What is a startup’s top priority? Convincing pitch? Unique app design and UX? Clean code? Timely response on user feedback?

A startup deals with hundreds of challenges. Its first major battle is to quickly enter the market with a ready-for-use piece of software.

Enter Scrum, the most suitable Agile startup development approach.

Scrum helps form—and keep on track—a team able to manage software development for startups and provide timely delivery under changing requirements.

It cannot, however, solve a startup’s problems if the idea is irrelevant or funds insufficient.

What is Scrum methodology?

Scrum is a framework for product development and united with similar approaches under a so-called Agile umbrella.

agile methodology umbrella

agile umbrella

As an Agile startup methodology for delivering complex products, Scrum focuses on an iterative and incremental approach towards a clearly defined goal. A Scrum-based software development cycle is divided into Sprints (ranging from one week to one month—usually, two weeks). At the end of every Sprint, the development team ships a build (a feature or a part of working functionality), so everyone on the project immediately sees the result of the team’s work. This helps those involved stay motivated in the long run.

This works for both Agile web solutions and mobile app development.

Also, a distinctive feature of Scrum framework among other Agile web development approaches is that the entire development team acts as a single, self-organizing unit with minimum hierarchy. There is no leader. All team members address problems on the project.

Who uses Scrum?

As an Agile startup methodology, Scrum works best for startups. Time is crucial for startup survival because fiscal resources tend to be scarce. The sooner the product gets to the market the better.

This is where Scrum as an Agile startup methodology helps. It simplifies project management and ensures flexibility.

The Agile development team takes ownership of the software and works as an entire entity. They focus on what is needed, not on what is planned. The team begins with an MVP to get the product idea out into the public. It then improves it feature by feature based on market feedback.

For instance, Scrum web development is based on long-term goals ‘packed’ into short-term iterations. The product owner receives a part of the functionality after every one of them. Immediate results become visible.

Plus, startups can apply the Scrum approach to other important activities, such as marketing and promotion, responding to target audience requests in a timely manner.

Therefore, when using Scrum for startups, its founders can build a product that users want—faster and for less.

Why use Scrum on a project?

Scrum is a method of thinking how to deliver relevant things to users within a reasonable timeline. The Scrum framework is a cost-effective strategy in two scenarios:

agile

For startup development when a product owner knows the necessary features for MVP (Minimum Viable Product) development and quickly makes changes to the software as soon as the team gets user feedback;

agile

For a development team to deliver maximum value reacting rapidly to any significant updates on the project.

Scrum methodology: pros and cons

Pros

Now, let’s discuss pros and cons of Scrum starting with the pros.

This is how Scrum boosts a software development project:

  • agile

    Adaptability

    Unlike the Waterfall framework, where set-up requirements remain rigid and fixed, Agile startup development considers a timely response to a needed change more important than strict adherence to the initial plan. Instead of sticking to a plan and implementing unrequested features, Scrum ensures the development team satisfies real market needs faster—a crucial feature for startup survival.

  • agile

    Communication

    Scrum is about open communication and active collaboration. The product team meets daily to review progress—or snags—on the project. They plan and assign tasks. When a Sprint is complete, the team gathers for a Sprint retrospective to reflect on challenges and wins, measure performance, and plan activities for the next Sprint. Constant communication ensures keeping up with constantly changing requirements.

  • agile

    No micromanagement

    Scrum encourages project awareness by every team member. Everyone shares trust and responsibility for the end result. The team is a self-organizing unit.

    Unlike the project managers, the Scrum master does not assign tasks or push anyone to make any choice: team members decide and take responsibility for their decisions.

    The Scrum master’s role is to ensure even distribution of risks and dependencies across the team.

  • agile

    Automation of processes

    One of Scrum’s goals is to use work time as effectively and efficiently as possible. To meet a planned scope, developers need to stay focused on significant tasks. And because the devil is in the details, they must also deal with small, but necessary, details. The only way to stay on track is to automate every routine. This eliminates time-consuming routine tasks that increase development time and delay launching.

    Scrum also fits in with the CI/CD pipeline and DevOps culture helping distribute responsibilities and prevent overlaps.

