Why Does Every Agile Team Need to Follow the Scrum Pillars?

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Why Does Every Agile Team Need to Follow the Scrum Pillars?


Vaishnavi Shah

Published October 5, 2022

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Building a new feature into your product is no easy feat. The amount of detail and the teamwork that goes into making it requires a strategic approach. Reports show that 84% of Agile teams prefer the Scrum framework as the desired approach. And for a good reason. 

Most business owners think that Scrum is only about creating great products, but it is more than that. It is also about creating a great workplace where employees take accountability for their work and feel empowered. The lightweight framework has values and principles that help Agile teams perform at their best. 

In this guide, we will take a closer look at Scrum Pillars and discuss why Agile organizations need to follow them for higher productivity. 

What Are Scrum Pillars, And Why Are They Important? 

According to the Scrum Guide, the Scrum framework take inspiration from lean thinking and Empiricism. These broad schools of thought assert two critical things: 

  • Empiricism talks about how knowledge comes from experience, and one should make decisions based on the present facts. 
  • Lean thinking is about eliminating the waste of precious resources. 

Combining these two, Scrum founders founded the 3 pillars of Scrum. These pillars help organizations follow an iterative approach to control risk and boost productivity for cross-functional teams. Let’s explore each of them in detail. 

  1. Transparency

Transparency is a Scrum pillar that allows everyone to understand what is happening in each Sprint. 

In the Scrum Guide, the importance of transparency is defined as: 

‘The emergent process and work must be visible to those performing the work as well as those receiving the work. With Scrum, important decisions are based on the perceived state of its three formal artifacts. Artifacts with low transparency can lead to decisions that diminish the value and increase risk.’ 

By enabling transparency at each step, you allow team members to remain on the same page and ensure they are informed about the project's progress, making it easier to remove impediments. The flow of information and seamless communication can help the team make faster decisions. 

To put things in perspective, here’s an example showcasing why transparency is crucial in the Scrum process: 

Suppose a member of your development team is facing a problem while creating a feature. And while they may be successfully able to figure out a solution, it may take extra time, delaying the project timeline. This is what happens when things are not transparent. But if they had voiced their concerns during the daily Scrum event, the Scrum Master may help them figure out the solution faster.

Without transparency and communication, your project will stay stalled, and the problem will not get resolved. With proper information exchange, frequent communication, and brainstorming, teams can achieve organizational goals effectively. And this is why the Scrum framework puts extra emphasis on transparency. 

  1. Inspection

Scrum is a great tool to check your team’s efficiency and prepare them for the unexpected. In today’s highly competitive market, it may be possible that you may need to change the design structure or the placement of certain features. 

For gaining a competitive edge in such a complex environment, the Scrum guide states inspection as one of the most crucial Scrum pillars. Here’s what the excerpt says: 

‘The Scrum artifacts and the progress toward agreed goals must be inspected frequently and diligently to detect potentially undesirable variances or problems. To help with inspection, Scrum provides cadence in the form of its five events.’ 

This means that everyone involved in the development process should inspect their goals and work on customer feedback that eventually generates revenue. It is especially critical for budding start-ups to focus on evaluating their work, including the product backlog. Often, founders want to create beautiful designs or flashy product features. But customers may not want these things. Instead, they want features that solve their pain points. In such situations, you may lose valuable resources and even need to start the process again. 

To stop this, Scrum suggests every team inspect their project goals and detect risks during sprints to save valuable resources. 

  1. Adaptation

If you think that you have encountered a problem during the inspection, it is time to make a plan, resolve it, and adjust the process. This is what adaptation is all about. As the most actionable and direct of the 3 pillars of Scrum, adaptation will significantly impact the final product because you are essentially removing all the problems.  

In the Scrum Guide, Adaptation is explained as: 

‘If any aspects of a process deviate outside acceptable limits or if the resulting product is unacceptable, the process being applied or the materials being produced must be adjusted. The adjustment must be made as soon as possible to minimize further deviation.’

Establishing transparency and inspecting uncertainties can help you tweak and improve the process, ensuring continuous growth and improvement. 

What Can You Do to Implement the Scrum Pillars in Your Organization?

Accountability and empowerment are critical themes for Agile teams to succeed. And to make things clear, you need to introduce Scrum roles for better clarity. This allows teams to take responsibility and keep improving themselves.

The three Scrum roles are: 

  1. Product Owner: A product owner is a person who is responsible for the project’s success. They manage and optimize the product backlog to provide clarity to the members. 
  2. Scrum Master: They are responsible for facilitating communication and collaboration across teams and ensuring that everything is on track. They also assign roles and responsibilities to their team members. 
  3. Development team members: It is the team member's job to ensure that things stay smooth and to communicate every detail to their team members. 

Once the roles and responsibilities are known, you can conduct Scrum ceremonies and mitigate uncertainties. 

What’s Your Take?

Nothing in the business world ever remains the same. That’s the beauty and the pain of every business owner. While Scrum is a framework that was originally developed for software development projects, it is now used across industries to generate favorable outcomes. 

As we adjust to new realities, your team must stay up-to-date with the latest Agile methodologies. If you are facing problems defining Scrum roles or understanding the Scrum artifacts, we offer hands-on Scrum and Agile training programs for corporates and individuals. With our training courses, your team will learn about the Scrum framework with practical case studies, group exercises, and simulations. It will help you increase your team's productivity and time-to-market new products. 
Connect with us here to learn more about our instructor-led Agile, SAFe, and Scrum training.

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