Thought Leadership
8 minutes

While many people in the tech industry are familiar with the concept of Scrum, they may not know how the process works, the advantages and disadvantages, and when to apply Scrum framework.

In this article, we will share expert insights about Scrum from one of Softjourn’s certified Scrum Masters, Christina Lukynyuk. Christina is uniquely experienced in being both a Scrum Master and a Project Manager on a variety of projects.

We will also answer the most popular questions we’ve heard about Scrum – from whether you really need a Scrum master to how to tell if Scrum is the right framework for your project.

What is Scrum

What is Scrum?

Scrum is a framework for project management that allows teams to work on solving complex problems or projects. The Scrum process has a deep emphasis on teamwork, accountability, communication, and transparency. 

Scrum Pillars

The framework appears simple: Set small, well-defined goals and observe what can be seen or done to achieve them. Track the progress and get feedback from the team and product owner, then change or adapt as necessary.

The Scrum process encourages the team to work with what they have and continually evaluate what is or is not working. Regular team meetings are essential since communication, transparency, and team development are key to proper Scrumming.

In Scrum, teams are usually made up of five to nine people, and working together is greatly encouraged. This results in faster coding completion time with better quality, as well as good relationships between team members.

How is the Scrum Framework Applied?

There are three main roles that surmise the major pieces of Scrum – the Product Owner, the Scrum Team, and the Scrum Master. Together, they follow this cycle:

  1. The product owner creates a product backlog which serves as a ‘wishlist’ of tasks that should be prioritized in a project
  2. A certified Scrum Master sets up the Scrum process, guides the team, and keeps them focused, motivated, and well connected with the product owner
  3. The Scrum team conducts sprint planning sessions where they break down the product backlog into smaller and more manageable tasks
  4. The team creates a sprint backlog and plans its implementation
  5. The team decides on a time duration for each sprint, commonly two weeks
  6. The team gets together every day for a brief daily Standup, where each team member shares their progress and updates, allowing the Scrum master (and sometimes project manager) to assess how the team is doing and if there are any obstacles in their way
  7. The stakeholders and the product owner conduct a review at the end of each sprint with feedback for team
  8. The Scrum master holds a retrospective meeting each week with the team to discuss what went well and what could be improved
  9. The feedback from the product review and the retrospective meeting is applied and changes are made when needed. You could also utilize anonymous employee survey tools upon completion of a project to ascertain what the team really thought of the process - and make adjustments as necessary for your next Scrum cycle. 

Scrum Framework

What does a Scrum Master do?

The Scrum master is the figurehead of the Scrum team who is responsible for championing a project, setting up the Scrum process, providing guidance and motivation to team members and the product owner, and ensuring that scrum values and practices are followed by the team. 

Since Scrum masters are at the nexus between the product owner and teams, a Scrum master’s responsibilities differ based on the unique needs of each individual and on the goals of a project. 

Here is a brief rundown of the five chief things that Scrum Masters are responsible for:

  • Spotting & Removing Obstacles - There will always be blockers during any project, so it’s the job of a Scrum Master to work hard to identify them and help the team resolve issues that prevent progress.
  • Improving Scrum Usage - A great Scrum Master observes how their team applies the values that are important to Scrum and determines if they need improvement. If a member is struggling with a certain skill, the Scrum Master will point out what needs to be improved to strengthen the process. By doing this, the Scrum Master will be assured that members of the team recognize where they need to grow and learn valuable lessons so they can work better together.
  • Training, Mentoring, and Advocating - It is essential for the team to learn about the Scrum process and how to improve working as a team. It is the Scrum Masters' job to help team members develop better organizational skills. Additionally, some Scrum masters find it important to advocate for their team members, especially in meetings with senior-level professionals or the product owner. 
  • Inspiring Learning and Adaptation - A good Scrum Master uses challenges and places of improvement as learning experiences for their team, which helps the team grow stronger and enhances the quality of their work.
  • Improving Communication - A successful Scrum team is one that communicates well. Scrum Masters strive to make Scrum meetings more efficient and effective, helping team members to focus on collaboration and think retrospectively about their work. The results of the meetings should be small, actionable, and assignable. However, a Scrum master does not necessarily have to facilitate all meetings. 

