Posted on January 14, 2016
Back in 2011, Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland, the established authorities on Scrum standards, replaced the term commitment with forecast within the official Scrum Guide.
While this may seem like a minor, irrelevant change, the implications are indeed significant.
by Doug Klugh
Throughout a typical Scrum SDLC, there are a number of opportunities to establish plans for meeting various project milestones. And prior to 2011, there were exactly two meetings that required commitments regarding project deliverables: The Scrum and the Sprint Planning Meeting. The Scrum demanded commitments from individual team members as to what they would complete that day and the Sprint Planning Meeting demanded a commitment from the team as to what they would complete during that (upcoming) sprint.
Facilitating PredictabilityWhile “demanding commitments” may sound harsh to some, the term “commitment” was a significant imperative within the Scrum Guide. But that term was chosen for good reason: To facilitate predictability.
If a Scrum team often fails to meet its sprint commitments, and continuously carries work over from one sprint to the next, you lose the ability to predict when they will finish a particular scope of work. While Waterfall has been infamous for lack of predictability, this is one area that Scrum has greatly improved upon, assuming that sprint commitments are consistently met.