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August 11, 2023
8 min read

What Impacts Does Agile Scrum Methodology Have on Project Management

Agile Scrum methodology is one of the widely used methodologies owing to its many beneficial impacts on project management, such as faster releases, improved collaboration, etc. Let's dive deep into the impacts of Scrum on project management in this article.
Anton Versal
Anton Versal
Learn how Scrum can positively impact project management.

Project management has a crucial role to play in the success of a product. Due to the advancements in technology, many new project management methods and approaches are in action. The Agile Scrum methodology is one of the most commonly used project development and management approaches in the software industry. In fact, the 14th Annual State of Agile Report highlights that almost 75% of respondents' organizations acknowledged using Scrum or a hybrid involving Scrum.

Scrum has become a go-to approach for most organizations because it focuses on day-to-day project management and empowers teams to work on small chunks of the project at a time in a collaborative environment. With the ever-growing popularity of Scrum, it's important to highlight what impacts Scrum casts on overall project management. So, whether your team is about to start practicing Scrum or you want to get more familiar with the impacts of Scrum on project management, keep reading to learn the beneficial and negative impacts of Agile Scrum methodology on project management.

Agile Scrum Methodology – A Quick Overview

Scrum is the framework of Agile methodology that provides a modernized way of managing projects. Founded on adaptation, inspection, and transparency principles, it provides a structured approach for teams to collaborate, adapt to changing requirements, and ensure iterative, high-quality product releases.

Scrum emphasizes self-organizing, cross-functional teams that deliver increments of work in time-boxed iterations called Sprints. The length of Sprints is mostly within 2-4 weeks. There are three main roles in Scrum, i.e., Product Owner (defines and prioritizes the work), Scrum Master (ensures adherence to Scrum principles), and the Development Team.

Scrum involves five core events that help Scrum teams to effectively manage projects and ensure a collaborative and adaptive work environment. These events include Sprint Planning, Sprint, Daily Scrum, Sprint Review, and Sprint Retrospective. All these events and the other principles of Scrum methodology help teams to break down projects into small, manageable units and gradually complete the project in an iterative and adaptive way.

Five Scrum Values

To better understand the impacts of Agile Scrum methodology on project management, you should be clear about the five core Scrum values. The Scrum values focus on fulfilling business objectives and meeting the needs of customers and stakeholders efficiently. The five Scrum values are as follows:

  • Focus: Everyone focuses their efforts and energy on meeting the goals of the Sprint.
  • Openness: Everyone acknowledges to be open about all the progress and complications while working on the Sprint.
  • Commitment: Everyone shows commitment to the goals of the project and healthy collaboration.
  • Respect: Everyone respects each other's opinions and working styles.
  • Courage: Everyone dares to do the right thing and tackle tough situations collaboratively.

All the above Scrum values help Scrum teams show their full commitment during the whole project development phase, resulting in increased productivity, collaboration, and quality deliveries.

Positive Impacts of Agile Scrum Methodology on Project Management

The widespread use of the Scrum framework is linked with its many positive impacts on overall project management. Some of the key ones are as follows:

1. Faster Project Completion with Early Value Delivery

Scrum modernizes project management by incorporating iterative-based, collaborative, and feedback-driven development. This streamlines the whole project management process, where every project stage is well structured. Moreover, it focuses on offering tangible value to stakeholders at the earliest project stages, with the most valuable features/functionalities delivered first. Overall, Scrum accelerates the project completion duration with early value delivery.

2. Better Estimation of Efforts

One of the Scrum practices that most teams incorporate is estimating the product backlog before Sprint Planning to assess the efforts and have a well-prepared team. They use Async Poker, Planning Poker, Bucket System, or other estimation techniques to discuss and collaboratively estimate the efforts and pinpoint potential uncertainties. Later, this helps the team members have a well-prepared mindset and begin Sprint Planning and Sprint in a more prioritized and strategic way.

3. Effective Management of Large Projects

Scrum makes it easy to manage large projects by dividing them into smaller, manageable chunks. Each sprint targets releasing a small releasable function of a project. For example, a team might work on a 2-week sprint to develop the login functionality of the app. So, the gradual development of large projects makes them easy to manage and results in more quality products.

4. Enhanced Collaboration

Agile Scrum methodology is all about collaboration between the development team, Product Owner, and stakeholders. All the events in Scrum, from Daily Scrum to Sprint Retrospective, emphasize transparency, mutual understanding, knowledge sharing, and effective decision-making.

5. Increased Adaptability and Flexibility

Adaptability and flexibility are the core characteristics of Scrum. It empowers teams to embrace changes and adapt to market conditions, customer feedback, or changing requirements timely and quickly. The incremental release approach of Scrum makes it easy to align the project with the needs of stakeholders.