Scrum Master is Responsible for

Can You do Scrum Without a Scrum Master?

Some people may say that a Scrum Master is unnecessary because their team is already aware of how to do Scrum and is organized enough. However, their Scrum process will likely suffer more than they realize without a great Scrum master.

At the business level, the Scrum master creates a development environment that is productive, safe, highly collaborative, and supportive. While these ideals may not seem necessary at first glance, they build team satisfaction which is extremely important to prevent burnout. An over-stressed and disorganized team can create expensive and embarrassing errors on the client side, and unhappy developers who will likely seek greener pastures.

“It’s my job to advocate for my team so they don’t get too stressed - otherwise errors can occur. The team must work at a sustainable pace that they set for themselves. A good Scrum team optimizes processes and doesn’t take on too heavy of a workload. This is how I assure that my teams give their best quality of work.” - Christina Lukynyuk, Scrum Master


At the product owner level, the Scrum Master helps facilitate planning and helps the product owners understand and adhere to Scrum practices. Our Scrum Master makes sure the product owner knows exactly what the team will deliver at the end of the sprint and the status of the tasks at any time. This way the product owner can plan for the work ahead using the metrics, timeline, and data set by the Scrum Master. 

At the team level, the Scrum Master provides guidance, coaching, support, and some facilitation, while helping the team as a whole learn how to identify and remove any obstacles they may encounter along the way. Without a Scrum Master, the Scrum Team will have a hard time becoming the best version of itself.

Finally, at the individual level, the Scrum master supports team members to set smart and realistic goals, address issues that are preventing their progress, strengthen their skill sets, and develop effective and productive communication with their team. 

In summary, a Scrum Master can be a huge factor in the overall quality of a product, the relationship with a client or product owner, and how well a team follows and benefits from Scrum. 

“A Scrum Master's work is rarely seen, but is shown by the quality of the work. Sometimes Scrum Masters try to take on extra work to prove their value, but in reality, we are supposed to be observing the team, setting up the process, and helping teams become self-sufficient so they can manage themselves.” - Christina Lukynyuk, Scrum Master


What’s the Difference Between a Scrum Master and a Project Manager?

We commonly hear the question of how a Scrum Master differs from a Project Manager. While there are some similarities between the two roles, overall they are quite different from each other, especially in the amount of involvement in the project. 

Scrum Master Project Manager

For projects using agile methodologies, a Scrum master is a key role. They will take on the role of a facilitator and coach for agile development teams in ensuring products are delivered on time with the quality specified. 

For most types of projects, a project manager takes the lead role in all phases and activities of a project, such as planning, leading, managing, monitoring, and closing.

Support product owners throughout product development.

Determine, document, and manage the scope of a project, requirements, progress, tasks, milestones, timelines, budget, and resources.

Lead Scrum meetings and provide team support during sprint planning and execution. They do not necessarily facilitate all team meetings.

Manage project timelines and meetings.

Assist teams with prioritizing and managing of sprint backlog; never assigns tasks

Determines and assigns tasks and priorities, as well as allocating, monitoring, and managing project resources. 

Train and Mentor the Team to become self-sufficient

Lead and mentor project teams.

Help teams identify and deal with any barriers to successful delivery

Develop strategies for managing risks, as well as risk tracking.

Advocate on the team’s behalf to stakeholders and product owners

Manage stakeholders and communicate to them the task, milestone, and project progress and any changes made to it.

A job well done is a self-managing team that follows the Scrum principles.

A job well done is when the project goals are met, and the project and activities have been closed out.

There can be both a Project Manager and a Scrum Master on a Scrum team, one, or none - it just depends on the needs of the project and the team. 

Scrum masters are recommended for the start of projects, especially for working with mature teams that can organize processes by themselves and don’t want too much management but need a leader. 

On the other hand, young teams usually need a project manager to tell them how to come to a solution and whether the project goals are met.

“When a team has been taught to become self-sufficient on a project and manage the Scrum principles by themselves, that’s when the Scrum Master can leave. When a team takes responsibility for a project, that is a true testament to a job well done by a Scrum Master.” - Christina Lukynyuk, Scrum Master


What are the Benefits of Using Scrum?

