Since the inception of the Agile manifesto, Agile principles have revolutionized how companies manage their team, paving the way for a modern style of project management. Teams no longer rely on tedious and time-consuming waterfall models and can deliver projects in a timely and cost-efficient manner.
As agile project management became popular, organizations adopted several agile methods, of which Scrum is the most used. While Scrum is useful for delivering projects incrementally, it isn’t ideal for all situations.
In this article, we will discuss some of the issues with scrum in varying situations and how they can be addressed with other alternatives.
What Is Scrum?
Scrum is a part of the agile methodology that aims to deliver business value in the least amount of time possible. Scrum achieves this by rapidly creating usable chunks of the product and making changes according to user feedback.
Since Agile was originally designed for software development, most agile methodologies are tailored for this field, and Scrum is no exception. Development teams create parts of software that customers can directly use and give their feedback on. This helps your team skip tons of straining documentation and move forward with the project faster.
Typically, a scrum team has three roles; the product owner, the scrum master, and the development team. On top of managing the team directly, the scrum master is responsible for being a bridge between the development team and the product owner.
The product owner here represents the interests of all stakeholders, where the development team is similar to other project teams. However, development teams in Scrum are more independent and self-organized, and they must share responsibilities with the Scrum Master.
People in all three roles have daily scrum meetings. In these meetings, they outline what they must achieve and set daily goals. Besides that, they all have to participate in meeting related to sprint review, sprint planning, and sprint retrospective based on the phase of the project going on.
Scrum is ideal for managing highly complex and unpredictable projects where requirements are more likely to change. Scrum gives you the space to deal with unexpected changes in project requirements and deliver features urgently needed.
Scrum emphasizes the importance of accountability, continuous and iterative progress, and teamwork, leading the product towards specific goals. You can learn more about the Scrum Methodology by reading the official Scrum Guide in detail.
Why Doesn’t Scrum Always Work?
In the Scrum methodology, everyone is dedicated to delivering value as rapidly as possible. Therefore, developments must strive to complete value-driven components deliverables in less than a month. In most cases, teams are required to deliver these deliverables inside two weeks.
While the management pushes teams to work on tight deadlines, they also expect the team to develop production-quality deliverables and have working software as they submit an increment. This is why teams must write code, design code structures, and test it. Moreover, they must also create presentations and demos to stakeholders, that too in a short period.
Because of this, many people consider Scrum’s approach to be too unrealistic or rigid. While Scrum is extremely useful to counter unpredictability in projects, for teams with no prior experience, it is also one-dimensional and difficult to implement.
Project managers must eventually grow out of the basic scrum framework and adopt lessons from other agile methodologies. Scrum only gives you and your team a reliable structure to begin with, but you must be adaptable to be successful in the long-run.
It doesn’t make sense to force-fit Scrum to every project you come across. Instead, you should analyze the requirements of every project separately and experiment with other methodologies, as well. Similar to the Design Patterns in the 1990s, Scrum can be used on its own or in combination with another methodology.
As you may have multiple teams in a project, you can use Scrum as a pattern for one team in the beginning. Once you have established a structure for the project, you can monitor the progress on the project and shift to a more suitable agile technique if Scrum isn’t working for your team. Incorporating other tools/patterns can help you develop a more robust and effective approach to management.
Exploring Other Options
You can use other methodologies in combination with Scrum too.
Effective Agile Practices
The high-paced Scrum methodology gives you little time to test products effectively, making software quality dubious. To ensure software quality, you can leverage agile techniques such as Unit Testing, Acceptance Test Driven Development (or BDD), Pair Programming, Continuous Integration, and Test Driven Development. These techniques prevent your code from degrading over time, so they are ideal for software projects.
Kanban is a project methodology that leverages a linear approach to project delivery. It teaches teams to focus on continuous delivery but relieves them from the excess burden. That said, many managers criticize this technique for lacking a defined structure like scrum.
For this reason, many experts suggest using Scrum and Kanban in conjunction with each other. Managers can first adapt Scrum and develop a more optimized workflow.
Once your team is in tune with Scrum’s structure, you can leverage Kanban’s continuous delivery towards the end of the project. Alternatively, you can also use Scrum to develop your project in your desired way and later use Kanban or other agile methodologies for review. Doing so can help you ensure the quality of your final product.
Several companies choose new ways to manage their teams. They use different combinations for different teams. SysAdmin teams are put under Kanban workflows to relieve them from rigid time-boxed sprints, while teams responsible for developing urgent features can leverage Scrum.
In agile project management, no one size fits all. Every situation has unique requirements and you may have to switch your approach from time to time. Regardless, one thing is clear that agile project managers must display exceptional leadership and strategic planning.
Being well-versed in Agile Methodologies prepares you to tackle difficult situations effectively and deal with challenges with greater skill.
At LurnAgile, we are determined to teach you the tenets of the Agile Methodology and help you master Agile Project Management. With our training, you will learn how to augment Agile to your brand of management and nail challenging projects with ease.