6. Effective Stakeholders Involvement

Often it seems that involving stakeholders in the development phase distracts the team, as their continuous input and feedback can hinder the progress. However, the Agile Scrum methodology acknowledges the importance of stakeholder involvement and turns it into a positive impact on project management. Scrum smartly keeps stakeholders engaged throughout the development process so that their expectations, needs, and feedback are incorporated timely, resulting in a more satisfactory experience.

7. Continuous Improvement

Instead of getting feedback from customers at the end of the project, Scrum makes feedback an integral part of the development phase. After every Sprint, the team gets a chance to showcase the work during the Sprint Review meeting and get feedback. This way, the team continuously improves the product as per the requirements, resulting in a more satisfactory experience.

Negative Impacts of Agile Scrum Methodology on Project Management

Despite all the shiny aspects of Agile Scrum methodology, it also casts a bunch of negative impacts on project management. Some of the crucial ones are as follows:

1. Incomplete Initial Planning

The planning phase in Scrum mostly happens in the Sprint Planning and Daily Scrum events. These events facilitate iterative and incremental planning based on the priorities and requirements as the project evolves. It looks beneficial from the perspective of Scrum, but it results in incomplete initial planning, which makes it difficult to forecast the project timeline and set clear expectations for stakeholders. However, if the team conducts the product backlog estimation meeting before Sprint Planning, then this issue can be dealt with effectively.

2. Scope Creep

The incremental release with Agile Scrum methodology allows the team to embrace changes but can also lead to scope creep. A team continuously adding or changing requirements during Sprints can unintentionally expand the original project scope. This can impact the budget, timeline, and project success. However, if the team undergoes regular backlog refinement meetings, they can pinpoint those deviations and remain on track.

3. Collaboration Challenges

Scrum sets up self-organizing teams that rely heavily on collaboration and continuous communication. But if team members lack the necessary skills or motivation, then it can make collaboration and decision-making challenging. However, this issue is resolvable by team members' gradual experience and training regarding Scrum principles.

4. Conflicting Priorities between Product Owner & Development Team

Scrum makes the Product Owner an active participant and decision-maker. But, if the priorities of the Product Owner don't match with the development team due to a lack of domain knowledge or other reasons, it can hinder the decision-making process and the project's overall outcome. However, both parties can sit together to clarify their conflicting concerns and head for mutually-agreed solutions.

5. Stakeholders' Unrealistic Expectations

Since Scrum releases are based on iterative-based work, it can make stakeholders set unrealistic expectations about the speed/volume of deliveries. If this happens, it makes it challenging to keep stakeholders satisfied. However, the Scrum team can avoid this situation by keeping stakeholders updated continuously about the progress and what targets they expect to achieve.

6. Experience of Team Members

Scrum is unlike the traditional project management methodologies that don't require prior training or experience. Scrum involves the concepts of self-organizing teams, everyone's contribution, collaboration, frequent feedback, and multiple events with different purposes. Therefore, team members must be trained and experienced with Scrum to perform the methodology rightly and extract the targeted outcomes. However, even if a few members lack experience in Scrum, they can learn and collaborate with other members to improve their skills around Scrum.

All the above negative impacts of Agile Scrum methodology are easily addressable with the team's gradual experience with Scrum and adoption of proper implementation practices, as mentioned at the end of each of the above points. In short, Scrum can sometimes cause hurdles in project management, but the cons are negligible compared to the advantages it offers.

What's so Special about Agile Scrum Methodology?

Now that we have looked into the pros and cons of Scrum on project management, it is clearly evident that Scrum presents itself as the modern and much-needed framework in the current software-driven era. However, what's so special about Agile Scrum methodology, which makes it very popular and unbeatable compared to other methodologies?

The unique aspect of Scrum is its ability to address work complexities by making all the relevant information transparent. This helps the concerned people analyze and adapt to current conditions instead of predicted ones. Therefore, it helps to address the shortcomings of the waterfall development process, i.e., underestimation of time, chaos due to complexities, wrong projection of cost, inaccurate progress reporting, poor software quality, and similar others.

Scrum makes it mandatory to make information transparent, while continuous inspections help to ensure that bottlenecks are addressed timely. Daily Scrum, Sprint Planning, Sprint Review, and Sprint Retrospective are all Scrum events meant to ensure that deliveries meet expectations and schedules.

Wrapping Up

Agile Scrum methodology has a significant impact on project management. Its iterative development approach, powered by well-defined roles, events, collaboration, transparency, and adaptability, effectively streamlines the project management process. Although it also has some negative impacts listed above, you cannot expect any project management methodology to be perfect. To sum up, Scrum methodology is transforming the project management practices of organizations and helping them adapt to the rapidly changing business landscape.

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