t provide timely feedback – the list can go on forever. We are looking for a silver bullet to fix these symptoms, and one might even think that the Scrum is a silver bullet. The human element still matters, however, and in order to fix issues we need someone who will take responsibility for them. Scrum won’t help us if we don’t have enough people with the courage to struggle for the right values. How can we achieve sustainable results?


“Scrum But” vs. “Scrum And”

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There are two mindsets of Scrum practitioners. The first category is keen to use “Hmm, we are Scrum, but …” followed by complaints and reasons why they are stuck on some problems and don’t want to go beyond that. Basically, they find the limits of Scrum and stop there. Another category is telling us “Yes, we are Scrum, and …” followed by their recent achievements and small wins. This type of mindset has much more potential to achieve sustainable results by eliminating organizational impediments which are limiting the next steps in Scrum adoption. Any small win is like an unlocked achievement that is positively perceived and repeated by the entire organization. “Scrum And” is a path to sustainable Scrum adoption.

One of my colleagues in the PST community shared a brilliant explanation of when to consider we are Scrum. We are Scrum when we use it to continuously adjust our processes. We are Scrum when we are adopting empiricism until Scrum itself is reaching the ideal state you can find in the Scrum Guide. We are Scrum when transparency in the organization is increasing due to our continuous inspection and adaptation of the most important artifacts and metrics. This is true Scrum, which can be easily discontinued once we stop on the midway and stop inspecting, adapting, improving, and growing Scrum, allowing traditional command and control to fuse with empiricism. This is not Scrum.


Grow Your Scrum

Scrum is very scalable in nature. The vast majority of people think that a Scrum Guide is a set of rules and practices that might be used as you go instead of using it as a guide to optimize product value, maximize transparency, detect undesired variances, and optimize predictability. Every time I refer to the Scrum Guide I can find something else I could be doing. For instance, if we are currently using Scrum only for the development phase and have already gained some benefits, we can go further and include testing. By completing testing and development in one Sprint we can gain even more benefits.

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Scrum Maturity Framework

Feel free to download the Scrum Maturity Assessment to see what else you can do. This assessment can help any Scrum practitioner grow the role of Scrum in his team. A few facts about the assessment:
  • It is 100% compatible with the latest version of the Scrum Guide
  • It will test the core Scrum Values: Focus, Courage, Openness, Commitment, Respect
  • It will help you to assess some risks associated with partially-adopted Scrum techniques

The goal of the assessment is to help Scrum Masters and Scrum Teams grow Scrum and reach the highest level of Scrum Maturity. Here you can find a more detailed description and the latest version of the assessment:

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How To Use It:

Download the file
Open the file on the Roles Tab and assess the level of the Scrum Roles:

a) Product Owner
b) Development Team
c) Scrum Master

1. Discover the basic rules regarding the Scrum roles - Rules. Every rule has five recommended practices – Practices:

  • If the practice is not used - select FALSE
  • If the practice is not used regularly, or you do not understand it - select NOT SURE
  • If the practice is used regularly - select TRUE
  • Look at the Summary tab total score
2. Open the file on the Events Tab and assess the level of the Scrum Events:

а) Sprint
b) Sprint Planning
c) Daily Scrum
d) Sprint Review
e) Sprint Retrospective

  • To discover the basic rules regarding the Scrum events - Rules. Every rule has five recommended practices - Practices
  • If the practice is not used - select FALSE
  • If the practice is not used regularly, or you do not understand it - select NOT SURE
  • If the practice is used regularly - select TRUE
  • Look at the Summary tab total score

3. Open the file on the Artifacts Tab and assess the level of the Scrum Artifacts:

а) Product Backlog
b) Sprint Backlog
c) Increment

  • Discover the basic rules regarding the Scrum artifacts - Rules. Every rule has five recommended practices - Practices
  • If the practice is not used - select FALSE;
  • If the practice is not used regularly, or you do not understand it - select NOT SURE
  • If the practice is used regularly - select TRUE
  • Look at the Summary tab total score

4. The score is growing only when you are confident that the practice is working by setting TRUE.
5. This form is your personal Scrum Guide, so don't be afraid to put a fair assessment.
6. Update the results in the table named Scrum Progress on the Summary tab.
7. Begin to work on the implementation of practices or required behaviors and update the form by setting TRUE on it as soon as something starts to work on a regular basis.
8. Look at the Risks When Not TRUE column when you don't understand the value of the practice. The main objective of the practices is to reduce project risks in order to achieve maximum results. All risks are taken from real-world experience.
9. At least once every 3 months update the Scrum Progress table and observe the growth of the Scrum maturity level.
10. Feel free to use it as proof of improvement for external stakeholders.

Good luck and Scrum On!

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