Back to top

Better Scrum with Essence

One of the most effective tools in recent years has been the use of Scrum Essential Cards to coach teams to improve their Scrum practice in their organization. These cards describe Scrum by using Essence. Essence is the international standard for defining methods and practices. Ivar Jacobson’s company has worked with Dr. Jeff Sutherland, the Co-Creator of Scrum, to define a set of cards that provides a complete definition of Scrum consistent with the Scrum Guide. For instance, the cards have been used to have teams “Build Their Own Scrum” to clarify what parts of their implementation need work and define process improvements that need to be made in each sprint. Jeff Sutherland: “Work with these cards with hundreds of teams shows that the average Scrum team implements 1/3 of the 21 components of Scrum well, 1/3 of the components poorly, and 1/3 of pieces of Scrum not at all. Daily practice with only a third of components working well is like driving a car with wheels missing.”

Exercises with these cards are dramatically revealing about how Scrum should work, how people on the same team may have different ideas about what Scrum is, and what a team needs to do next to improve their process. Jeff Sutherland: “One participant in this exercise using the Scrum cards said he learned more about Scrum in one hour with the Essence cards than he did in the previous six years of being on a Scrum team.”

In particular, Scrum Essentials can result in a better retrospective, improved selection of process improvements for each sprint, a more clarifying Daily Scrum, and a more valuable shippable increment of product at every Sprint Review.

Learning Goals In this talk Dr. Ivar Jacobson will respond to the questions ‘why Essence’ and ‘what is Essence’ but focus on the question ‘How does Essence make Scrum better’. In particular, he will describe some new use cases of critical value to teams:

Understand the Essentials of Scrum
See where you are in your endeavor
Plan your own achievements
Adapt Scrum to your own needs
Live Guidance™
Dispersed teams

Although the focus of the talk is on getting a better Scrum, the talk will naturally extend to getting a better software engineering in general – an objective on the design of Essence by the organizations that created the Essence OMG standard.

Dr. Ivar Jacobson has been identified as a candidate to the title: ”Father of software engineering”. His contributions span over 50 years starting from components and component architecture in 1968 to the essentials of modern software engineering in 2019. In between, he created Use Cases and what became the Unified Process in 1986 and he was the co-creator of UML in 1997. Ivar has authored eleven books and written hundreds of papers on subjects related to software, system and business engineering.