The limitations of Scrum framing and what you might use instead.

Jason Yip
3 min readJun 19, 2023

“Teams” over “Scrum Teams”

Calling teams “Scrum Teams” implies that effectiveness is defined by Scrum. Spotify shifted to “Squad”, at least partly, as a way to be clearer that teams should not limit themselves to Scrum patterns and practices. Outside of Spotify itself, I’m wary of suggesting “Squad” as an alternative to “Scrum Team”, mainly because of a general tendency to blindly copy Spotify. “Crew” is an alternative from the Cynefin community but it’s fairly niche. Instead, I’d generally suggest keeping it simple with “Team” and emphasize desired team principles instead, for example:

  • Clear missions aligned to a larger strategy;
  • All the capabilities and tools to fulfil the mission autonomously;
  • Clear ways of working amongst themselves and with others outside the team;
  • Fewest number of people to accomplish the previous

See also

“Continuous Delivery” over “Sprints”

“Sprint” combines two distinct concepts into a single timebox (typically 1–4 weeks): when changes are released, when certain planning and review meetings occur.

These days, the best software product development teams drive toward Continuous Delivery, that is releasing on-demand, not on any fixed timebox. It may still be useful to have a regular cadence for planning and review meetings, but this is somewhat decoupled from the frequency of releases.

Even with Continuous Delivery, I believe that it is still useful to do “release planning” to identify larger coherent product improvements over a period of time (e.g., 4–6 weeks). Calling these “releases” is weird with Continuous Delivery but I’m not sure what the better term is yet. At one point, Spotify called these Priorities and also Bets (distinct from larger Company Bets). Basecamp calls this a “6-week cycle”. Arguably, the original purpose of the term “Sprint” was around a larger coherent product improvement (aka the…

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Jason Yip

Senior Manager Product Engineering at Grainger. Extreme Programming, Agile, Lean guy. Ex-Spotify, ex-ThoughtWorks, ex-CruiseControl