Web development: Does it always have to be Scrum?

by Meike Müller

Successful web development knows various approaches. One popular method of developing a web app is Scrum. But does it always have to be Scrum? We would like to answer this question in advance: No, it does not always have to be Scrum. Web-based software applications can also be developed with the help of other methods. We at EXWE are experts in the field of web development and would like to provide you with helpful information for planning your web app in this article. For all questions about web development, we are of course happy to help you. Which alternatives are, we present to you in this article! On the one hand, we would like to show you how Scrum can normally be used in web development and how it becomes a success. On the other hand, we also illuminate when Scrum should not be used and show you the advantages and disadvantages of the process model in an overview. Of course, Scrum is not only used in web app development, but also in the development of custom software or individual applications. In this article, however, we want to focus primarily on web development as an example.

Reading time 4 min

What you can expect
  1. What is Scrum exactly?
  2. How does Scrum work in web development?
  3. When should Scrum not be used?
  4. Overview: Advantages and disadvantages of Scrum
  5. Alternative methods for the creation of web-based software
    1. Extreme Programming
    2. Prototyping
    3. Kanban
  6. How does Kanban work in the development of a web-based software?
  7. Our conclusion

What is Scrum exactly?

If you have already heard the term Scrum, but do not know what it is about, we have summarized the method again for you here. Scrum is an approach to project planning. Scrum is mainly used in agile software development, which also includes web development.

To be able to implement the procedure method, three responsibilities are always determined. These are the developers, the so-called Scrum Master and the Product Owner, i.e. the person who is responsible for the economic success of the web-based software. The developers deal with the implementation of the web application and the Scrum Master ensures compliance with the Scrum approach.

How does Scrum work in web development?

Now, of course, the question is how Scrum works in implementation, especially related to web development. We have put together a short step-by-stepguide for you. With this guide you can understand how Scrum should ideally be used when creating a web app.

1. start a sprint

Sprints are the main component of Scrum. It is the generic term of a section, which in turn contains several steps. Once a sprint is completed, the next sprint starts. Basically, a time frame is always defined for a sprint, which should then also apply to the further sprints. A sprint should not last longer than four weeks.

If Scrum is being used for the first time in a project team, it may be that shorter sprints are used initially in order to find out the optimum sprint duration for the project. Generally, a sprint duration of two weeks has become established.

2nd Sprint Planning

Now the first sprint really begins. In order to make it successful, the first step is Sprint Planning. This involves defining the requirements and goals of the following sprint with regard to the web development project and the applications to be developed. The best way to do this is to clarify the following questions:

  • What should be done in this sprint?
  • How and who will complete these tasks?
  • What added value should this sprint provide at the end, or how does this sprint bring you closer to the goal of final completion of the web app project?
  • Once these questions have been clarified, the product owner takes care of defining the sequence of tasks and passing them on to the developers. Of course, the developers must then also be able to give a realistic assessment of whether these tasks can be implemented in a sprint.

3. the daily business with the Daily Scrum

In the Daily Scrum, mainly the developers, but often also the Product Owner and Scrum Master come together in the morning to exchange all new information in 15 minutes. It is not about solving emerging problems, but to get up to date. All participants tell what they have done since the last Daily Scrum, what the objective will be until the next Daily Scrum and what obstacles there are.

4. after the Daily Scrum

After the 15-minute meeting, the developers can decide for themselves which working method is best for them. The goal is to focus on getting the tasks done by the next Daily Scrum. In principle, it does not matter how the individual achieves this goal.

If questions or problems still arise during the Daily Scrum, these can be clarified in individual small meetings with the participants.

5 Sprint Review

The Sprint Review always takes place at the end of each Sprint. The results of the Sprint are presented to the project managers or the clients. They are asked to give their feedback on the progress made so far. Based on the feedback, the next Sprint can then be better planned.

6. the end of the sprint: The Sprint Retrospective

The really last step of a Sprint is the Sprint Retrospective. Because now all participants of the Sprint should look back and analyze what worked well and what should be improved. The goal should always be to improve cooperation in the web development team and to get the maximum out of it.

When should Scrum not be used?

Scrum can actually be used on any web development project, but it is not always appropriate. In order for this method to work and lead to successful project completion, all participants in each sprint must believe in and be convinced of this way of doing things. One's own motivation is a decisive factor for the outcome of the project. In principle, every developer, the product owner and, of course, the Scrum Master should have a desire for agile web development with Scrum. If this is not the case, Scrum as an approach is not the best decision.

