Starting from scratch, we have two main families of project approach that we can apply to a project: waterfall and adaptive. Where waterfall requires a well-defined scope, it can admit changes on time and cost. On the other hand, adaptive works on a well-defined time and cost and admit changes on the scope.


In other words, the adaptive approach helps us work under an uncertain scope, trying to achieve the best with the time and money we have.

We have explained the triple constraint comparison between waterfall and adaptive; in the image1, it is depicted.

Triple constraint comparison
Image 1 – Triple constraint comparison
Example: think about developing a new E-commerce website. The client starts giving you some requirements (Scope) like directly selling the product on the website and receiving payments. In addition, it says something about the logo and the primary color that he wants. Then the client says: how does it cost? Can it be done with 10K€? (Cost) I need it for six months (time).

You know precisely that you have sixth months and you can spend at a max of 10K€, but what about scope? You need more information. For instance, what kind of payment method does the client need? Only credit card or even PayPal and others? And what about the graphics and the UX design?

With only this information, you can only say about the scope that you will commit to doing your best. This is perfect for an adaptive approach, and Scrum is adaptive.

Now take a look at the definition of the scrum by the Scrum Guide which states that:

Scrum is a lightweight framework that helps people, teams, and organizations generate value through adaptive solutions for complex problems.

Scrum Guide 2020 – Scrum Definition

Here we have the adaptive solution. But what’s a lightweight framework, and how does it work? And what about the complex problem?

Starting from the complexity, take a look at the Stacey complexity model in image2. On the Y-axis, we agree on the scope, and on the X-axis, we have confidence in the technology. In example1, even with a well-known technology for the website, without agreement on scope, we have a complex project.

Stacey Complexity Model
Image 2 – Stacey Complexity Model

About the lightweight framework, Scrum doesn’t want to make a useless constriction; it wants only to give the right direction to the people to stay adaptable to every context and solution.
The scrum guide state that:

Rather than provide people with detailed instructions, the rules of Scrum guide their relationships and interactions.

Scrum Guide 2020 – Scrum Definition

Pay attention that Scrum is a lightweight framework and not a methodology. A methodology is more detailed. Instead, scrum is lightweight. Take a look at this from the Scrum.org resource:

Scrum is simple. It is the opposite of a big collection of interwoven mandatory components. Scrum is not a methodology

Scrum.org – Resource

We will look in the rest of the of this course that scrum is all about this 4 elements:

  • Scrum Values: Commitment, Focus, Openness, Respect, and Courage
  • Scrum Teams: Developers, Product Owner, Scrum Master
  • Scrum Events: The Sprint, Sprint Planning, Daily Scrum, Sprint Review, Sprint Retrospective
  • Scrum Arctifact: Product Backlog, Sprint Backlog, Increment

But for take it simple, we can say that

In a nutshell, Scrum requires a Scrum Master to foster an environment where:
1. A Product Owner orders the work for a complex problem into a Product Backlog.
2. The Scrum Team turns a selection of the work into an Increment of value during a Sprint.
3. The Scrum Team and its stakeholders inspect the results and adjust for the next Sprint.
4. Repeat

Scrum Guide 2020 – Scrum Definition

For the exam you need to remember that:

  • The target of the scrum is to generate value: don’t forget that you need to look at value first;
  • Scrum isn’t a methodology.
  • Scrum is a lightweight framework for asses complex problems: if you don’t have complexity may be better to use other instruments, no?
  • Scrum asses this complexity through adaptive solutions.

For this chapter, you can also see the free video on youtube. The entire video course will be ready on Udemy in January 2022.

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