Web development: Does it always have to be Scrum?

by Meike Müller

There are many different approaches to successful web development. One popular method for developing a web app is Scrum. But does it always have to be Scrum? We're happy to give you the answer in advance: no, it doesn't 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 use this article to provide you with helpful information on planning your web app. We will of course be happy to answer any questions you may have about web development, and in this article we will show you which alternatives are available! On the one hand, we would also like to show you how Scrum can normally be used in web development and how it can be a success. On the other hand, we will also shed light on 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 exactly is Scrum?
  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 creating web-based software
    1. Extreme programming
    2. prototyping
    3. Kanban
  6. How does Kanban work in the development of web-based software?
  7. Our conclusion

What exactly is Scrum?

If you have already heard the term Scrum but don't know what it is, we have summarized the method for you here. Scrum is an approach to project planning. Scrum is primarily used in agile software development, which also includes web development.

In order to implement the process method, three responsibilities are always defined. These are the developers, the so-called Scrum Master and the Product Owner, i.e. the person who is responsible for the commercial 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 procedure.

How does Scrum work in web development?

Now, of course, the question is how Scrum works in implementation, especially in relation to web development. We have put together a short step-by-step guide. 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 for a section, which in turn contains several steps. Once a sprint is completed, the next sprint starts. In principle, a time frame is always set for a sprint, which should then also apply to the subsequent sprints. A sprint should not last longer than four weeks.

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

2. sprint planning

Now the first sprint really begins. To ensure that it is successful, the first step is sprint planning. This involves defining the requirements and objectives 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 offer at the end and how will this sprint bring us closer to the 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. day-to-day business with the Daily Scrum

In the Daily Scrum, the developers in particular, but often also the Product Owner and Scrum Master, come together in the morning to exchange all new information in 15 minutes. The aim is not to solve any problems that arise, but to bring everyone up to date. All participants talk about 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 aim is to concentrate on completing the tasks until the next Daily Scrum. In principle, it does not matter how the individual person achieves this goal.

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

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 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 real last step of a sprint is the sprint retrospective. This is when all participants in the sprint should look back and analyze what worked well and what needs to be improved. The aim should always be to improve collaboration in the web development team and get the most out of it.

When should Scrum not be used?

Scrum can actually be used in every web development project, but it is not always useful. For this method to work and lead to a successful project completion, all participants in the individual sprints must believe in this type of approach and be convinced by it. Their 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 be keen on 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 encouraged
  • There are few rules for web development with the Scrum method
  • