Confirming Benefits, the Scrum Way
It is not the delivery of project’s outputs that determines the success or failure of a project but the
delivery of the project’s benefits. In this piece of writing, let’s try to understand Scrum’s approach to
realization and confirmation of expected benefits of a project.
Throughout a project, it is important to verify whether benefits are being realized. Whether the
products of a Scrum project are tangible or intangible, appropriate benefit realization planning and
verification techniques are required to confirm that the project deliverables with benefits and value
are being created by the Scrum team members. So a well-structured benefit realization plan helps
the teams map benefits of individual projects to the overall programme and corporate strategic
objectives. This also helps in tracking the identified benefits even after completion of Scrum project
and handover of deliverables
At the beginning of the project, all the project outputs, outcomes and benefits expected by the
user groups and other key stakeholders should be identified and documented. And a means of
measuring benefits, key responsibilities and accountabilities associated with benefits, time of benefit
realization, etc. should also be agreed. At pre-determined intervals, the team should review the
benefit realization plan to assess the status of expected benefits and to incorporate any changes in
the forecast of realization of benefits.
Now, let’s look at some of the ways of confirming benefits. Some useful techniques are use of
prototypes, simulations, workshops, demonstrations etc. Demonstrating prototypes to customers
and simulating their functionalities are commonly used techniques for confirming value. Often,
after using the features or having them demonstrated, customers can more clearly determine
whether the features are adequate and suitable for their needs. They might realize a need for
additional features, or may decide to modify previously defined feature requirements. In product
development, this customer experience has come to be known as IKIWISI (I’ll Know It When I See It).
Through demonstrations or access to early iterations, customers can also evaluate to what degree
the team has successfully interpreted their requirements and met their expectations.