14 Scrum Advantages and Disadvantages in 2022

scrum advantages

When you’re first getting familiar with Scrum as a project management approach, it’s important to understand the advantages and disadvantages involved. That way, you are more likely to able to increase productivity and improve the odds of a project being delivered on time and on budget. 

In this article, we discuss how Scrum is used and what are the main Scrum advantages and disadvantages so that you can become more familiar with and learn how to adopt it more effectively in your organization. 

Looking for more information on Scrum overall? Check out this post:

What is Scrum?

What is Scrum?

As we explain in a previous article, Scrum “is an Agile project management framework that organizes projects in iterations called Sprints. The Scrum Team is responsible for delivering value, while the Product Owner communicates with the stakeholders and prioritizes the work. This iterative approach allows Scrum to produce work and test it quickly.”

Learn more about Scrum Team Roles and Responsibilities

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, it is also suitable for a wide variety of projects in different industries, especially those that need a quick turnaround for high-priority requests and constant changes that the project development team needs to adapt to easily.

Processes of Scrum

The Scrum framework consists of the following processes:

  • The Product Owner creates a list of all the tasks needed to complete the project and then prioritizes them into what’s known as a product backlog.
  • The Scrum Team analyzes this product backlog and divides major tasks into smaller, bite-sized pieces of work that are easier to manage and quicker to complete.
  • Having analyzed all the tasks, the team creates a Sprint backlog and decides how to implement it. As part of creating the Sprint backlog, the team also determines the length of each Sprint, with the average duration typically being between two and four weeks.
  • The team holds daily meetings for the duration of a Sprint, known as Standups. During these meetings, each team member shares updates on progress and potential obstacles and the project manager analyzes the project’s progress based on this feedback.
  • At the end of each Sprint, the Product Owner and the organization’s stakeholders review the results and the whole Scrum Team holds a Retrospective to review and improve their process.

Scrum Artifacts

Scrum Artifacts are those tools applied in Scrum to solve problems. We have mentioned two of them already in the above process, but to clarify, these are:

  • The Product Backlog. A list of the work that a Product Owner or Product Manager needs to manage. This work includes all the requirements, features, enhances, and fixes that stakeholders want to be added to a Sprint backlog. As outlined above, the Product Owner revises and reprioritizes the product backlog for each Spring to reflect changing market or client priorities.
  • The Sprint Backlog. The complete list of all the items, bug fixes, and user stories that the development team selects for the current Sprint. The team selects the items they intend to work on in the product backlog. Thus, the sprint backlog can be flexible and evolve during a Sprint.
  • Increment. This refers to the usable end product from a Sprint. A team demonstrates an increment at the end of a Sprint demo, highlighting what they accomplished during the Sprint.
Product backlog

7 Scrum Advantages

As you might expect, there are several recognized advantages and disadvantages of the Scrum methodology. Let’s start by exploring the advantages:

1: Adaptability and flexibility

Scrum is itself a flexible and adaptable practice and is also suitable for a wide variety of environments and situations that require a flexible approach – for example, when it can be difficult to identify clear requirements. 

2: Creativity and innovation

Scrum emphasizes creativity and new ideas. Because Scrum teams work closely together and analyze ideas from all members, this encourages new and innovative solutions.

3: Time to market

Scrum often results in faster delivery than other approaches, speeding time to market for new products or features.

4: Lower costs

The Scrum approach can be cheaper for an organization, as it usually requires less documentation and control than other project management approaches. 

5: Increased transparency often leads to higher quality work

Scrum methodology ensures that team members are focused and productive, partly by creating transparency amongst teams, as well as between teams, internal stakeholders, and clients. All changes to any part of a project are visible to every member, no matter how small. This builds trust between all the parties. At the same time, because all team members take full responsibility and ownership of their work, this often creates a productive environment and high-quality end results.

6: Continuous feedback improves customer satisfaction

With daily standup meetings ensuring continuous feedback and constant adjustments to the product based on this feedback, products and solutions usually end up being more popular with clients and customers.

7: Increases motivation and team satisfaction

Because Scrum encourages personal responsibility from every team member, they tend to feel more ownership of and pride in the project, leading to greater motivation and satisfaction. 

