In project negotiations I'm sometimes getting told that Scrum is not an option at customer side as cooperation model. From Customer point of view Scrum generates a management overhead, by a lot of additional meetings and customer doesn’t have whether capacities, nor won’t pay for.

 Of course such statements came from Scrum Newby’s, however lets make an example calculation of "overhead

“ and find my conclusions from the field about.

First let’s imagine we do a one-week sprint. As you know all rituals in scrum are time boxed relatively to sprint length. Only exception is 

daily Scrum Meeting, that is always 15 minutes in maximum.

 I’ve visualized below possible schedule of all rituals, while light gray area’s is "productive" implementation time.

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Already according the painting above it’s visible that there is just a minimal „overhead“. However, lets make a example calculations: 

  • a development team of 5 Full-time Employees (FTE’s)
  • a day has 8 working hours
  • Scrum Master is attending all Meetings, that is covered by a Scrum Expert of the 5 Developers 
  • Product Owner is as much as possible accessible by team and will attend all meetings of Scrum

Topic

Capacity [Hours]

Description

Total Capacity of Development Team

200

[COUNT OF FULL-TIME-EMPLOYEE] X [8 HOURS] X [5 DAYS]

Scrum Master „Overhead"

- 4.75

[PLANNING] + [ALL DAILY SCRUM’S] + [REVIEW]

 + [RETROSPECTIVE]

Team "Overhead"

- 19

([COUNT OF FULL-TIME-EMPLOYEE] - 1) X 

[PLANNING] + [ALL DAILY SCRUM’S] + [REVIEW]

 + [RETROSPECTIVE]

„Real“ Team Capacity

176.25

Product Owner „Overhead"

4.75

[PLANNING] + [ALL DAILY SCRUM’S] + [REVIEW]

 + [RETROSPECTIVE]

Find below my conclusions related to the calculations of various "overhead’s" above:

Team

Using Scrum the team has in general a 

productivity time of 88.1%

. From experience everything more than 80% is 

very good 

comparing to traditional approaches

. As Scrum keeps Product Backlog Items ready in advance, continous delivery and high workload is guaranteed. If we break down „overhead" for one employee we’re talking about 4.75 hours per week. If we reduce this by 3 hours of planning/review meeting, that could be counted to productive time too, a team member just „looses“ 1.75 hours. This could be explained as a regular weekly status meeting in a traditional approach, without benefits of Scrum in general.

Scrum Master

The Scrum Master won’t usually attend to all the meetings, but he ensures that those take place. However, there are other tasks e.g. removement of impediments, facilitation of team members, etc that need additional time. From experience 1.9% time usage for Scrum Master could be realistic for a 

well rehearsed scrum team. On the other hand development teams in traditional cooperation models are not self organized and need a team leader in area of 20% similar to a technical project manager, that will be for sure more than time usage of a Scrum Master.

Product Owner

Even if Product Owner needs additional 10% of his time for direct clarifications an

 experience Product Owner could work it out with 11.9% of his time. This is far away better than usual time needed for Project Management (usually 20% in minimum), Business Analyses (30% of all project time), etc. This contains just cooperation with team and obviously time for stakeholder management, product refinement, etc have to be added. However this customers often forget to count in traditional approaches.

In general Scrum generates a smaller overhead for additional meetings, than traditional approaches. But those meetings ensures continous communication and delivery. Together with the short delivery cycles and the daily Scrum Meetings Scrum reduce risks and ensure business success. On top Scrum could improve delivery performance 2 - 8 times and spare additional costs by delivering faster. 

Sorry Newby's, don’t denounce Scrum if you don’t know it :-). 

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