In Scrum, Change is Always Welcome

January 12, 2016

For many newspapers, the rise of the Internet has stopped the presses. Permanently. Droves of readers have left their gazette subscriptions for web search engines, mobile applications and social media accounts. But some newspapers have managed to adapt rather than die. They have supplemented print publications with online versions, generated engagement through social media and tasked software developers with creating and managing mobile applications. Sure, newspapers that have weathered the digital age have responded to the Internet—but above all, they have responded to change.

Every project, regardless of its method or framework used, is exposed to change. In today’s hypercompetitive world where technology, market conditions and business patterns are continuously shifting, change is the only constant. It is imperative that project team members understand that the Scrum development processes are designed to embrace change, according to A Guide to the Scrum Body of Knowledge (SBOK™). Organizations should try to maximize the benefits that arise from change and minimize any negative impacts through diligent change management processes in accordance with the principles of Scrum. From small projects with six team members to large, complex projects with hundreds of team members, Scrum can be applied effectively to ensure a positive response to change is a staple in the production process.

A primary principle of Scrum is its acknowledgement that stakeholders—customers, users, sponsors—change their mind about what they want and need throughout a project, and it is very difficult for stakeholders to define all requirements during project initiation. Scrum projects welcome change by using short, iterative Sprints that incorporate customer feedback on each Sprint’s deliverables. This enables the customer to regularly interact with the Scrum Team members, view deliverables as they are ready and change requirements if needed earlier in the process—even implementing the change in the very next Sprint. Also, the portfolio or program management teams can respond to Change Requests pertaining to Scrum projects applicable at their level.

Scrum helps organizations become more flexible and open to change. However, it is necessary to understand that although the Scrum framework emphasizes flexibility, it is also important to maintain stability throughout the change process. In the same way that extreme rigidity is ineffective, extreme flexibility is also unproductive. The key is to find the right balance between flexibility and stability because stability is needed in order to get work done. Therefore, Scrum uses iterative delivery and its other characteristics and principles to achieve this balance.

Adaptation is a powerful skill in general and an essential component of the Scrum framework. When Scrum Team members confront change, they do not stop the presses. They press on.

To learn more about Scrum and Agile, visit


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