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There is a big myth that Scrum works only on small projects but in reality, Scrum deals with complex problems, and these complex problems may be big or small. Scrum is meant for solving complex problems and drives out high efficiency of work.

Complex Problems are problems where “Unknowns are more than Knowns” now just think if you have a problem which has too many unknowns would it be easier to solve? Most likely not.

Now if you want to solve these problems you have two options

  1. Wait for a perfect day when you will convert all the unknows into known
  2. Do not wait for that perfect day as it is never going to come and start building solutions to your problem and as time will pass you will learn more about the problem and be willing to fail during this process.

This article below is for you if you choose option 2 else wait for the perfect day.

So, let’s start the Journey of solving Complex Problems for which you need to understand EMPIRICISM – It asserts

  1. Knowledge comes from experience
  2. Make decisions from what is observed

These complex problems need decision making based on what had been done in the recent past and it is extremely difficult to set decisions based on long assumptions, Scrum framework is based on empirical process and this is the reason it is used for solving complex problems, as we understand complex problems could be of any size and it is nothing to do with the usage of any framework or scrum.

This is a common misconception that Scrum is only used for small projects just because many leaders fail to accomplish the principle of the scrum, but now we understand the process of solving complex problems which need a Scrum Master in any project instead of focusing on the size of the problem. Let’s see a few examples of massive complex problems to understand this topic more clearly.

The amalgamation of banks – when two banks merge or separate, many unknown factors affect the process. Also, these unknown factors affect the resultant product. Let’s suppose one bank is more like a risk-taking bank, they offer products like investment on equity, commodities, and derivatives. On the other hand, second banks have more conservative products like government policies, fixed deposits, and company fixed deposits. Now, what would be the resultant product of newly merged banks? Would the new bank offer both products or would they offer some other combination of products? There are lots of possibilities here. Would the customers of risk-taking banks accept the product of the newly formed bank and vice versa? There are lots of unknown factors here. There will be no solution for such problems unless things are tried out. As a new business, you have to try every possible combination to find out the best one for your organization, and also getting feedback from the customers about products will help you more.

The covid crisis – COVID-19 pandemic where we faced urgency for the development of a vaccine for an unpredictable disease, with two folded situations: either develop a vaccine to prevent the disease or develop an antibiotic and medicine to kill the virus if anyone gets infected. In this case, we knew the requirement but both the solutions were unknowns, and the situation was not only about how the disease is affecting patients but how quick this infection spreading was unpredictable and we know how scientists have prepared vaccines with trial-and-error approach based on the past knowledge of various viruses, throughout this we can understand how complex problem where the decision can only be taken based on what has been done in the recent past.

The idea of trying things is to shorten your planning horizons. If something does not work for you now, then don’t wait for the right time, try something else. And if you find the right solution then try something else to make it stronger. Isn’t this approach making scrum a good way to deal with such problems? The scrum approach helps to shorten the planning horizon to 1 month then use the 2 pillars of scrum i.e., adaptation and inspection. Focus on Sprint Goals, sprint planning, and daily discussion. Implying product backlog is a great way to monitor the changing requirements, as you move forward with problems. Therefore, with these examples, we can safely say that “SCRUM IS NOT ONLY FOR SMALL PROBLEMS instead helps solves COMPLEX PROBLEMS OF ALL SIZES”.


The size of the project has nothing to do with the use of Scrum. Naturally, the approach for solving complex kinds of problems is to shorten your planning horizons and scrum works on the way of solving such problems by shortening the planning horizons and using the inspect-adapt cycles which we know as Sprint cycle, Daily Scrums, and Sprint planning. So, it must be clear now it is a myth that scrum is only for small projects.

Scrum is being used for complex problems for small as well as large projects with where continuous Transparency, Inspection and Adaptation is necessary and decisions must be taken based on the observation of Scrum Master and Scrum Team, with the combination of five scrum events.

(Sprint, Sprint Planning, Daily Scrum, Sprint Review and Sprint Retrospective) they observe what is happening based on the feedback received and adapt to changes, Scrum is based on empiricism that asserts knowledge comes from experience and making a decision on what is being observed and Scrum upholds 3 pillars of empiricism – Transparency, Inspection & Adaptation.

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