The SBOK vs Other Guides

A Guide to the Scrum Body of Knowledge (SBOK™ Guide) provides comprehensive guidelines for the successful implementation of Scrum, one of the most popular Agile product development frameworks.


Consider the following when selecting your Scrum knowledge resources:What does the SBOK™ Guide offer?Some other Scrum books and guides are:
Comprehensive and well-defined The SBOK™ Guide elaborates on the following:

Principles: The six principles of Empirical Process Control, Self-organization, Collaboration, Value-based Prioritization, Time-boxing, and Iterative Development form the foundation of Scrum.
Aspects: The five aspects of Organization, Business Justification, Quality, Change, and Risk should be considered for all Scrum projects.
Processes: Nineteen processes are suggested for delivering a Scrum project from Initiation through Release. Although presented as a guide, the SBOK™ is a comprehensive and well-defined resource with detailed insights into implementing Scrum projects in any environment.
Too rudimentary and consist of personal case studies without comprehensive and proper research;
Provide limited guidance and detail about "how" to implement Scrum projects.
Validity and Scalability The SBOK™ Guide suggests that Scrum can be used effectively with portfolios, programs, and projects of any size or complexity in any industry to create a product, service, or other result. Do not consider how to scale Scrum or how to apply Scrum to portfolios and programs;
Scrum is discussed and applied only to a specific role and/or industry (e.g., software developer in a software company).
Audience type The SBOK™ Guide was developed for organizations and professionals who want to implement Scrum or those already doing so who want to make improvements to their Scrum processes. It is intended for use as a reference and knowledge guide by both experienced Scrum and other product or service development practitioners, as well as by persons with no prior experience or knowledge of Scrum or any other project delivery methodology.

The SBOK™ Guide is especially valuable:
  • to Scrum Core Team members including:
    • Product Owners who want to fully understand the Scrum framework and particularly the customer or stakeholder-related concerns involving business justification, quality, change, and risk aspects associated with Scrum projects;
    • Scrum Masters who want to learn their specific role in overseeing the application of the Scrum framework to Scrum projects;
    • Scrum Team members who want to better understand Scrum processes and the associated tools that may be used to create the project's product or service.
  • as a comprehensive guide for Scrum practitioners working on Scrum projects in any organization or industry;
  • as a reference source for anyone interacting with the Scrum Core Team, including but not limited to the Portfolio Product Owner, Portfolio Scrum Master, Program Product Owner, Program Scrum Master, Scrum Guidance Body, and Stakeholders (i.e., sponsor, customer, and users);
  • as a handbook for any person who has no prior experience or knowledge of Scrum but wants to learn more about the subject.
The contents are organized for easy reference by the three Scrum Core Team roles: Scrum Master, Product Owner, and Scrum Team.
Target only a specific audience (e.g., a Scrum Master) and do not consider the interactions required between different Scrum roles to make Scrum work effectively.
Perspective of the author(s) The SBOK™ Guide draws from the combined knowledge and insight gained from thousands of projects across a variety of organizations and industries. In addition, contributions have been made by experts who have taught Scrum and project delivery courses to more than 400,000 professionals in 150 countries. Its development has truly been a collaborative effort from a large number of experts in a variety of disciplines. Eighteen co-authors and subject matter experts and twenty-eight reviewers contributed to the creation of the SBOK™ Guide.

The SBOK™ Guide was not written by professional authors looking to sell a book, IT was developed by expert Scrum practitioners looking to share knowledge about the profession. Some Scrum guides and books set out empirical rules without proper direction on how to make Scrum work. The SBOK™ Guide, however, shares practical knowledge on how to truly implement Scrum using best practice tools and techniques.

In the past, the Scrum community has relied heavily on trial and error and/or individual coaches or consultants to help implement Scrum. With a multitude of experiences from many Scrum practitioners worldwide in different industries, these best-practices have now been documented into an organized approach in the SBOK™ Guide to benefit any interested practitioner. The objective is to take Scrum implementation out of the hands of paid consultants, and share the knowledge with the community.
Written by one or two individuals constrained to their limited personal experiences and case studies in only one industry.
Practical application or solely theoretical? The SBOK™ Guide provides an organized approach for applying Scrum to real-life project scenarios, including working in distributed teams; managing changes, risk, stakeholders, quality, and business justification; and providing detailed direction on "how" to successfully implement Scrum projects. Discuss only theoretical concepts and ideal situations for implementing Scrum;
Do not address real-life situations in today’s workplace (e.g., large and usually distributed project teams, complex work environments, etc.);
Often cannot be used for implementation of Scrum to realistic project scenarios.
Prescriptive (giving exact rules and direction) versus Nonprescriptive SCRUMstudy is an organization dedicated to the advancement of Agile and Scrum globally, as an approach to rapidly deliver value.

Although the SBOK™ Guide shares best-practices about Scrum, the book is generally nonprescriptive—Scrum practitioners can choose the best practices which are most suited for their organizations from among those suggested.

Below are a few examples of how the SBOK™ Guide provides best practices and guidance but still continues to be nonprescriptive:
  • less than 10% of the Inputs, Tools, and Outputs described in the SBOK™ Guide processes are mandatory—the remaining are optional—so those implementing Scrum can tailor use to their specific needs;
  • the Scrum Guidance Body (SGB) is an optional role, which generally consists of a set of documents and/or a group of experts who are typically involved with defining objectives related to quality, government regulations, security, and other key organizational parameters.
Too prescriptive and do not provide enough agility to the Scrum professionals.
Too nonprescriptive and just discuss personal case studies without providing enough guidance about "how" to really implement Scrum in real-life scenarios.
Free Trial An online copy of the SBOK™ Guide can be downloaded for free. A free introductory Scrum course and certification is also available free here. Review these free resources and decide for yourself which guide is most suitable for your needs. Offer no free review of their book or course materials; Emphasize or offer traditional and/or rudimentary Scrum theories and/or Scrum guides; Do not consider the present realities and possibilities of Scrum in an ever-changing work environment.
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