I do love Scrum. But at the same time Scrums sucks at a lot of areas from a business point of view. In my opinion the Scrum process is great to get things done. It’s great to get a motivated team with focus, it maximizes creativity and delivers value.
The business side of Scrum however is almost blank. Only assigning a Product Owner is not enough. There’s a lot more to projects than only the Product Backlog and ownership of the Product Owner. That’s why there is so much discussion concerning the implementation of Scrum. You do need to fill in the gaps.
The most obvious gap with Scrum is the management of stakeholders.
With Scrum there’s only a Product Owner. This task can be delegated to someone else (the ‘proxy Product Owner’) or to multiple persons. The problem here is that Scrum needs a ‘single wringable neck’, which is difficult when it’s not one person or when the actual ownership lies somewhere else.
Then there’s the problem of the differences in interests. PRINCE2 makes the distinction between Senior User and Executive. The Senior User is the ultimate user, the person whom will accept and use the finished product. The Executive is responsible for the Business Case. He needs to balance costs and benefits. (By the way, the Business Case is a gap in itself!). Only in small projects these roles can be combined, in that case the Product Owner is both. In most projects the roles can not be combined. That creates a problem with Scrum. A process needs to be in place to manage differences in interests. Scrum does not have such a process.
Another example occurs with projects with a commercial customer/supplier relationship. If there’s some risk involved then the party whom bares the risk needs some kind of control. Not only on an operational level but also on the executive level. Scrum does provide some level of control with the Burndown charts and Product Backlog, but there’s no process in place to manage progress and issues on an executive level.
These gaps are manageable. Also there is not a single solution that fits all. A lot of Scrum Masters (or project managers) have found a lot of solutions to cope with stakeholders. For me PRINCE2 complements Scrum very well. I use Scrum for the Delivery process and PRINCE2 for everything else. The team doesn’t notice PRINCE2 at all, they use Scrum. The customer notices the differences compared to a traditional PRINCE2 project, but the main processes remain the same. So again, Scrum sucks at some areas but combined with PRINCE2, I couldn’t live without it.