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Scrum project management

by Simon Buehring
Discover why you cannot use Scrum to manage a project because it was not designed as a project management approach.
Scrum Project Management |

Introduction to Scrum

In the realm of product development, Scrum emerged from the Agile movement and has become very popular within fast-paced and complex environments. Scrum stands out as a paradigm-shifting framework. It transcends traditional methodologies by fostering a collaborative and flexible approach to managing and completing work.

Scrum is grounded in Agile principles, which emphasise adaptability, customer satisfaction, and the delivery of high-quality products through iterative progress. Below, key aspects of Scrum are outlined encapsulating its structure and operational dynamics.

Scrum is used for managing complex knowledge work, with an initial emphasis on software development, although it has been used in other fields. Scum provides empirical process control and relies upon its three pillars of transparency, inspection, and adaptation.

A Scrum team is composed of 3 roles: Product Owner, Scrum Master, and Development Team. Scrum has five events, Sprint Planning, Daily Scrum, Sprint Review, and Sprint Retrospective which forms the main workflow. All of these operate within a fifth event – the Sprint – which is a time-boxed iterations, typically 2-4 weeks, culminating in potentially shippable product increments.

The key artifacts in Scrum include the Product Backlog, Sprint Backlog, and Product Increment to ensure progress visibility.

Introduction to project management

Project management is a critical discipline that extends beyond the mere act of producing deliverables. It is a comprehensive practice that plays a strategic role within organisations, underpinning the successful realisation of projects from conception to completion.

Effective project management ensures that not only are products or services delivered, but also that they are aligned with the broader business objectives, maximising value and ensuring the optimal use of resources.

The following articulate the core components and strategic importance of project management within an organisational context.

Project management

The application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities to meet the project requirements.

Strategic alignment

Aligning projects with business strategy to ensure organisational goals are met.


Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring & Controlling, and Closing phases span the project life cycle.

Stakeholder management

Identifying, involving, and satisfying stakeholders’ needs and expectations.

Risk and change management

Proactively managing risks and changes to maintain project stability.

Comparison of Scrum and project management

Project management
Emphasises iterative and incremental work
Focuses on distinct project phases
Prioritises flexibility and responsiveness
Often involves more rigid planning and control
Defined roles with specific responsibilities
Roles can be more fluid, depending on the project
Short feedback loops (Sprints)
Longer project milestones and checkpoints
Product-oriented with a focus on continuous delivery
Can be product or service-oriented with an emphasis on successful delivery
Adapts to changes quickly through the Sprint mechanism
Requires formal change management processes
Limited documentation, emphasizing working product
Requires comprehensive documentation
Less formalized stakeholder management process
In-depth stakeholder management strategies
Self-organising teams with decentralized decision-making
Often relies on traditional hierarchy for decisions


The exploration of Scrum and project management reveals that while there are overlaps, they are distinctly different. Scrum’s focus on adaptiveness and product increment delivery contrasts with project management’s broader scope of strategic alignment, stakeholder management, and formal documentation.

Therefore, Scrum cannot replace project management as it lacks the holistic approach required for managing the overall project lifecycle. When Scrum is implemented, it should be complemented by project management practices that cover areas beyond product development, ensuring a comprehensive approach to achieving project success.

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