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Agile project management with Scrum

by Simon Buehring
Find out why Scrum cannot be used as an Agile project management method but can be used for product delivery.
Agile Project Management with Scrum |


Agile project management has become synonymous with modern software development practices, with many assuming that frameworks like Scrum are equipped to manage projects end-to-end. However, this view overlooks the distinct roles that Scrum and Agile project management play in the lifecycle of product and project management.

This article aims to clarify the purpose of Scrum within the Agile umbrella and articulate why it is not a complete project management solution but a powerful product delivery tool.

Introduction to Agile and Scrum

Agile is a mindset or philosophy of software development that emphasises flexibility, collaboration, customer feedback, and rapid delivery of products. Scrum, on the other hand, is one of the most popular frameworks that support the Agile methodology. It has cemented its place in the product development arena, particularly in software development, due to its iterative nature and focus on delivering value in incremental steps.

Despite this, there is a common misconception that Scrum is suitable for managing entire projects. To clear up this confusion, it’s important to distinguish between product delivery and project management – two disciplines that demand different approaches and skill sets.

Scrum: a product delivery framework

At its core, Scrum is a framework that facilitates the delivery of products by breaking them down into manageable chunks, known as sprints, usually lasting between one to four weeks. The Scrum team, consisting of the Product Owner, Scrum Master, and Development Team, works collaboratively to complete tasks identified in a prioritised list called a product backlog.

Scrum excels in product delivery because it enables rapid adaptation to change, close customer collaboration, and frequent delivery of high-priority features. It operates on the frontline of value creation, directly turning ideas into tangible products or features that marketplace dynamics and customer feedback drive.

Project management: beyond product delivery

While Scrum adeptly handles product delivery, project management demands a wider focus. It involves initiating, planning, executing, monitoring, controlling, and closing projects that may comprise multiple products or services. Project management is not confined to the technical aspects of product creation; it spans:

  • Understanding the business justification for the project.
  • Identifying and capturing the benefits the project will bring.
  • Assessing the impact of the project’s deliverables on the staff and the organisation.
  • Addressing the needs and managing the expectations of various stakeholders.
  • Ensuring alignment with the strategic objectives of the organisation.

Project management is characterised by a more diverse range of activities and responsibilities than those Scrum is designed to address.

Diverging skill sets

The skill set required for successful project management is broader than what is needed for product delivery. Project managers must possess robust planning skills, excel at stakeholder management, and be adept at enterprise change management.

Planning skills

Effective project management is grounded in meticulous planning that encompasses the entire project scope, not just the creation of a product. It includes timeline scheduling, resource allocation, budget management, and risk mitigation – areas that extend beyond the purview of Scrum.

Stakeholder management

Project managers must engage with a wide array of stakeholders, from sponsors and end-users to suppliers and regulatory bodies. This involves negotiating requirements, ensuring stakeholder expectations are met, and balancing conflicting interests, which requires a high degree of political and social acumen.

Enterprise change management

Projects often drive change within an organisation, and managing this change is a critical function of project management. It includes preparing the organisation for the change, ensuring a smooth transition, and securing user adoption of the new products or services delivered by the project.

The synergy between Scrum and project management

While Scrum isn’t designed to manage projects in their entirety, it can play a vital role within a larger project management framework. In such cases, project managers can use Scrum to oversee product development while simultaneously attending to the broader project management tasks. This synergy allows for the application of Agile principles in product creation while ensuring adherence to a more comprehensive project management discipline.

One challenge lies in integrating Scrum into the larger project management process without diluting its strengths. Understanding each role’s distinct contributions and maintaining clear lines of communication between Scrum teams and project managers is crucial. The project manager must ensure that the iterative work conducted by Scrum teams aligns with overall project objectives and timelines.


In summary, Scrum is an effective framework for product delivery, underpinned by the Agile philosophy of iterative development and rapid feedback loops. However, it is not a one-size-fits-all solution for project management. Project management encompasses a broader scope, including strategic alignment, benefits realisation, and managing organisational change, which demands a different set of skills.

It’s essential for organisations to recognise that while Scrum can be an integral part of a project’s journey, it is not the sole path. Adopting Scrum within the context of a larger project management approach requires a thoughtful integration of both disciplines, leveraging the strengths of each to successfully guide a project from conception to completion.

Understanding the distinction between product delivery and project management helps dispel the confusion surrounding Agile and Scrum’s roles. By acknowledging their respective places and combining them effectively, organisations can ensure they are not only delivering quality products but also achieving broader project goals and strategic objectives.

To learn more about Scrum or Agile project management, agileKRC offers Scrum training and Agile project management training both to individuals and customisable training to organisations.

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