Scrum is one of the most popular agile methodologies. It is an adaptive, iterative, fast, flexible, and effective methodology designed to deliver significant value quickly and throughout a project. Scrum ensures transparency in communication and creates an environment of collective accountability and continuous progress. The Scrum framework, as defined in the SBOK™ Guide, is structured in such a way that it supports product and service development in all types of industries and in any type of project, irrespective of its complexity.

A key strength of Scrum lies in its use of cross-functional, self-organized, and empowered teams who divide their work into short, concentrated work cycles called Sprints.

Traditional project management emphasizes on conducting detailed upfront planning for the project with emphasis on fixing the scope, cost and schedule – and managing those parameters. Whereas, Scrum encourages data-based, iterative decision making in which the primary focus is on delivering products that satisfy customer requirements.

To deliver the greatest amount of value in the shortest amount of time, Scrum promotes prioritization and Time-boxing over fixing the scope, cost and schedule of a project. An important feature of Scrum is self-organization, which allows the individuals who are actually doing the work to estimate and take ownership of tasks.

Scrum Increases Return on Investment (ROI)

One of the key characteristics of any project is the uncertainty of results or outcomes. It is impossible to guarantee project success at completion, irrespective of the size or complexity of a project. Considering this uncertainty of achieving success, it is therefore important to start delivering results as early in the project as possible. This early delivery of results, and thereby value, provides an opportunity for reinvestment and proves the worth of the project to interested stakeholders. It is important to:

    • Understand what adds value to customers and users and to prioritize the high value requirements on the top of the Prioritized Product Backlog.
    • Decrease uncertainty and constantly address risks that can potentially decrease value if they materialize. Also work closely with project stakeholders showing them product increments at the end of each Sprint, enabling effective management of changes.
    • Create Deliverables based on the priorities determined by producing potentially shippable product increments during each Sprint so that customers start realizing value early on in the project.

Some of the key differences with respect to Value-driven Delivery in Scrum project and Traditional projects are given in the figure below.

Description

In Scrum projects, User Stories are ranked in order of priority which is an effective method for determining the desired User Stories for each iteration or release of the product or service. The purpose is to create a simple, single list with the goal of prioritizing features, rather than being distracted by multiple prioritization schemes.

This simple list also provides a basis for incorporating changes and identified risks when necessary. Each change or identified risk can be inserted in the list based on its priority relative to the other User Stories in the list. Typically, new changes will be included at the expense of features that have been assigned a lower priority.

Minimum Marketable Features (MMF) are also defined, so that the first release or iteration happens as early as possible, leading to increased ROI.

Scrum versus Traditional Project Management

Traditional project management emphasizes on conducting detailed upfront planning for the project with emphasis on fixing the scope, cost and schedule – and managing those parameters. Whereas, Scrum encourages data-based, iterative decision making in which the primary focus is on delivering products that satisfy customer requirements.

To deliver the greatest amount of value in the shortest amount of time, Scrum promotes prioritization and Time-boxing over fixing the scope, cost and schedule of a project. An important feature of Scrum is self-organization, which allows the individuals who are actually doing the work to estimate and take ownership of tasks.

Following table summarizes many of the differences between Scrum and traditional project management:

Parameters Scrum Traditional Project Management
Emphasis is on People Processes
Documentation Minimal – only as required Comprehensive
Process style Iterative Linear
Upfront planning Low High
Prioritization of Requirements Based on business value and regularly updated Fixed in the Project Plan
Quality assurance Customer centric Process centric
Organization Self-organized Managed
Management style Decentralized Centralized
Change Updates to Productized Product Backlog Formal Change Management System
Leadership Collaborative, Servant Leadership Command and control
Performance measurement Business value Plan conformity
Return on Investment Early/throughout project life End of project life
Customer involvement High throughout the project Varies depending on the project lifecycle