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Application or Product Focus

For applications or products – either for the market or for internal use within an organization – Scrum moves groups away from the older project-centric model toward a continuous application/product development model. There is no longer a project with a beginning, middle, and end. And hence, no traditional project manager. Rather, there is simply a stable Product Owner and a long-lived self-managing Team that collaborate in an “endless” series of fixed-length Sprints, until the product or application is retired. All necessary “project” management work is handled by the Team and the Product Owner – who is an internal business customer or from Product Management. It is not managed by an IT manager or someone from a Project Management Office.

Scrum can also be used for true projects that are one-time initiatives (rather than work to create or evolve long-lived applications); still, in this case the Team and Product Owner do the project management.

What if there is insufficient new work from one or more existing applications to warrant a dedicated long-lived Team for each application? In this case, a stable long-lived Team may take on items from one application in one Sprint, and then items from another in the next Sprint; in this situation the Sprints are often quite short, such as one week.

Occasionally, there is insufficient new work even for the prior solution, and the Team may take on items from several applications during the same Sprint; however, beware this solution as it may devolve into unproductive multitasking across multiple applications. A basic productivity theme in Scrum is for the Team to be focused on one product or application for one Sprint.