How Scrum CAN work in non-tech, non-software engineering environments

July 10, 2023

In the world of project delivery, Scrum is often associated with software development. While it's true that the roots of Scrum are in software, its potential applications stretch far beyond. At Agility Arabia, we firmly believe that Scrum's principles and practices hold the potential to revolutionise how work is approached and delivered in non-tech environments - in fact, we can attest to that fact having helped numerous non-technical organisations to adopt Scrum. 

As a business leader seeking innovative ways to boost your team's delivery capabilities and address business issues promptly, this article will explore why Scrum could be your secret weapon.

Get in touch with us for a free consultation if you would like to explore any of the topics discussed below, or to find out how our enterprise Agile coaches could help your business to deliver faster, better and cheaper.

Scrum: Not Just for Tech

Scrum is an iterative and incremental Agile framework for managing complex work. The fundamental 3 pillars  of Scrum of transparency, inspection and adaptation are not exclusive to software development. They can be applied in any industry or department where work is complex, outcomes are uncertain, and the need for flexibility and fast learning is high.

Whether it's marketing, human resources, education, procurement or even construction, Scrum can provide a structured yet flexible approach for managing and delivering work. It fosters collaboration, promotes continuous learning and improvement, and emphasises delivering value to customers incrementally and iteratively.

Non-Tech Scrum in Action

To illustrate the versatility of Scrum, let's consider a few real-world examples of Scrum adoption in non-software environments. Note that these are case studies we’ve heard about and not projects we’ve worked on (for confidentiality reasons, we cannot go into details of our work):

1. Education: The Wellington College in the UK successfully adopted Scrum to manage their curriculum planning process. They organised work into Sprints, had regular Sprint Reviews to assess progress, and used Retrospectives to continuously improve This led to increased visibility, better collaboration, and more efficient delivery.

2. Marketing: A multinational automotive company used Scrum to manage their global marketing campaigns. Their marketing department created a goal for each sprint which was the next step towards their longer term Product Goal. At the end of each sprint they reviewed the outcome with stakeholders and took the feedback into the next sprint. This approach improved communication, efficiency, and allowed faster response to market changes.

3. Construction: A construction company in the Netherlands implemented Scrum to manage a complex, large-scale project. They used Sprints to focus on the next most important stage of the project. They assigned clear Accountabilities of Scrum roles to have a cross functional, self managing team. Each increment of the Project was presented to the customer and stakeholders for feedback. The result was a successful project completed quicker than they expected, with a high degree of customer satisfaction (as they were involved all along the way).

Embracing Scrum in Your Organisation

Adopting Scrum in a non-software environment might require some adjustments to your teams’ ways of working. However, the underlying principles of Scrum are very easy to grasp. 

  • You will have a Scrum Team with clear Accountabilities (Product Owner, Scrum Master, Developers (don’t worry: these are not software engineers. It’s the name Scrum gives to any team member that contributes to delivering the work of the Scrum team).
  • You will work in Sprints, which are consistent timeboxes (up to 1 month in length, but very often just 2 weeks) during which time a team will commit to a specific goal. The team will then make visible their progress towards this goal and also make transparent the outcome of each sprint. 
  • You will also have someone in your organisation (referred to as the Product Owner in Scrum) who will maintain a transparent, emergent and dynamic Product backlog of all known work-to-be-done. 

So conceptually, implementing Scrum in non-technical environments is entirely possible. The key is to approach Scrum as a mindset shift, not merely a change in process.

You might be wondering, "Where do I start?" The first step is gaining a thorough understanding of Scrum and its principles. Investing in professional Scrum training is an excellent starting point.

Next, empower your teams. Scrum thrives on empowered, self-managing teams. Provide your team with the trust and autonomy they need to perform their best.

Finally, prepare for continuous improvement. Scrum is all about learning and adapting. Adopt the mindset of seeing every challenge as an opportunity for improvement.

Conclusion: Broaden Your Horizons with Scrum

While Scrum may have gained popularity in the software industry, its value is universal. Embracing Scrum in non-software environments can unlock significant improvements in productivity, team collaboration, and customer satisfaction.

At Agility Arabia, we're passionate about helping organisations explore and realise the potential of Scrum. Regardless of your industry or department, we're confident that the power of Scrum can transform your approach to work, delivering better outcomes faster and more efficiently. Contact us today for a free initial consultation to explore how we can help.

Read other posts

Checkout what else our team has been writing about