Remove 'potentially' from 'releasable Increment'. 'Releasable' already implies that it is potentially.
The term 'Releasable' already implies that it is potentially.
At one point, we only said that it had to be “releasable.” This was interpreted to mean that it had to be released. Then everyone wanted us to define who it had to be released to:
- was this a technical release into the technology
- was this a release to customers/users that started using it.
So, we changed the phrase to “potentially releasable”
The application of Scrum to advanced research problems where most of the progress is in understanding and maybe a published paper based on research really makes this phrase difficult.
But, we never said that Scrum was easy. We did say that you should know your domain and that intelligence and teamwork helped a lot, however.
James Allen commented
Lawrence Fitzpatrick commented
I agree with all of the other commenters points.
The confusion seems to come from mixing two concepts
1) that the "done" increment is of sufficient quality to be released
2) that there is no requirement to actually release the increment
Releasable does imply potential (defined as: "capable of being released") and so is redundant. But, there is a desire to say that we really don't have to release it - that does evoke a lot of fear.
Perhaps better phrasing might be, "While there is no requirement to release the increment, every increment should be of releasable quality." Or something.
We should avoid jargon as much as possible to have the widest impact. Releasable is ambiguous jargon.
Simon Mayer commented
I think the word "potentially" is unhelpful. It serves to weaken the word "releasable".
If it makes an organization uncomfortable to hear that the Increment is "releasable", rather than "potentially releasable", perhaps there's a serious issue that's not being addressed, such as:
Is the definition of "Done" strong enough?
Is the Product Backlog truly optimized to deliver the most value?
Does the Product Owner have a mandate to "own" the product, and is she/he collaborating effectively with the Development Team?
Are the Development Team able to get an Increment to "releasable"? If not, why not?
Marc Trudeau commented
I don't support this change. The organizations I've been in tend to get really wrapped around the axle by even "potentially releasable," and I find the frequent need to explain that the phrase doesn't mean that everybody and their brother has reviewed and likes likes the implementation and thinks its perfect. To me, "potentially releasable" means that the feature meets the acceptance criteria and isn't broken, so the company COULD decide to ship it or might decide to add Stories to enhance it. This encourages buttoning up the feature and inspecting it in the Sprint Review, letting all detractors be heard by adding their proposed enhancement Stories to the Backlog. The PO can choose to push some enhancements down the Backlog, allowing unnecessary work to go undone (one of the best benefits of Scrum, IMHO).
Steven Spearman commented
I've always found "potentially" a helpful distinction since too many people associate the word release with "ship it". This is perhaps more important later in the guide where it says the work is "potentially releasable". I agree with the technical definition of "releasable" but I think potentially adds clarity.