SCRUM Forgotten Features

  • By Boris Eibelman
  • 03/14/2023
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You can often hear that Scrum doesn’t work, or works worse than expected. It should be noted that most often this happens for one of the following reasons:

1. Scrum is applied incorrectly or incompletely.
According to the authors of Scrum, empirical experience is the main source of reliable information. The need for a complete and accurate implementation of Scrum is indicated in The Scrum Guide and is due to the atypical organization of the process, the absence of a formal leader and manager.

2. The importance of working to motivate the team is underestimated.
One of the core principles of Scrum is self-organizing, cross-functional teams. According to sociological research, the number of self-motivated employees capable of self-organization does not exceed 15% of the working population.
Thus, only a small part of the employees are able to work effectively in Scrum without significant changes in the roles of Scrum master and Product Owner, which is contrary to the ideology of Scrum, and potentially leads to incorrect or incomplete use of Scrum.3. Scrum is used for a product, the requirements for which are contrary to the ideology of Scrum.
Scrum belongs to the Agile family, so Scrum welcomes changes in requirements at any time (Product backlog can be changed at any time).

This makes it difficult to use Scrum in fixed-cost/fixed-time projects. The Scrum ideology states that it is impossible to foresee all changes in advance, so it makes no sense to plan the entire project in advance, limited to just-in-time planning, i.e. Plan only the work that needs to be done in the current Sprint.

Advantages and disadvantages

Scrum has some pretty compelling merits. Scrum is customer-focused and adaptive. Scrum gives the client the ability to make changes to the requirements at any time (but does not guarantee that these changes will be implemented). The ability to change requirements is attractive to many software customers. Scrum is quite easy to learn and saves time by eliminating non-critical activities. Scrum allows you to get a potentially working product at the end of each Sprint.


Scrum emphasizes a self-organizing, cross-functional team capable of completing the required tasks with minimal coordination. This is especially attractive for small companies and start-ups, as it eliminates the need to hire or train specialized management staff. Of course, Scrum also has important disadvantages. Due to its simplicity and minimalism, Scrum sets a small number of rather rigid rules. However, this conflicts with the idea of being customer-centric in principle, because the customer doesn’t care about the internal rules of the development team, especially if they restrict the customer. For example, if necessary, at the discretion of the Sprint client, the backlog can be changed, despite the obvious contradiction with the Scrum rules.

The problem is bigger than it seems.

Because Scrum belongs to the Agile family, Scrum does not, for example, create a communication plan and respond to risks. Thus, making it difficult or impossible to formally (legally or administratively) counteract violations of the Scrum rules.

Another weak feature of Scrum is the emphasis on a self-organizing, cross-functional team. With a seeming decrease in the cost of team coordination, leads to an increase in the cost of personnel selection, motivation, and training. Under certain labor market conditions, forming a full-fledged, effective Scrum team may not be possible.