  • agile

    Improved control

    As discussed above, Scrum makes it possible to retain control over the software development process by turning it into a harmonized, Agile workflow.

    Through constant knowledge sharing, Scrum ensures a team member’s absence (temporary or permanent) does not throw a spanner in the works of established processes.

Cons

As with every framework, Scrum has limitations. The wide range of activities on different levels could lead to Agile failure. As you will read, in all but one example, it is not Agile limitations, but user failure.

  • agile

    Industries with high risks and/or high regulations

    Regulations and approvals do not support rapid development.

    Unlike Scrum web development, projects based on strict requirements and thorough documentation do not fit an Agile approach. Such projects include development of medical equipment, software for aircraft, etc. The risk of exposing sensitive data, damaging human health, or even threatening life demands a more controlled approach.

    Waterfall is a reasonable alternative.

  • agile

    Lack of open communication

    Scrum works for teams where everyone openly discusses any issues they encounter on a project. The essence of Scrum’s success is open communication and quick resolution of problems.

    When two teams on a project or members within a team do not share updates (no trust established between them, bureaucracy, lack of vision—literally, a myriad reasons) or do not provide timely responses on important questions regarding the project, the development process loses its momentum.

    It is not the Scrum process but the people not using Scrum correctly, as required for success.

  • agile

    Not enough flexibility

    When team members are clueless on how to use Scrum for startups and consider daily meetings a waste of working time, Scrum won’t work. Neither will Scrum work when team members reject Scrum principles or follow them mechanically.

    Scrum web development requires everyone in the team to be on board—to be aware of its principles, share a common vision on software development principles, and coordinate his or her activities with other members.

    It’s not the Scrum process but the people not using Scrum correctly, as required for success.

  • agile

    Striving for perfection

    In the “World of Scrum,” striving for constant perfection prevents the team from delivering value and meeting the top priority for a startup’s potential success: getting the MVP into the market with alacrity.

    The source code must look fine, but it should be only as precise as is possible at the current stage. Everything can change after a Sprint ends and a feature turns out to be unpopular.

    For those in-demand features, there are brush-and-refactoring sessions when the team spends time on source code improvement.

    It’s not the Scrum process but the people not using Scrum correctly, as required for success.

  • agile

    Ignoring user feedback

    Ignoring user feedback after launch of an MVP could signal the death knell of success for a startup. No startup can ignore how early adopters react to their software and still be successful. They need to collect user feedback, glean vital information as a basis for improvements, and incorporate them in the next release.

    End users derive satisfaction knowing they helped by finding and reporting bugs and helping make improvements. They have a stake in its success. If they are ignored and see no new improvements in subsequent releases, they switch to a company that caters better to their needs and values their feedback.

    It is also possible that an MVP gets negative feedback or goes unnoticed by its target audience. But when the team remains focused, works with the limited feedback received, and prepares for a product pivot, and offers its target audience what they think they need, it could well turn an initial hiccup into success.

    It’s not the Scrum process but the people not using Scrum correctly, as required for success.

Bottom line: choose Scrum for startups

Scrum suits Agile startup development helping meet long-term goals in short-term steps without losing motivation on a distance.

Considering the pros of Scrum, here are for do’s of Scrum-based Agile startup development:

  • Remember long-term plans; focus on very specific things during short-term intervals.
  • Finish every Sprint with deliverables.
  • Encourage teamwork. Team matters, not individuals.
  • Ensure open discussions during short daily meetings.

Doing the above, you ensure Scrum makes success possible, whether this Agile website development for a local startup or a mobile app for a 1+ million users worldwide.

This is why startups use Scrum.

Scrum works best for Agile startup development. With all the pros and cons of Scrum, it matters for those project teams that strive to rapidly respond to market demands. Scrum provides a startup team with the mindset that enables them to successfully cope with many challenges evading demotivation or burning-out.

Remember, except for projects requiring strict adherence to requirements for medical, scientific, or security reasons, it is not the Scrum process that falls short, but the people not using Scrum correctly, as required for success.

Do you want a team that can build your project based on Scrum methodology?

IT Craft’s experience using the Scrum process efficiently and effectively means delivering your MVP in the least amount of time possible.