Disadvantages of Scrum

As with anything, where there are advantages there are also disadvantages. Let’s now explore those disadvantages in more detail. 

1: You need experienced team members

Because Scrum involves extended periods of intense work, all your team members need to be able to successfully perform their own tasks. This generally requires enough experience to be able to do this. Everyone on the team needs to execute and provide quality feedback on the process and results. If you don’t have this experience in your organization, then we move to disadvantage number two…

2: It requires lots of training 

Without experience, your team needs training. This is time-consuming, as everyone on the team needs to understand the benefits, the artifacts, the thought process, and the practice. If you’re starting from scratch, expect this to take months before your team is fully up to speed. 

Check out our Scrum cheat sheet for a quick recap of the main ideas.

3: It only really works with small teams

Scum usually works best with teams of no more than 10. This can help make teamwork easier, larger organizations may be unused to splitting the workforce into small, autonomous teams, and may struggle to do so effectively, slowing their effective adoption of Scrum. 

4: It can be difficult to scale

Related to the challenge above, implementing Scrum on a bigger scale usually requires extensive training and coordination. Scrum can be used on larger projects with larger teams, but rarely is, due to this being so complex to implement and manage successfully.  

5: It doesn’t necessarily help to hit a project’s overall deadline

Adopting Scrum means breaking larger projects into smaller, bite-sized pieces that are easier and quicker to implement. This in turn means multiple smaller deadlines. However, this will not necessarily lead to the project hitting its overall deadline. Project managers and stakeholders need to keep an eye on the larger project to ensure that it doesn’t fall too far behind schedule.  

6: It can be hard to integrate with a classic project management approach

The Scrum methodology is often poorly suited to projects that need predictability and a well-defined plan, for which a waterfall approach may work better. Scrum is great for flexibility and short-term planning, but not so much for long-term planning.

7: It may require major transformation within an organization

Related to the previous disadvantage, adopting the Scrum framework can mean that the organization needs to transform to accommodate the practice.  Some parts of the process may require different departments to collaborate differently leading to significant organizational change.

Tips for Implementing Scrum Effectively

When you’re not used to working with Scrum, you can get distracted and lose focus. Here are our top tips on how to implement Scrum effectively in your organization:

  • Keep your Sprints focused. Don’t try to achieve more than your team can realistically handle and keep your teams to between three and nine members. 
  • Display your progress. It’s important to keep communication open, simple, and transparent. One of the best ways of doing this is using Scrum boards that everyone can read at a glance, from team members to senior stakeholders who need to stay aware of overall progress. Here are some examples of such boards in Teamhood.
scrum advantages
  • Use a burndown chart. Rather than use traditional project progress charts that show the work accomplished so far, consider using a burndown chart instead. These show the opposite: The amount of work still to be completed and the time allotted for its completion.
  • Keep daily standups short and to the point. The daily standups are an essential part of the Scrum methodology. However, you must tightly control them to ensure you and your team are not wasting any time. Most practitioners recommend keeping them to no more than 15 minutes.  Keep the discussion focused on team members’ work to pursue the team’s Sprint goals.
  • Hold a retrospective at the end of each Sprint and encourage feedback from everyone. These meetings should still be focused, but they need to be longer and all-encompassing. You want to know what went well during the Sprint and what could be improved. Here is what a Retrospective board looks like in Teamhood.
retrospective
  • Use the right project management software tools. Today’s project management software is so sophisticated and flexible that you really are at a disadvantage if you choose not to use it. With Teamhood, you can create custom Scrum boards, assign story points, and track metrics all in one place. It is free to use and easy to start.

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Co-Founder / CEO at Teamhood | Website

2019 - Present Co-founder and CEO @ Teamhood.
2015-2019 Head of software engineering department at Danske Bank.
2017-2018 Partner Associate Professor at Vilnius University. Lecturer of Software Architecture course
2011 - 2015 Managed numerous smaller IT teams at Prewise.
Co-founder of RaveIT, Eylean, No Brakes Games

Certified Agile product owner and practitioner. Managed large scale enterprise projects as well as launch of small startup products.
MSc of Software Engineering at Vilnius University.

Hobbies: Racing, MTB cycling, Windsurfing

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