Role of SCRUM in striking balance between flexibility and stability?

March 14, 2017

Today almost all industries and markets are exposed to constant changes. Changes come in the form of government policies, new tax rules, everyday advance in technology, consumer psyche, product or service demand, media influence, social media trend, buying motivation and many more. Whatever the reason, ‘Change’ has become an integral part of any business and Scrum helps organizations become more flexible and open to change.

However, it is important 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.

Scrum maintains flexibility in that Change Requests can be created and approved at any time during the project; however, they get prioritized when the Prioritized Product Backlog is created or updated. At the same time, Scrum ensures that stability is maintained by keeping the Sprint Backlog fixed, and by not allowing interference with the Scrum Team during a Sprint. In Scrum, all requirements related to an ongoing Sprint are frozen during the Sprint. No change is introduced until the Sprint ends, unless a change is deemed to be significant enough to stop the Sprint. In the case of an urgent change, the Sprint is terminated and the team meets to plan a new Sprint. This is how Scrum accepts changes without creating the problem of changing release dates.

Scrum facilitates flexibility through transparency, inspection, and adaptation to ultimately achieve the most valuable business outcomes. Scrum provides an adaptive mechanism for project management in which a change in requirements can be accommodated without significantly impacting overall project progress. It is necessary to adapt to emerging business realities as part of the development cycle. Flexibility in Scrum is achieved through five key characteristics: iterative product development, Time-boxing, cross-functional teams, customer value-based prioritization, and continuous integration.

Scrum follows an iterative and incremental approach to product and service development, making it possible to incorporate change at any step in the development process.


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