Scrum Pitfalls and How to Overcome Them

Digital transformation has become a fact. Nowadays more and more companies are deciding to develop applications in an agile model to speed up the process. Although approaches such as Scrum accelerate the implementation of projects and improve team’s efficiency, they can also carry many pitfalls that hinder everyday work. Find out what challenges await Scrum Teams and how to deal with them.  

The digital race continues   

Digitization has gained momentum after 2020. Corporations have become more willing to take advantage of cloud solutions, Machine Learning, implement tools for remote work and employ Business Intelligence systems supporting data analysis and reporting. In all these implementation projects, the delivery speed of working applications is extremely important. 

IT market and its challenges  

IT teams face time pressure, staff shortages, staff turnover and unpredictable random events. The tech industry has been struggling with these issues for years, and the employee market does not make it easier to prevent people from quitting their jobs. 

Agile project implementation is a response to the abovementioned challenges, as it allows you to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances. According to the annual “State of Agile” report, in 2021 the Agile methodologies adoption in programming teams equaled to 86%, and the most popular framework was Scrum. 

What is Scrum?  

Scrum is one of the frameworks used in agile software development, according to Scrum.org. The team members, without roles assigned, in an iterative model (e.g., 1-2 weeks) deliver small but functional elements. The Scrum Team consists of the Developers, the Scrum Master, whose role is defined below, and the Product Owner, who manages a list of tasks (so-called Product Backlog).   

Benefits you get thanks to Scrum  

In an unpredictable world, following known paths will not allow you to respond to new conditions quickly enough. Approaches that allow teams to adapt to changes, while maintaining productivity and delivering the product on time, work well in IT projects. This is one of the most significant advantages of this method. By supplying small, working functionalities, the risk that the end customer receives an application that does not comply with their prerequisites is reduced.   

Pitfalls lurking on Scrum Teams  

However, as with any strategy, there are certain aspects to beware of. Agile developers emphasize that they value the “real Scrum”, meaning one in which there is no place for micro-management, pressurizing individuals, or applying practices which are not described in the Scrum Guide. Another temptation is to divide the Scrum Team into smaller teams or assign roles to Scrum Team members. Such an approach is sometimes referred to as “Scrumfall”, and in fact – has little in common with Scrum. So how to address these issues?   

Hiring an experienced Scrum Master 

In the everyday work of programmers, the role of the Scrum Master is to make sure that the principles of the Scrum framework are understood and respected. Scrum Master supports its team and makes sure that team members understand the tasks and know where they are heading (and if they don’t – SM tries to find and eliminate the cause). Scrum Master makes sure that teams are independent and can organize their work. An experienced Scrum Master can determine many of the traps lurking on development teams and eliminate their causes. Scrum training courses are also available, according to Yahoo! Finance.   

Using a different framework 

Scrum is not the only agile method you can use. The IT industry has a whole spectrum of agile methodologies at its disposal. It may turn out that for the demands of a small team, Kanban will work better. In turn, in projects where the requirements often change, it is worth considering the use of Extreme Programming. There are also multiple Agile scaling frameworks such as SAFe, LeSS and Nexus that shall work well in complex projects with numerous teams.   

Hiring an Agile Coach   

Before you decide to give up the agile approach to the traditional, Waterfall method, it is worth doing solid research and analyzing your demands. An Agile Coach should help you choose the most suitable framework for your organization. It may also turn out that you decide to keep on using Scrum, but your company needs support in a wider field than the project development. Thanks to the wider perspective and expertise, an Agile Coach can bring new quality and become a mentor to your organization.  

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