Practicalities of using Scrum for policy projects.
Mirzaei, Maryam; Mabin, V.J.
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Citation:Mirzaei, M., & Mabin, V.J. (2015, November). Practicalities of using Scrum for policy projects. Paper presented at 49th Annual Conference of the ORSNZ, Christchurch, New Zealand.
Permanent link to Research Bank record:https://hdl.handle.net/10652/4082
There is a growing interest in applying agile project management practices such as Scrum, particularly for software development projects. Is Scrum a panacea for all projects? What are the challenges in implementing Scrum outside its dominant application in software development? This paper provides some clues based on the findings of case study research into a project in policy development which has experimented with Scrum. Multiple semi-structured interviews and project documents have been used as sources of data. This data was analysed using the Theory of Constraints Thinking Process (TP) tools to capture the cause and effect relationships that help explain where and why Scrum processes apply. The research identifies two Scrum assumptions that may not hold outside software development namely that the product owner (customer) can gain understanding of the final product only by observing the product itself; and that the project is divisible into small deliverables. In this case study it was found that incremental value is not always feasible, even in projects with higher uncertainty. Nor is incremental value the only way to obtain feedback. The case study also demonstrates how Scrum was subsequently tailored to address specific requirements of this project to address these faulty assumptions. The TP tools were found to be particularly powerful tools for uncovering these assumptions.