4 Things You Need to Know About Scrum

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Updated December 23, 2020

Are you thinking about becoming a Scrum Master, Product Owner, or are you a leader looking at Scrum as a possible solution for managing complex products? Is your organization talking about the benefits of moving toward agile, and Scrum in particular, but isn't sure how it fits your current business model? If attending a course or webinar left you with more questions, this article may shed light on some of the most common aspects of Scrum that people miss. 

1. Scrum Isn't Just About Software

Scrum started as a framework for software development. However, it's focus is on delivering results that align better with customers' needs, not just building software. People have recognized that different parts of an organization can achieve the same benefits outside traditional software companies. Scrum can be a crucial product-building approach for any organization or business group, from sales and marketing to finance and HR.

Of course, Scrum is still used frequently for software. Software developers may be the most familiar with Scrum and how to make the most of what it offers — but don't limit yourself. As you become more comfortable with the benefits of agile and Scrum, you'll be able to identify opportunities to expand this framework into other areas of your organization.

2. Scrum Is a Business Approach

A commitment to implement Scrum should be made at the business level for business reasons, not delegated to software developers as a tactical decision. Like any other major initiative, your investment needs to deliver a return, which means that you should commit to Scrum with defined business goals and objectives. Additionally, visible and consistent executive-level support from all stakeholders is needed to make any agile transformation successful.

If Scrum is positioned in an organization as a niche approach to select software projects, its benefit will always be limited. But if positioned as a product team approach within a greater agile transformation, it can deliver real benefits to its bottom line. This will also help with Scrum adoption and acceptance, as all business areas can learn and experience the transformation together without leaving some parts of the organization behind. Even if your initial Scrum investment is limited to a pilot program for select teams, recognizing it as a strategic initiative will give the visibility needed to succeed.

Related: Business Agility Report Special Edition by Scrum Alliance

3. Scrum Aligns with Customer Needs

Scrum can deliver results more quickly and at a lower cost as compared to other product management approaches. However, the focus is on delivering products and services that more closely align with customer needs. When exploring how Scrum can benefit your organization, all stakeholders and practitioners must focus on a "customer first" approach; getting that right will deliver the other benefits. Identify who your customers are - internal or external - and make an effort to stay connected with them. 

4. Scrum is more than a framework

While Scrum is one of the most popular agile frameworks for getting work done, it can also be the beginning of a journey of self-discovery. It's important to note that Scrum isn't only about eliminating processes. The execution of Scrum is people-driven rather than process-driven, but it is still a planned journey toward completion — not an unstructured meander through various tasks. 

A foundation of values is needed to make an agile approach a success. Scrum has a set of values that combined with the agile values, create a sense of teamwork and continuous improvement needed to make Scrum work well. 

  • Commitment. Because we have great control over our own destiny, we become more committed to success. 
  • Focus. Because we focus on only a few things simultaneously, we work well together and produce excellent work. We deliver valuable items sooner. 
  • Openness. As we work together, we practice expressing how we're doing and what's in our way. We learn that it is good to express concerns so that they can be addressed. 
  • Respect. As we work together, share successes and failures, we come to respect each other and help each other become worthy of respect. 
  • Courage. Because we are not alone, we feel supported and have more resources at our disposal. This gives us the courage to undertake greater challenges.

Implementing Scrum needn't be scary. Like any voyage of discovery, you will have high points and challenges. Still, the results have been demonstrated repeatedly by organizations across the globe and in virtually every industry.

Scrum Alliance® is a trade organization with more than 800,000 members dedicated to transforming the world of work. Scrum is a business approach that reaches far beyond software and aligns with customer needs. We encourage you to learn more about scrum and how it helps your teams manage complex work.

Learn about Scrum and agile certifications through Scrum Alliance, the premier non-profit certifying body preferred by agilists around the world.

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