When it comes to choosing an approach to create custom software, a technical project manager has a few different methodologies to consider – two of the most common being waterfall and agile. While waterfall is sometimes considered the traditional approach to software development, agile software development has gained ground in recent years, proving to be an effective method.

The scrum methodology describes a unique approach to creating custom software in which product development teams work in incremental iterations to reach common goals. A major principle of the scrum methodology is the ability of a product development team to be highly flexible in accordance to stakeholder requests. Open communication among team members and stakeholders is highly encouraged throughout the project for the sake of producing the highest quality product in the most efficient way.

Agile software development relies heavily on the scum framework to produce the best end-product possible. As with most styles and approaches to project management, the scrum methodology is not immune to criticism.

Four Common Myths about Scrum

For a better understanding of the scrum methodology, follow along for an informed response to some of the common criticisms leveled against the scrum approach to agile software development:

  1. Not Enough Documentation – Some may believe that when using scrum, there is not enough documentation of progress throughout the project. This, however, is not true. Documentation of progress using the product backlog is crucial to the scrum agile software development process. Documentation can also be considered another deliverable within a project’s increments. This allows team members to see what progress has been made, and what needs to be done in future iterations.
  2. Projects Lack Planning – During an agile software development project, it’s sometimes thought that there is not enough advanced planning. This criticism may spring from the fact that the agile software development process is very dynamic, responding quickly to problems as they arise. Project planning, however, is in large part what enables this responsive approach. The scrum approach places high priority on developing the product back log. The agile development team works closely with the project owners and stakeholders to develop a strategic plan of attack on high priority back log items. The team then implements the plan in order to successfully complete the prioritized items during iterations.
  3. Scrum is a Different Version of Waterfall- Scrum and Waterfall are two very different approaches to software engineering. Waterfall is a linear process that revolves around creating and getting approval on project specs prior to development, and presenting deliverables to stakeholders based on specified certain time frames and deadlines. Whereas scrum involves a more dynamic approach to product development where chunks of work are broken up into short periods called “sprints.” Scrum is recognized for rapid delivery of functional products, and the flexibility to change deliverables upon stakeholder request.
  4. Team Members Must Work in One Location – It is oftentimes misunderstood that agile development teams must work under one roof in order to communicate effectively with stakeholders, developers, and others on the team. This is not true. With technological developments, telecommunication has proven to be highly effective in cross team collaboration. Many agile software development teams across the U.S. work very effectively with nearshore team members conveniently located in countries like Costa Rica. Emailing, texting, phone communication, and services like Skype enable agile development teams with offshore members to be just as effective as if they were working under one roof.

The common myths about the scrum framework may sometimes discourage stakeholders from using the approach in custom software development projects.

As the popularity of agile software development continues to grow, it is likely that additional evidence will surface to debunk negative myths about scrum. When it comes to deciding which software development approach to implement, you should definitely consider the scrum agile approach to creating custom software.