Overview: Advantages and disadvantages of Scrum


Advantages Disadvantages
  • Self-organization in the company is promoted
  • There are few rules for web development with the Scrum method
  • Quickly implementable and understandable for participants
  • Regular meetings and agreements provide transparency
  • After each step, development is improved and successful web-based software can be created
  • It is difficult to keep the whole overview of the project
  • Sprint planning can take up a lot of time
  • Coordination between different web development teams could be difficult
  • Depending on hierarchies, Scrum may not be compatible with the corporate structure
  • Communication effort is very high


Alternative methods for the development of web-based software

Since Scrum does not work for every team, we would now like to introduce you to other process models that you and your team can use to successfully implement the web-based software project.


Extreme Programming

An alternative to Scrum in agile software or web development is Extreme Programming, abbreviated XP. The focus of this approach is on communication. The main focus is on communication between the development team and the client or customer. He should be included in the development and actively participate. In this way, the project should be brought to a quick conclusion. New functionalities are directly implemented, tested and checked by the customer. In this way, the customer can intervene at any point in the development process and give decisive impulses before the project develops in the wrong direction. The concept of Extreme Programming is based primarily on the fact that at the beginning of a project, it is not always clear which functions need to be incorporated and which are perhaps superfluous.

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Customer can actively participate in web development
  • High level of communication
  • If customer is not satisfied with certain solutions, it is possible to react quickly
  • The exchange between the development team and the customer, can lead to the best solutions
  • Constant accessibility of the customer and the development team must be given
  • A project cannot simply be handed over to the development team by the customer, who must have time to participate.
  • Too much exchange can lead to a loss of focus



As the name of this method implies, prototyping is about first creating a prototype, for example of a web-based software. This means that a basis is first created, which can be used to simply sketch out the further course of action. Instead of talking about an abstract model with the customer or within the web development team, the prototype can be used for future development. The customer thus gets a first impression of the final product and can still give his feedback without previous functions having been created in vain.

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Risk of faulty development decreases
  • Problems can be identified through the prototype
  • No wasted working time, as work can continue on the prototype even after the customer has viewed it
  • The customer's requirements are not sufficiently documented in the development teams



Kanban originally comes from the Toyota production system. For the use in the IT above all elements, which are used also with the lean production or with the lean development, are established. The steps from the automotive industry are not reflected in software and web development in this way.

Simplified said, unnecessary processes are to be uncovered and avoided with the Lean-Development. For the Kanban method this plays likewise a large role. Above all, projects should be developed quickly without sacrificing quality.

Kanban was introduced into the information technology by David Anderson, who formulated four basic principles. We want to introduce these to you briefly:


1. finish first a task

Before you start another task, you should first finish the task you are currently doing. So you start each day with what is currently your task before moving on to the next step.

2. always have improvement in mind

Another basic principle of Kanban is that you constantly improve and develop yourself, your way of working and your project by taking small steps.

3. find harmony with already existing procedures

Some things do not need to be changed if they work well. Kanban can also be used in parallel.

4. dare to make suggestions for improvement

Behind Kanban is also that everyone involved may and should contribute, if it contributes to the improvement.


How does Kanban work in the development of a web-based software?

With the Kanban methodology with visualization one works, in order to be able to see at each time the current status of a task. For this a so-called Kanban board is used, which shows different columns. The columns show the current status of a single task or a task package. The individual tasks are again noted on cards and contain all important information about the implementation and goal setting as well as the degree of importance. If the status of a task changes, the corresponding card is moved to the next column.

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Kanban provides guiding principles that are also compatible with Scrum.
  • Can be introduced gradually
  • The entire team is informed about the status of tasks at all times.
  • Projects that need to be planned over a longer period of time are difficult to implement with the Kanban board
  • Also a large team is rather opposed to the board. The overview is lost.
  • Basic principles must be considered, since Kanban does not determine a firm expiration.


Our conclusion

We hope, you could get a good overview of the procedures by our article. But in the end it always depends on which approach the development team of your company is interested in. Therefore, it does not hurt to test different models first. In the end, the model that was the best to implement and that the developers liked the most can be used for future projects. Maybe your team will even develop its own strategy that includes elements from all process models. The bottom line is that the end product is important. How it gets to that product doesn't have to fit into a known process schema. But if you and your company need more help with web development, feel free to contact us. We will be happy to assist you and answer any questions you may have.


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from 10.12.2021

Hello, my name is Meike. I take care of the EXWE back office and am responsible for our social media channels. All of our articles are meant to make your life easier and help you make decisions. Nevertheless, it can happen that something remains unclear, so: If you have questions about this article you can easily reach me at +49 231 93149827.

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