  • Scrum helps teams complete project deliverables quickly and efficiently because work is done by the development team simultaneously rather than sequentially
  • Scrum ensures productivity meaning an effective use of time and money
  • Large projects are divided into easily manageable sprints
  • Developments are coded and tested in a demo during each sprint review
  • The team provides more transparency to each other and the product owner giving clearer project insights
  • Scrum, being agile with short sprints, is flexible and uses feedback from customers and stakeholders
  • The individual effort of each team member is visible during daily scrum meetings which can create better employee engagement and higher team morale
  • Retrospective meetings help the team improve

Disadvantages of Scrum

Like every framework, Scrum also has some disadvantages to keep in mind when selecting how to organize your project.

  • Since there are often no definitive end-dates for tasks, Scrum can lead to scope creep
  • If the individuals aren't very committed, communicative, or collaborative, the project can fail
  • The framework works better with experienced team members, so junior-level teams may need a more hands-on approach
  • Daily meetings sometimes frustrate team members
  • If a team member leaves in the middle of a project, it can have a negative impact on the project
  • Newcomers to a project need onboarding for the project and the Scrum principles
  • Quality is hard to implement until the team goes through an aggressive testing process
“It can be difficult to measure some values of Scrum. Like how can you really measure transparency or communication? You need an experienced Scrum Master to analyze and capture this.” - Christina Lukynyuk, Scrum Master


Proper planning and smart decision-making can help you get past these challenges of Scrum methodology. The best way to do these things is with an effective and experienced Scrum Master who can help the team avoid pitfalls and support the process.

“In some cases, Scrum is best combined with other project management techniques and frameworks, in order to avoid some drawbacks.” - Christina Lukynyuk, Scrum Master


Is Scrum the Right Framework for My Project?

When considering if Scrum might be the right project management framework for your development, keep in mind what type of goals you have for your project, the size and location of your teams, and what your users expect from the product.

Scrum may be well-suited if you want:

  • A quick and high-quality release of usable products to users and customers
  • Fast-moving development of your product (especially for complex projects on a time crunch!)
  • Boosted team productivity and morale
  • Greater flexibility to incorporate changes as they occur 
  • To prioritize the release of some parts earlier than others (Users can see usable portions of completed product quicker and report back their findings)
  • Constant project and team improvement
  • Teams to work well together even on different timezones
“Our team and our client’s team are in different time zone, so it’s helpful to have a scrum master to ensure that there is a lot of transparency on what is going on in the team. It helps us connect teams working across the world.” - Christina Lukynyuk, Scrum Master


Scrum is probably not a great fit if you:

  • Want a constant scope and have a clear product goal
  • Don’t expect the need for changes or flexibility
  • Don’t require any additional user testing
  • If you want your product to launch all at once, and not one piece at a time
  • If you have a large team (an ideal Scrum team is less than 9 people)
  • For teams that have last-minute tasks, don’t need to plan in advanced, and have tasks of equal priority (like DevOps).
“Scrum doesn’t work for every project, team, or technical professional. An example we’ve seen at Softjourn is the difficulty to implement Scrum for DevOps teams as it doesn’t work well with the types of work they do. Frameworks, like Kanban, work better for DevOps. However, Kanban, Scrum, and other frameworks aren't mutually exclusive and can actually complement each other well. When Kanban and Scrum are used in conjunction, DevOps teams are sometimes able to complete fast development cycles even faster.” - Christina Lukynyuk, Scrum Master



When deciding what project management framework to implement, it works best to see the requirements of the project and what you need to achieve, then check how each framework will work for the team. 

A best practice is to use different pieces of frameworks, combine them, and tailor them to what works best for the team. Just like Scrum, consider your project management to be flexible so you can see what works, adapt, and improve your process over time.

If you have questions about Scrum or are interested in seeing how a Scrum Master and Scrum Team can enhance your team, don’t hesitate to contact us!

Christina Lukynyuk - Scrum Master SoftjournAbout Christina Lukynyuk: Christina has been a Scrum Master at Softjourn for four years, and a Project Manager for nearly five years. She traveled to the US to learn the best strategies for implementing the Scrum framework and has recently received an Atlassian Jira Project Management Certification. Christina uses creativity and research to make Scrum equally fun and beneficial for the two teams she currently oversees. Christina has a Master’s degree from Ivano-Frankivsk National University and has worked as a professional English translator.