Anybody who has a complex project can benefit from using Scrum. Prioritize large to-do lists into manageable tasks with improved teamwork, better communication, and faster results.

Scrum has streamlined software development — and professionals from around the world are starting to see the value of using Scrum. Of all the possible Agile frameworks used by companies, 66 percent are Scrum or Scrum variants.

Why should you use Scrum?

Scrum has the power to transform project management across every industry, every business, and even across life in general. By using Scrum, you’ll become more Agile, discovering how to react more quickly and respond more accurately to the inevitable change that comes your way. And by staying focused, collaborating, and communicating, you can accomplish what truly needs to be done — successfully.

Most important, Scrum is not unproven hype. It’s a solid and successful Agile framework that’s been applied to a variety of projects and teams. Universities use Scrum to deliver valued projects to clients. Militaries have relied on Scrum to prepare ships for deployment.

So whether you’re working on the next smartphone app, managing logistics for a store, or planning a charity event, you should take a closer look at using Scrum. And Scrum Alliance can give you the proven framework, best implementation practices, and supportive guidance you need to achieve success.

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Ralph Stacey Model

Ralph Stacey developed this model in 2011, to help managers and leaders choose between the different decision-making and management approaches to use in different situation.

The model is two-dimensional, based on the degree of certainty and level of agreement.

Ralph Stacey Model

The horizontal (X) axis, the degree of certainty relates to how sure or defined the linkage between cause and affect is. Issues are close to certainly when cause and effective linkages can be determined.

In this situation, one can use past experience to plan caused of the future action and expect with good degree of certainty, a positive outcome.

When issues or decisions are far from certain, the cause and effect link is not clear and the situation is new or unique.

On the vertical (Y) axis is the level of agreement on issues or decision amongst group, team, and organisation.

At one end of spectrum, if there is a high degree of both certainty and agreement on the issue, decision making is easy and this area is know as (Rational or Simple) and traditional methods (Waterfall) and approaches are most affective.

At the other spectrum, there is no agreement on the issue and no certainty on the cause and effects. In this region, plans are usually munificent and it is an area where chaos and anarchy prevails.

This is the extreme where instability and stability are inextricably inverted and chaos area should be avoided.

Between the two extremes ends of the spectrum there is a large area called complexity zone. Here the traditional approaches are not affective as systems in complexity zone are unpredictable.

In this area you can neither specify the product details in advance nor agree upon these details with degree of accuracy.   These conditions require a collaborative environment between the user and the developers.

The best approach to use is Scrum/Agile, as it requires a high degree of creativity and innovation to produce solution.

To apply this model accurately, it is essential to understand the organisations dynamic forces within, its vision, future strategy and position in the market they operate in.

The model in itself is very simple to apply, and evaluate if Agile is the right applicable methodology for your organisation.

Cynefin Framework

The Cynefin framework exists to help us realize that all situations are not created equal and to help us understand that different situations require different responses to successfully navigate them.

Cynefin framework

You can see in the above diagram that there are 5 domains. What? You only see four? Don’t forget the dark mass of Disorder at the center.

  • Obvious (formerly known as Simple) is the domain of best practices.
    • Characteristics: Problems are well understood and solutions are evident. Solving problems requires minimal expertise. Many issues addressed by help desks fall into this category. They are handled via pre-written scripts.
    • Approach: Problems here are well known. The correct approach is to sense the situation, categorize it into a known bucket, and apply a well-known, and potentially scripted, solution.
  • Complicated is the domain of good practices.
    • Characteristics: You have a general idea of the known unknowns — you likely know the questions you need to answer and how to obtain the answers. Assessing the situation requires expert knowledge to determine the appropriate course of action. Given enough time, you could reasonably identify known risk and devise a relatively accurate plan. Expertise is required, but the work is evolutionary, not revolutionary.
    • Approach: Sense the problem and analyze. Apply expert knowledge to assess the situation and determine a course of action. Execute the plan.
  • Complex is the domain of emergent solutions.
    • Characteristics: There are unknown unknowns — you don’t even know the right questions to ask. Even beginning to understand the problem requires experimentation. The final solution is only apparent once discovered. In hindsight it seems obvious, but it was not apparent at the outset. No matter how much time you spend in analysis, it is not possible to identify the risks or accurately predict the solution or effort required to solve the problem.
    • Approach: Develop and experiment to gather more knowledge. Execute and evaluate. As you gather more knowledge, determine your next steps. Repeat as necessary, with the goal of moving your problem into the “Complicated” domain.
  • Chaotic is the domain of novel solutions.
    • Characteristics: As the name implies, this is where things get a bit crazy. Things have gone off the rails and the immediate priority is containment. Example: Production defects. Your initial focus is to correct the problem and contain the issue. Your initial solution may not be the best, but as long as it works, it’s good enough. Once you’ve stopped the bleeding, you can take a breath and determine a real solution.
    • Approach: Triage. Once you have a measure of control, assess the situation and determine next steps. Take action to remediate or move your problem to another domain.
  • Disorder is the space in the middle.
    • Characteristics: If you don’t know where you are, you’re in “Disorder.” Priority one is to move you to a known domain.
    • Approach: Gather more info on what you know or identify what you don’t know. Get enough info to move to a more defined domain.

Summary of Applicability of Scrum

Scrum is to be used for complex situations where the outcome is unknown to start with. the approach should be to inspect and adapt so that you can reach the right place.

Inspect and Adapt

Another analogy to explain where Scrum is applicable

If the target is stationary, Scrum is not the right solution. Scrum is expensive for products where scope is very well known to start with. E.g. if you use a missile solution where cannon could work, obviously, you are not using the wrong solution and it will cost you.

Cannon solution for Waterfall

Scrum is a solution to moving targets – customer not knowing the requirements well at the start. The approach in this case should be a F16 solution instead of a Cannon solution.

Scrum is a F16 solution