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Rethinking Planning in Scrum: From Project Management to Agile Mastery (From PM to PSM 18)

July 4, 2024

The Planning Performance Domain in traditional project management provides a framework for organized and coordinated project progression. However, in transitioning to a Scrum Master role, the approach to planning undergoes a significant shift. Scrum embraces a more adaptive, iterative planning process, acknowledging the fallacy of small numbers - the idea that increased detail in long-term planning often leads to larger margins of error.

Potential dangers for project Managers, just picking out two from my experiences:

  • Overemphasis on Detailed Long-Term Plans: Relying heavily on detailed long-term plans can lead to rigidity and inaccuracies, as it fails to accommodate the inevitable changes and uncertainties in a project.
  • Misalignment with Empirical Process Control: Traditional project management often prioritizes upfront, comprehensive planning. In Scrum, this approach clashes with the empirical nature of Scrum, which values adaptability and learning from real-world results over theoretical predictions..

Useful Experiences and Skills:

  • Holistic Approach to Planning: Your experience in holistic project planning can be valuable in Scrum's Product Backlog management, ensuring that all aspects of the product's future are considered.
  • Adaptation Skills: Your ability to adapt plans based on changing needs aligns well with Scrum’s principle of inspecting and adapting the Product Backlog and Sprint Goals.

Steps you can take as Project Manager to transition to a professional use of the Scrum framework:

  • Embrace Iterative Planning: Shift from a detailed long-term planning approach to an iterative process. Focus on creating a Product Backlog that outlines the longer-term vision and a Sprint Backlog for short-term goals.
  • Acknowledge the Limitations of Detail: Recognize that detailed planning is waste, even for the short term. Teams gaining new insights every day must be able to use these on the spot without the need for detailed replanning. For longer-term planning, maintain a broader focus on goals and outcomes rather than detailed scope.
  • Increase Focus on Collaboration and Adaptation: Planning is a team activity. Involve the Scrum Team and stakeholders. This collaboration ensures that plans are continuously adapted based on team input and stakeholder feedback, aligning with Scrum's values of openness and respect.



As a project manager transitioning to a Scrum Master, rethinking your approach to planning is crucial. It involves recognizing the limitations of detailed planning, embracing iterative and adaptive planning methods, and shifting to team-owned planning. This transition not only aligns with the Scrum framework but also enhances the team's agility and responsiveness to change.

Next Step:

Reflect on how you can apply your planning expertise to foster an agile, team-oriented environment. 


Exploring this project management aspect within Scrum reveals a complex relationship between project management skills and agile practices which we only just touched upon. Project Managers can bring valuable expertise to a Scrum team, but realizing its full potential only happens when the skills are adapted and applied to each unique Scrum Team’s context.

I hope you find value in these short articles and if you are looking for more clarifications, feel free to take contact.



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Wishing you an inspiring read and a wonderful journey.
Scrum on.





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