Top 4 Scrum Misconceptions and What You Can Do About It

Eugene LaiFri, 08/23/2019 - 15:16

You have heard the term “Scrum” for a while now, but it’s hard to tell what is fact and what is fiction. The concept seems simple yet it feels like another buzzword that just sounds good on paper.

How can you tell what is actually true and what is made-up? Sometimes it’s very difficult to tell unless you talk to someone who has walked that path and learned the hard lessons along the way.

There are many misconceptions about what Scrum is and isn’t, what it can and cannot do, how you should and should not apply it. In the blog post below, I will share a few of my own opinions and hopefully help clarify a few things.

#1 Misconception – Scrum is a Process that Must be Followed Exactly.

This is a very popular misunderstanding. Scrum is a framework that provides a few high-level guidelines on what you should do to form and operate a team, but it does not tell you exactly “how” to do so. Essentially, it’s a guide to tell you “what” you should do, and allows your team the freedom to determine the most practical way to implement the activities.

#2 Misconception – Scrum will Guarantee Success

Not true. Scrum will not solve all of your problems for you. There will always be variables that no process or methodology will resolve completely, such as interpersonal issues, project constraints, customer challenges, etc. With that said, Scrum will very likely reveal these problems earlier and make them visible, which allows your team to do something about them, if you choose to of course.

#3 Misconception – Scrum is Better than Waterfall

Although it is fairly easy to point out advantages of Scrum as compared to traditional Waterfall, there will always be situations where Waterfall may be a superior approach for a project. It all depends on the project characteristics. It is entirely possible that project is very well-defined and scoped in a way that can be executed equally effectively with either approach. We shouldn’t assume that Scrum is always better than Waterfall for all cases.

#4 Misconception  – You Can do Scrum However You Want

This is somewhat related to the first misconception, but looks at a different perspective.

While it is true that the Scrum Guide does not explicitly tell you how you should apply Scrum, it does say that you should apply the 4 events:

  • Sprint Planning
  • Daily Scrum
  • Sprint Review
  • Sprint Retrospective

The 3 team roles:

  • Scrum Master
  • Product Owner
  • Development Team

And the 3 artifacts:

  • Product Backlog
  • Sprint Backlog
  • Increment


The Scrum Guide states that this structure is designed to work together as one unit; if you choose not to implement one of these items, you are no longer doing Scrum, and that the effectiveness of the project will likely be diminished significantly.

I hope that this brief post helps to clear up some of the common misunderstandings that you will likely encounter.