When it comes to Scrum guide 2017 vs 2020, a lot of changes have been brought between these two. A new update in the Scrum guide was published on November 18, 2020, by Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber. Have a look at the things that have changed and have not changed between the two Scrum guides right below.

Things That Has Not Changed in Scrum

  • A lightweight framework to resolve tough issues and distribute value.
  • It is still Scrum.
  • It is still a collaboration of cross-functional team members with their stakeholders.

Things That Have Changed in Scrum

  • Changes have been made to certain definitions such as Sprint Backlog, Product Backlog, Definition of Done, Increment, Sprint Goal, empiricism, and Scrum definition.
  • The language has been made simpler and less prescriptive, and also, software-related terminologies have been removed.
  • The concept of a Development Team has shifted completely to Developers in a Scrum Team to decline the possibility of conflicts between the Development Team and the Product Owner.
  • Reorganization of contents like “measuring progress towards goals” and removing certain elements like “the use of Scrum.”
  • A Scrum team now only includes the Scrum Master, Developers, and the Product Owner.
  • The relationships with newly added elements are clarified no matter if it is Sprint Goal, “Commitments” Product Goal, and Definition of Done.
  • The terms “Roles” are used instead of “accountabilities,” and “responsible” and “accountable” are still made into used in the same way.
  • The Developers are responsible for all aspects that are used to create the useful increment. Similarly, the whole Scrum Team is responsible for forming a valuable increment every Sprint.
  • It has been made clear that the team can deliver multiple increments within a Sprint.
  • Sprint planning now includes three topics, among which the very new and the first topic is “Why is this Sprint valuable?”
  • The Scrum guide 2020 has made use of terms like “self-management” or “self-managing” to highlight that the Scrum team focuses on “how, who, and what to work.”
  • It has been clarified how events are purposeful, and it is less prescriptive to conduct them.
  • The Scrum Masters are now known as “true leaders who contribute to the larger enterprise and the Scrum team, and the term “servant-leader” has been removed.
  • An introduction to the “Product Goal” has been made that serves as a target and explains the product’s future state.

Comparison between Scrum Guides 2017 and 2020

From Scrum guide 2017 to Scrum guide 2020, a lot of changes have been adopted to bring efficiency within the organization. Let us compare the differences between Scrum guide 2017 and Scrum guide 2020 right below:

  • The Scrum guide 2017 was a little more prescriptive, whereas 2020 focuses on making the Scrum even less prescriptive by softening or removing complicated language.
  • As compared to the Scrum guide 2017, the 2020 guide presents the concepts of a Product Goal to concentrate on the Scrum team towards an organizational goal. Each Sprint has to be made to fulfill the overall goal of the product development.
  • In the 2017 Scrum guide, the aim was to reduce the strategy of a separate team within the circle of a team, and it has brought distance in the relationship between the Product Owner and the Development Team. But now, by 2020, there is only one Scrum Team that aims at a single product with the involvement of the Product Owner, Scrum Master, and Developers.
    There were only two topics in the Sprint Planning, including “How” and “What,” but now it has an additional topic which is “Why.”
  • When it was referred to Development Teams as self-organizing in 2017, it is now referred to as a self-managing Scrum team in version 2020 that chooses what, how, and who to work on.
  • Initially, Scrum guides include Definitions of Done and Sprint Goal with no identity to these two terms. But in 2020, more clarity has been given to these two terms along with the Product Goal. These three artifacts have commitments to bring transparency among the team members and work together for the progress of each artifact.
  • Unlike the 2017 Scrum guide, the 2020 Scrum guide focuses on removing complex languages and the rest of the inference to IT operations like a requirement, design, systems, testing, and so on. Now it only consists of less than pages as a whole.

How the New Scrum Guide 2020 is Beneficial for Scrum Teams?

Yes, it is true that the new 2020 Scrum guide is quite valuable and beneficial for the Scrum Team as compared to the Scrum guide 2017. Now let us go deeper to find out how?

Less Prescriptive

Previously, the Scrum guide was full of new elements that made it more prescriptive. When it comes to the 2020 version, everything has been brought back to a minimalist framework by shortening the Sprint cancellation section, softening the statement around the retrospective items, and deleting the three daily Scrum queries.

Easy Language

As the language is simpler in the new version, it has made the team understand the terms easily and work towards the success of the project. The new one has just removed redundancy, complex statements, and the remaining inference to the IT work with a limit of below 13 pages.

Product Goal Introduction

The new version Scrum guide is updated with a concept of a Product Goal that has made the whole team focus on the project with a huge objective. It helps the team to make a tangible relationship between the business goals and the work.

Higher Team Focus

The updated version only focuses on one common objective of the company and presents sets of accountabilities for the Developers, Scrum Master, and Product Owner to carry out. This concept has removed the separation in the team and improved the collaboration between the Development Team and the Product Owner.

Addition of More Sprint Planning Questions

The new Scrum guide is added with more questions about Sprint Planning along with “how” and “what.” The third one is “why,” and it has made it easy for the team to understand the vision of the product development. With the answers to these topics, it will become easier for them to bring the product closer to the Product Goal.

Commitments to Artifacts

The Scrum guide 2020 has brought clarity to the artifacts of the Definition of Done and the Sprint Goal along with the Product Goal. They all have their own commitments which are Product Backlog to Product Goal, Sprint Backlog to Sprint Goal, and increment to the definition of done. With these structures, the team can be able to know the main characteristics of each artifact, concentrate on their project progress, and bring more transparency as well.

Replacement of Roles to Accountabilities

The term “accountabilities” is used instead of “roles” in the newest release. This change has been adopted just to convey the fact that it is not just a job but a set of responsibilities essential to apply Scrum in a successful manner. The accountabilities are none other than the Product Owner, Developers, and Scrum Master. The term ‘Development Team’ has changed to Developer in the new one; however, it does not change the framework of Scrum. The difference is only that their roles will be shown as a set of accountabilities. As these roles are removed, it helps a lot to decrease the confusion among them.


The self-organizing team has been referred to as a self-managing team in the new version of the Scrum guide that chooses “who does what,” “how,” and “when.” Also, the Scrum Master should offer complete support to the self-managing team and their commitment to the Scrum objective. The team can feel free to choose any topics for bringing flexibility to the project. This concept encourages the team members to work in their own way and deliver the right and valuable product to the customers.

Bottom Lines

The Scrum framework is an important part of product development in which a lot of modifications have been made right from 2017 to 2020. It used to be prescriptive over the years, but now it is a less prescriptive methodology that offers you the flexibility to evolve, experiment, and learn as well. The new changes in the Scrum guide let the team work together on complicated operations with a common foundation and language. The new guide, Scrum 2020, is shorter, inclusive, and clearer than the previous ones, which is why it is very easy to understand, learn, and adapt. These modifications have been implemented to enable the team to bring wonderful outcomes and success to the organization. The new updates are just to make the Scrum framework limited to what is required and ease the process of discussion and learning. This article is all about the comparison between the Scrum guide 2017 and 2020, and thereby, it will make you know which guide is more convenient and valuable to the product development team. It simply connects you with the guide of interactions and relationships rather than detailed instructions as it is structured by the collective intelligence of the individuals using it.

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