In an agile context, Scrum is an approach to project management. Typically the Scrum agile framework favors moving projects forward via short-term blocks of work called sprints, which usually confined to two-week intervals. Teams working with this framework are self-organizing and not top-down or hierarchical in nature. Scrum-specific roles include the ScrumMaster, essentially a team guide, and the Product Owner, who represents the business and customers.
History of Scrum
Scrum’s origin varies depending on whom you ask. Some say it was invented in 1993, by Jeff Sutherland, Jeff McKenna and John Scumniotales. Scumniotales is credited with being the first ScrumMaster. Others say it originated in 1986 and was invented by Hirotaka Takeuchi and Ikujiro Nonaka. Takeuchi and Nonaka used the term in their 1986 white paper titled “The New Product Development Game”.
Strengths and Weakness of Scrum
- It is easy to understand
- Allows for rapid feedback
- Allows issues to be brought up through daily meetings
- Strictness (e.g., teams may not hold more than one sprint-review meeting during a sprint. And, there are limitations on the number of people allowed on the team)
- Can lead to scope creep
- Some argue that the framework can place a high degree of pressure on the team due to the frequent, short deadlines
Should You Use Scrum?
Scrum might be for you if your organization is looking for a lightweight, team-based approach to agile project management. But if your company’s culture tilts more toward upfront planning and your executive stakeholders prefer a top-down approach to decision-making rather than an organic team-based approach, then it probably isn’t the ideal framework.