Agile methods and Scrum in particular maintain their positions on the top of mostly used approaches to managing projects in multiple spheres. As stated in the 14th State of Agile Report, Scrum is the most widely practiced Agile framework: at least 75% of respondents reported to practise Scrum or a hybrid that includes Scrum. However, it may sometimes seem that people are divided into those who are passionate about it and those who hate it: the first ones had positive experience of working in the Scrum framework, while the other ones didn’t succeed. What’s the reason for such ambiguity? Let’s delve into the issue.
What Are the Advantages of Scrum?
First, let’s consider what makes Scrum effective for managing projects. Scrum is a special framework that contains values, philosophy, theory, and structure, which helps the Scrum team achieve their goals. The key points of this methodology include the following: cross-functional teams working together as a single unit; lots of close communication and interaction; repeating periods (not longer than 30 days) of completing certain amount of work; no need for large amount of documentation; completing smaller parts of the whole work during fixed periods.
Such a framework gives the following opportunities:
- you can adapt your project to changes more easily than with the traditional approach;
- you can get stakeholders’ feedback right after the sprint is over, so further requirements can be implemented as quickly as possible;
- constant feedback and repeated testing contribute to the high quality of the product developed, which increases customer satisfaction;
- a lot of communication between the process participants makes it possible to prevent misunderstandings;
- various practices like daily scrum meetings, sprint reviews and sprint retrospectives facilitate effective collaboration of team members, product owner, and scrum master, which contributes to achieving the common goal;
- it becomes possible to deliver the product faster to customers due to prioritization and certain amount of value delivered at the end of each sprint.
These advantages clearly demonstrate why a lot of companies and projects have succeeded with the Scrum framework. However, let’s take a look at the other side of the coin.
Disadvantages of Scrum
Like any other methodology, Scrum isn’t the only right solution for every project. It also has its specific disadvantages mostly coming from the essence of the methodology or depending on human factor.
It requires considerable training to be implemented successfully
If employees and/or top managers don’t take seriously the need for fundamental training, don’t understand the principles behind the Scrum framework, or don’t want to put their efforts into this training, it may be difficult for both top managers and team members to implement it successfully.
It implies the change in the organizational structure
It’s impossible to successfully implement the Scrum framework without taking a different approach to the organizational structure. The traditional organizational structure is hierarchical, while Agile in general and Scrum in particular with its self-organizing teams and lots of close communication and interaction between the participants of the project involve breaking organizational barriers and establishing relations of partnership. Therefore, it may take some time and effort for the employees and higher management to get used to the new paradigm.
It doesn’t provide overall detailed estimation of a project’s scope, budget and time
Scrum provides detailed estimates only for one sprint. It’s focused on continuous improvement, consequently, it may happen that the project runs over time or exceeds budget. Also, it involves the shift from project deadlines to personal deadlines, i.e. delivering certain priority tasks, which may seem disadvantageous to those who stick to the traditional approach. In addition, being open to constant changes and improvements, Scrum can lead to scope creep when practised by inexperienced participants.
It’s more suitable for smaller teams
Scrum is likely to be successfully implemented in small teams with up to 9-12 dedicated employees. It’s much more difficult to use this approach for larger teams: it requires implementation of other Scrum models (e.g. Scrum-of-Scrums) or scaling, which can also be challenging.
One more important thing: if some of the team members are not committed enough to the work they are doing, the project is likely to fail.
How Can These Issues Be Tackled?
Despite the above-mentioned disadvantages, the statistics shows that this approach is still more popular than other Agile methodologies, which give grounds to assume that a great number of organizations use it successfully. What are possible solutions to the problems related to Scrum implementation?
- First of all, the Scrum framework implementation should start from proper training to make sure that all the employees involved in the project are on the same page with product owner and scrum master, understand and share principles and values of this framework and will be committed to their work.
- Secondly, organizational transformation is a must for successful implementation of Scrum. You can’t put new wine into old bottles.
- One of the ways to handle the lack of overall estimates of the project’s timeline and budget is to establish time and cost “ceilings” that will ensure that your project won’t run over time or exceed the budget.
- Finally, if there is a large team/organization or you have to work on multiple projects at the same time, it may be reasonable to try other solutions.
Epicflow, the multi-project management software, with its numerous features offers various opportunities for managing your projects. For example, it has lots of opportunities to manage your resources and achieve their maximum utilization, so it’s a perfect solution if your key resources are required for multiple projects at the same time.
Undoubtedly, Scrum is a simple and effective framework for fast and efficient delivery of certain kinds of projects. However, like any other methodology, it has its disadvantages: it can be really difficult to implement it in such a way as to get maximum of its benefits, for example, other employees may merely be not ready for major changes and transformation in the work of an organization. In this case, a variety of project management software tools can become a good alternative.
You can contact us and learn more about the solutions Epicflow offers for your projects to flow fast and reliably.