Is Scrum all that you need?

Many organization are looking at sub-optimal implementations of Scrum and think the framework is incomplete. I think the most popular example is what the Liberators are calling Zombie Scrum. They created a metaphor to shine the light on some common pitfalls when some components of Scrum are not well implemented. I imagine we can also visualize these as weak quadrants in the Integral Theory.

Some of these sub-optimal implementation of Scrum led to “new” ways of thinking and helped the profession of Software Development to clarify the components needed to be successful. Think of DevOps for instance, it was created to bridge the gap between Operations and Development because Scrum, as experienced by its founder, was not releasing products in production.

Scrum gives you a simple structure to inspect and adapt. Using the quadrants could be a powerful structure for a retrospective. We have learned in the past that it forces you to think from all perspectives.

Let see how the Scrum Framework maps out on the quadrants, just from a framework perspective. Since Scrum itself defines a structure that helps navigate the unknown, you will notice that most parts in the quadrants are pieces of structures placed in their corresponding quadrant. It is like doing an inception of the framework in the Lower Right quadrant.

Component of the framework mapped in the Quadrants


Subjective-Individual (Upper-Left)

In Scrum, everything has a purpose. The purpose of the framework itself is to deliver working product of the maximum value possible. In the graph, I simply zoomed in the different accountabilities of the framework.

Objective-Individual (Upper-Right)

In my example above, I simply collected a few artifacts and metrics that helps the team to navigate the unknown one step at a time. I am simply looking at a framework perspective, which highlights elements of the structure and you can do the same exercise with a finer focus on technology, business or people practices too.

Subjective-Collective (Lower-Left)

Once again, this quadrant simply highlight the high level components needed in the culture so that we can use Empiricism through the Scrum Framework, based on the Scrum guide.

Objective-Collective (Lower-Right)

I think the most notable element in this quadrant is the routine, the heartbeat, that the Scrum Framework is providing to constantly inspect & adapt. With this routine, when you face uncertainty you simply need to trust that you will continue inspect it until it transforms itself into value.

Emerging Idea

What would be the result if we’d be framing this reflection by changing the scale of the subject? For example, how would the quadrant filled if we are looking at the Scrum framework from the team members, from the division, or the organization perspective. How would Scrum support all quadrants for these perspectives? This might reveal some important piece of puzzle to best exploit the Scrum Framework at its full potential in your organization.


This activity made think of how we teach Scrum at and how the content of our classes is well balanced from the different quadrant perspective. It is just up to the trainer to make it transparent and crisp for the students to digest best.

It may also be a good format for a retrospective, inspecting the topic you want to improve from the different perspectives.