The limitations and benefits of the Scrum framework in practice: a systematic literature review
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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The Scrum framework has grown in popularity and use in recent years to become the most commonly applied of all the Agile project management methods. This growth is also mirrored by significant research attention. This review will address four important research questions: (1) what are the limitations and benefits of Scrum? (2) what are the themes that contribute to successful or unsuccessful adoption and utilisation of Scrum? (3) what is the current nature and extent of the application of the Scrum framework outside of software and Information Technology (IT) contexts? and, finally (4) what is the strength of the academic research that has evaluated Scrum in practice? A systematic literature review methodology was used to locate and evaluate the literature that has investigated the Scrum framework thus far. A total of 409 articles were identified, of which 36 studies were included in the final review. A number of themes regarding the framework's limitations were uncovered: distributed work; efficacy beyond software projects; contexts that demand documentation; risk management; scaleability; and guidance on critical issues. Five themes were identified concerning the benefits of using the Scrum framework: individual; team; organisation; customer and quality. The themes that determine successful and unsuccessful adoption and utilisation of Scrum were: training and support; environment; team attributes; team dynamics; and fidelity to the model. The review found no evidence to support the framework's use outside of a software or IT context. Importantly, the overall quality of the evidence that has evaluated Scrum in practice was considered to be very good. A number of recommendations are provided that have relevance for: (a) project managers; (b) potential customers; and (c) practitioners who want to stay up to date. Finally, this review will contribute to the academic literature concerning Scrum and may inform where future research attention should be focussed.
Master of Business Administration
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