Scrum vs. Traditional Project Management

December 27, 2016
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A Scrum project involves a collaborative effort to create a new product, service, or other result as defined in the Project Vision Statement. Projects are impacted by constraints of time, cost, scope, quality, resources, organizational capabilities, and other limitations that make them difficult to plan, execute, manage, and ultimately succeed. However, successful implementation of the results of a finished project provides significant business benefits to an organization. It is therefore important for organizations to select and practice an appropriate project management methodology.

Scrum vs. Traditional Project Management

Scrum and most of the traditional project management methods define risk as ‘uncertain event(s) that could positively or negatively affect the achievement of project objectives.’ Also, risks are identified, assessed, planned for, and communicated continually.

In Traditional project management models, there is emphasis on detailed upfront planning to identify, assess, and determine risk responses for all project risks. During project execution, any project team member can identify risks and the project manager or the project management office or project support staff can update them in the Risk Log or Risk Register. The project manager regularly monitors and controls all risks and usually identifies specific individuals in the team to take responsibility for different aspects of risks.

In Scrum, any Scrum Team member can identify risks and the Product Owner can update the identified risks in the Risk Adjusted Prioritized Product Backlog. The Scrum principles of Empirical Process Control and Iterative Development enable the Scrum Team to constantly keep identifying risks and adding them to the Prioritized Product Backlog, where such risks are prioritized with other existing User Stories in the backlog, to be mitigated in subsequent Sprints. The Scrum Team has collective responsibilities for managing all risks for the Sprint.

In Traditional project management, there may be situations where the objectives of the plan have been achieved but yet the customer needs are not met. The Scrum approach is different from Traditional approaches as it is founded on the belief that the knowledge workers of today can offer much more than just their technical expertise, and that trying to fully map out and plan for an ever-changing environment is not efficient.

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