List of Scrum Advantages and Disadvantages

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published June 8, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Learning about the advantages and disadvantages of Scrum can increase productivity and improve the odds of a project being delivered according to plan. Regardless of the size and scope of a project, being familiar with the Scrum project management methodology can have a direct impact on the project's final result. Knowing Scrum's main disadvantages as well as its strong points is valuable, but it requires research. In this article, we discuss how Scrum is used and its main advantages and disadvantages.

Related: What Is a Scrum Team? Definition, Benefits and Roles

What is Scrum used for?

The Scrum framework is a part of the Agile methodology, which is a practice that involves managing a project by dividing it into multiple phases and repeating a cycle of planning, executing and evaluating at every phase. Scrum's cycles are called sprints and typically last between two and four weeks, with the entire work reviewed after each sprint. The people involved in the process have one of three roles: the product owner, who is the person representing the company, the Scrum master, which is the project manager, and a team of people who execute the tasks.

Scrum is especially useful in the software development sector, as it gets a team to focus on a smaller goal and then integrate it with the project's main objective. However, its characteristics make it suitable for a wide variety of projects in different industries, especially those that require a quick turnaround for high-priority requests and constant changes that the project development team needs to adapt to easily.

Related: What Is a Scrum Master?

Processes of Scrum

The processes that constitute the Scrum framework are:

  1. The product owner creates a list of all the tasks involved in completing the project and their priority, called a product backlog

  2. The Scrum team analyzes the product backlog and divides all major tasks into smaller, easier to manage ones

  3. The team then creates a sprint backlog and decides how it's going to be implemented

  4. The length of each sprint is determined, with the average duration being between two and four weeks

  5. The team usually holds daily meetings for the entire duration of a sprint, with each member sharing their daily updates and the project manager analyzing the project's progress based on the newly received information

  6. At the end of each sprint, the product owner and the organization's stakeholders review the results

Related: What Is Scrum Project Management?

What are some disadvantages of scrum?

Some of the main disadvantages of using the Scrum framework are:

  • It requires extensive training. Although using the Scrum framework can potentially deliver quick and high-quality results, it requires a well-trained and skillful team to properly implement it. Before committing to Scrum, everyone within the team needs to understand the benefits and particularities of this approach for the project to be a successful one.

  • It can be difficult to scale. Using the Scrum approach for large projects can be challenging, as implementing it on a bigger scale requires extensive training and precise coordination. Although ways to adapt Scrum to bigger projects have been developed, they're usually difficult to understand and implement.

  • It may require major transformations within the organization. Adopting the Scrum framework sometimes means that the company needs to undergo some organizational transformations for this decision to be a successful one. Some parts of the process may require different departments to collaborate and work as a team, with the company needing to manage and organize these collaborations in a way that allows that to happen.

  • It can be difficult to integrate with a classic project management approach. Although it's usually a good solution for projects that need constant adjustments, the Scrum approach may not be suitable for projects that require predictability and a well-defined plan. However, these kinds of projects can be approached by using a hybrid solution that encapsulates some of the advantages of classic, long-term planning and those of the Scrum framework.

  • It is not related to the project's deadline. Although adopting the Scrum methodology involves many smaller deadlines for everyone involved, it doesn't offer any support for the project meeting its overall deadline. Although this approach increases the odds of everyone involved working to the best of their abilities and meeting expectations, the project manager and stakeholders also need to make sure that the project is on track to be completed on time.

  • It requires the use of small teams. The Scum methodology usually works best with teams of at least three people but no more than 10. Although this can promote collaboration and teamwork, some organizations may find it difficult to rearrange their workforce into teams.

  • It requires experienced personnel. Adopting the Scrum methodology involves extended periods of intense work and everyone involved needs to have experience and skills to quickly and successfully perform their own tasks. Everyone on the team needs to be able to execute and provide educated feedback on the results and overall process.

Related: How To Run a Sprint Cycle

What are some advantages of Scrum?

Some of the main advantages of adopting the Scrum methodology are:

  • It's adaptable and flexible. Scrum is suitable for a wide variety of environments and situations that don't initially have clearly identifiable requirements and require a flexible approach.

  • It encourages creative approaches. With Scrum teams working together and analyzing ideas from all its members, creativity is encouraged and new ideas are likely to appear.

  • It involves low costs: Adopting the Scrum approach can be cost-effective for an organization, as it usually requires less documentation and control.

  • It usually leads to better quality work. Having everyone on the team take full responsibility and ownership of their work can create a productive environment that leads to high-quality end results.

  • It improves customer satisfaction. Having everyone on the team working to the best of their abilities and constantly adjusting based on internal and external feedback can result in products and solutions that are popular with customers.

  • It typically results in more satisfied employees. With everyone on the team taking full responsibility for their work, the Scrum framework makes it more likely that the employees involved in a project are motivated and satisfied.

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