Scrum Agile Methodology for Engineering?
By Abelardo Pardo, Associate Professor, The University of Sydney
Some days ago, I had an interesting chat with some colleagues about the merits and demerits of Scrum Agile Methodology and its applications in Engineering.
In my professional life, I have used traditional (waterfall) Project Management, ethodologies, as well as Agile Methodologies, mainly Scrum, as I am Professional Scrum Master Certified.
The Traditional Methodologies are based on a good definition of the product or service requirements upfront.
Changes in the scope are allowed using Change Management, but Agile Methodologies are more focused on those projects where not all requirements could be defined upfront and where changes could occur very often. Let’s say that Agile Methodologies, like Scrum, are more adaptive to customers and market needs. Although Scrum is more focused on software development, it could be used for other sorts of projects, like engineering projects, but only if you could adapt your project to the Scrum framework, artifacts, and tools.
“Agile Methodologies are more focused on those projects where not all requirements could be defined upfront and where changes could occur very often.”
But one of the things that I most like of Scrum is how it is “release” oriented. With traditional project management, you define a product and work through all steps until you get the final product. With Scrum, you divide the product into parts that require less than a month (a Sprint) to be releasable. And after that, you continue developing new releases of the product. The good thing of this is that your time to market is shorter and you could build new releases based on the experience of previous ones.
Obviously, you could not use Scrum in all sort of projects. There are projects that require a traditional approach and other that require Agile methodologies. Some people say Scrum is outdated. It is not, as well as traditional PM is not outdated either. We are in a world where incredible engineering and software developments are produced every day, fortunately on both PM methodologies.