The three pillars of scrum

Most practitioners associate the tenets of the agile manifesto as guiding principles in executing their scrum agendas. In this article, With the premise of Scrum optimized on empirical process control, I wanted to spend some time looking into the three pillars of Scrum theory: transparency, inspection and adaption and provide some annotation on what they really mean, and why these pillars should be the foundations of your practice.


Scrum is a framework, and frameworks work when you create a mutual set of transparent standards that are understood and accepted. From cadence in communications to understanding user acceptance criteria and definition of done advocated for during planning, transparency is key to expectations within the Scrum team and associated stakeholders.


As opposed to the waterfall sequential process of gathering requirements, building, testing, and publishing, Scrum prides itself on a circular iterative process. You build in iterations, inspect, adjust, and build again. Throughout the sprint, it is encouraged that scrum members validate the work they are doing with the product owner, facilitating incremental inspection towards ensuring trajectory to definition of done. Inspection allows for accounting for the unexpected conditions that may either prevent definition of done, or reduce the level of its overall success, however it is also important that the inspection mechanism isn’t overused at the expense of productivity and velocity, ultimately disrupting work. This of course sounds very familiar to engineers who employ test-driven programming, asserting a test suite of use cases accounting for known variances that map with the definition of done.


The fundamental superpower of Scrum is in its ability to encourage pivoting, shifting gears and direction based on feedback. Following on from inspection, adaptation allows you to learn and change what isn’t working, rather than commit to the project based on steadfast requirements gathered at a singular point in time. But not just the idea is open to change, but the process itself. As a framework, Scrum allows you to augment and adjust to your needs, and this pillar gives you the mandate to adjust communications, cadence, sprint length, inspection checkpoints accordingly.

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