How does SCRUM answer the usual questions – “what, when, and how much?”

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Clients are often reluctant to contracting SCRUM-based projects due to some difficulties associated with top-down definition of a binding cost and deadline for the delivery. However, in fact, SCRUM can help smooth project delivery and reduce the risks directly associated with the Waterfall approach. One cannot ignore the question regarding cost and delivery time. When considering the implementation of a project in SCRUM you need to change your perspective. In this case, the most important questions are not: what, when and how much, but what value can I deliver to my company in the shortest possible time. In SCRUM the work is planned in such a way that already after the first Sprint (2-4 weeks) the Client gets a working part of the solution, e.g. a selected module or process. Practically, this means that with each subsequent Sprint the Client has the opportunity to review the product, and adjust his expectations concerning further work. These modifications are based not on complex documentation, but on a fragment of working software.

In the case of SCRUM projects, the supplier usually offers the team that has the competences to perform the work related to the implementation ahead. The team and the project are initially calibrated taking into account parameters such as the size of the team (how many people in specific roles) and the number of Sprints. In the context of this approach, the questions what, when and how much can be answered as follows:


  • “What?” It is assumed that the Client’s initial requirements are met and the project team is sized under this assumption. However, in this approach, it is perfectly acceptable to change the initial scope of work. In the end, the Team may deliver different scope of work than assumed of course if the Client expresses such a business need during the project execution. This ensures that the product meets the Client’s real needs and brings real value to their organisation.
  • “When?” The SCRUM Team delivers software in an incremental form with the assumption that after each Sprint lasting 2-4 weeks the Client receives specific functionalities that can be put into production. The Product Owner determines whether the set of functionalities constituting the sum of increments made in the previous Sprints is consistent with his expectations and whether the project can be considered complete.
  • “How much?” This question is much easier to answer than the two above. The cost of a SCRUM project is the number of planned sprints multiplied by a predefined Sprint cost. Sprint cost is the result of multiplying the number of Man Days (MD) in a Sprint, by the cost per MD of each team member.

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