Skip to main content

Scrum in hybrid HW and SW environment

Last post 12:34 am February 10, 2016 by Sergio Miguel da Silva Carrilho
4 replies
08:25 pm February 7, 2016

Hi all,

Does someone have experience on being a scrum master for a SW team working with an HW project.
In other words, if there is a physical product being made, with the HW schedule being managed by a HW project manager, and you are a scrum master for the SW (drivers, features, etc). It seems like in this case scrum is quite challenging since SW will have to comply to the HW plan, which usually follows a waterfall process (considering that requirements are known and understood beforehand and there is experience building such product).
In this case do you have any ideas on how reconcile scrum practiced in SW with the main HW project, considering that reports are needed and HW deadlines have to be accomplished, which affects sprint durations, forces some items to the sprint backlog, etc.


10:04 am February 9, 2016

Hi Sergio,

If the HW can be build beforehand and the SW needs to be installed in the HW, than I don't see the problem.

It depends on the relationship/dependency between the HW and SW.

Cheers, Cheehong

12:19 pm February 9, 2016

> It seems like in this case scrum is quite
> challenging since SW will have to comply to the HW plan...

Increased certainty does not make Scrum more challenging, as it does not preclude iterative and incremental delivery. It may however create the illusion that risks are under control and that such mechanisms are therefore unnecessary.

01:12 pm February 9, 2016

I have had a situation like this. What we did was that we wrote software that simulated the hardware under development, so we could pretty much create the software independently. This was also a good exercise to make the hardware / software interface very explicit.

If this approach could work for you depends how close you are to the hardware and if you can find an abstraction level to make the cut between h/w and s/w.

12:34 am February 10, 2016

Hi all, Thanks for the replies.

Actually when talking about SW and HW relation, I mean not only an application on top of existing HW, but also components such as firmware and device drivers which are dependent on HW. At the end of each sprint we aim at having a potentially shippable product increment. With HW dependent items bound to a schedule and pushed high in the backlog in order to comply with milestones, it may difficult to achieve this goal.

Take as an example a new portable audio player where the HW and Mech follow a predictable process (if the company has experience with this kind of product) and fixed HW requirements. Then for SW there are some requirements such as the sound quality (HiRes, etc), file format support, DRM, power management, etc and a music app.

For the music app, it can be developed more or less independently of the HW and Scrum works great since the feedback loops will help creating a good product and the releases are flexible. But I wonder if for SW components related to the HW, it is more efficient to use a different process or both can be merged in a single "Product SW" process (e.g. using the same backlog) and find some way to work in tandem with the HW milestone plan.

By posting on our forums you are agreeing to our Terms of Use.

Please note that the first and last name from your member profile will be displayed next to any topic or comment you post on the forums. For privacy concerns, we cannot allow you to post email addresses. All user-submitted content on our Forums may be subject to deletion if it is found to be in violation of our Terms of Use. does not endorse user-submitted content or the content of links to any third-party websites.

Terms of Use may, at its discretion, remove any post that it deems unsuitable for these forums. Unsuitable post content includes, but is not limited to, Professional-level assessment questions and answers, profanity, insults, racism or sexually explicit content. Using our forum as a platform for the marketing and solicitation of products or services is also prohibited. Forum members who post content deemed unsuitable by may have their access revoked at any time, without warning. may, but is not obliged to, monitor submissions.