Three Lessons About Scrum You Need to Succeed

The Value of Scrum

While interviewing applicants for Agile positions, one of the first questions to ask is, “How do you define Scrum?” And in response, candidates might say, “Scrum is a software development methodology that consists of several roles and ceremonies...“  

While this is partially correct, it is not the core of Scrum (but more on that later).  

Often mistaken as a methodology, Scrum is a framework. Additionally, Scrum isn’t limited to software; you can utilize Scrum in various industries, including law or finance.  

According to the 2021 State of Agile Report, Scrum is the most popular Agile approach, used by 66% of surveyed respondents. When used correctly, it is a simple yet powerful framework that can help teams reach their maximum potential.  

Keep reading to discover the three lessons you need to know about Scrum to succeed.  

Lesson 1: Embrace the spirit of ‘Scrum’  

What do Scrum and rugby (yes, the sport) have in common? More than you probably think.  

The word “Scrum” is used in rugby to define a play where team members huddle closely together with their heads down as they move through the field to gain possession of the ball. Instead of each team member acting individually, they perform as a unit.  

Adapting a team approach is one of the core values of Scrum. Like rugby, Agile Scrum team members work closely together to solve complex challenges. Though every member carries a specific role and set of skills, the Scrum team members rely on each other as they work in an organized way to accomplish a common goal.  

For any team, this does not come overnight. Building the bond can take weeks, months, and even years. However, it should be a prioritized goal that teams can achieve through mutual respect, trust, and commitment. Team members should feel they are in it together, whether there is success or failure.  

If you want to succeed at Scrum, don’t just use it as a framework to go through the motions of events and ceremonies. Instead, embrace the spirit of Scrum and leverage its values in your day-to-day operations among peers and leaders.  

Lesson 2: Adapt Scrum to fit your needs 

As a framework, Scrum can and should be tailored to fit the needs of your organization. In any organization, your talent is your most valued resource. Therefore, you want to keep your team happy. As you adopt Scrum, it’s essential to retain your company culture. Fortunately, Scrum is adaptable; make Scrum work for you and not the other way around.  

For example, a Scrum team may avoid hosting stand-ups on Fridays if the organization has a culture of meeting-less Fridays. In this particular situation, that would work well for the team.   

The Agile roles and ceremonies that Scrum says you should conduct are only recommendations. As a leader, it’s important to judge what will and will not work for your organization. Continue to build upon your successes and work on your areas of improvement to suit the needs of your teams, programs, portfolio and organization.  

Lesson 3: Inspect and Adapt frequently 

One of the fundamental Agile ceremonies recommended by the Scrum framework is the sprint retrospective. The retrospective gives the Agile team time to celebrate successes and reflect on what efforts are needed to improve. Compared to the Waterfall model, where no inspection and adaption is happening, the retrospective is a significant value-add.   

While the retrospective ceremony occurs after every Sprint, you can also execute it at the organizational level. Leaders can learn a lot from reflecting on what went right and what can be improved for next time. 

To make the most of the retrospective, develop 1-3 action items (also referred to as kaizens) that you can implement immediately.  


As you progress on your Agile transformation journey, harness these three lessons to achieve success. With these lessons, you’ll be able to deliver value sooner while keeping your team engaged, empowered, and motivated. Remember to be flexible and pivot or persevere as you learn what works best for your team and what doesn’t.  

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