The Scrum Picture Debate

There's some discussion regarding the way Scrum is depicted in books and articles.

Although the difficult part about agile work should not be about a process image, I have to agree that I too found the pictures lacking somewhat in focus, always tending to convey the notion that stuff just went through the loops once. As air in a trombone.

In my published material and presentations, I have used this image for a number of years to illustrate Scrum. Sure, any talented art designer would make it much prettier in a moment, and I even left it in black and white (so you can fill in your own corporate colors and put it on the wall - I'm really in a sharing mood today!)

But aesthetics aside, it does help people understand and remember the important points of Scrum.
  • There's the cycle of producing useful things ("Do" and "Release") and pausing for a moment to ponder how things are going, and ("Adjust") the work methods and environment to remove impediments for efficient work. I have given these aspects of the cycle equal weight in the image, to show how constant adjustment is an important part of Scrum.
  • There's the daily/frequent synchronization of work, planning and prognoses ("Synchronize")
  • The cycle itself causes a pull of useful things from the backlog, the flow being controlled and planned by the team ("Plan") and prioritized by the product owner ("Prioritize")
Note that I did not create specific images for the Scrum Master or product owner. They are of course at the table, close to the team, participating in all aspects of the Scrum cycle.