Increment in Scrum: Key to Agile Development

Scrum is a popular agile framework for developing complex products and delivering customer value. One of the core concepts of Scrum is the Increment, which is the sum of all the product backlog items completed in a sprint and the value of the increments of all previous sprints.

The Increment is the key to agile development in Scrum, as it enables the following benefits:

  • Fast and frequent customer feedback helps validate and adapt to assumptions, requirements, needs, and expectations.
  • Reduced risk of delivering a product that does not meet the customer’s needs or expectations or is not feasible or viable in the market.
  • Increased transparency and visibility of the product development process, as the stakeholders can see the progress and the quality of the product at any time.
  • Fostered collaboration and communication among the Scrum team and the stakeholders as they worked together to deliver a potentially releasable product increment every sprint.
  • Enhanced motivation and satisfaction of the Scrum team, as they can see the value and impact of their work and can celebrate their achievements after each sprint.

How to Implement Incremental Development in Scrum?

To implement incremental development in Scrum, we need to:

  • Define the product vision and backlog, which are the sources of the product increments. The product owner is responsible for creating and maintaining them and ensuring that they are clear, concise, and aligned with the stakeholder’s needs and expectations.
  • Plan the sprint, which is the time-boxed period of one month or less, during which the Scrum team works to deliver a product increment. Sprint planning is a collaborative event where the product owner presents the most valuable and essential product backlog items for the next sprint. The development team selects the things they can commit to completing within the sprint. The result of sprint planning is the sprint goal and the sprint backlog.
  • Execute the sprint, which is the core of the incremental development in Scrum. The execution of the sprint consists of the following sub-activities:
    • Daily Scrum: A 15-minute daily meeting where the development team members synchronize their work and plan their activities for the next 24 hours.
    • Sprint Review: A time-boxed event at the end of the sprint, where the Scrum team and the related members need to inspect the product increment and the backlog as well as discuss the feedback and the next steps. The product owner presents the product increment and explains what product backlog items have been done and what still needs to be done in the sprint. Other members provide their feedback and suggestions on the product increment and the backlog. The product owner updates the product backlog based on their feedback and the customer’s needs.
    • Sprint Retrospective: Another time-boxed event after the sprint review, where the Scrum team inspects their own performance and process, and identifies the improvements and the action items for the next sprint.
Scrum Framework

How to Measure the Success of an Increment in Scrum?

To measure the success of an increment in Scrum, the Scrum team and the stakeholders need to use both qualitative and quantitative metrics, such as:

  • Customer satisfaction: The degree to which the product increment meets or exceeds the customer’s needs and expectations. This can be measured by using surveys, interviews, feedback forms, reviews, ratings, etc.
  • Business value: The number of benefits and outcomes that the product increment delivers to the business and the stakeholders. This can be measured by using indicators such as revenue, profit, market share, customer retention, brand awareness, etc.
  • Quality: The degree to which the product increment meets or exceeds the quality standards and criteria. Related metrics include defects, errors, bugs, usability, reliability, performance, security, etc.
  • Productivity: The amount of work and output the Scrum team produces in a given time, which are usually measured by velocity, throughput, cycle time, or lead time.

Example of an Increment in Scrum

An example of an increment in Scrum is a new feature or functionality added to a software product in a sprint. For instance,

  • Users of a social media app can create and join groups based on their interests and preferences.
  • Customers of an e-commerce website have the option to compare products based on their attributes and prices.
  • Players of a gaming platform can chat and interact with each other in real time.

Definition of Done In Scrum

The definition of Done in Scrum is a shared understanding of what it means for a product backlog item or a product increment to be completed. It is a set of criteria that the development team and the product owner agree on, and that the development team must meet before delivering a product backlog item or a product increment.

The definition of done helps to ensure the product’s quality and avoid technical debt or rework. It also helps to align the expectations of the development team and the product owner, and to facilitate the inspection and the adaptation of the product.

The definition of done may vary depending on the product, the project, and the organization, but it should be clear, consistent, and transparent for all the stakeholders.

Some examples of the definition of done are:

  • Meeting the acceptance criteria and the functional and non-functional requirements.
  • Testing and verifying by the development team and the product owner.
  • Documenting and reviewing by the development team and the product owner.
  • Integrating and deploying to the production environment.
  • Approving and acceptance by the stakeholders.

The Difference Between an Increment and a Sprint

However, we should be aware that increment and sprint are two related but distinct concepts in Scrum. An increment is the outcome of a sprint, while a sprint is the process of creating an increment.

An increment is delivered to the stakeholders at the end of a sprint, while a sprint is how it is delivered.

An increment is measured by its value and quality, while a sprint is measured by its productivity and efficiency.

Increment vs Sprint

To learn more about the difference between an increment and a sprint, please read this article: PI Planning vs Sprint Planning


In summary, incremental development and the definition of done are two important concepts in Scrum. They help the Scrum team to deliver valuable and high-quality products in short iterations and to inspect and adapt the product and the process continuously.

They also help the Scrum team to collaborate and communicate effectively with the product owner and the stakeholders and to align their expectations and feedback. By applying these concepts, the Scrum team can achieve better results and customer satisfaction.

Thank you for reading this article. I hope you found it useful and informative. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me.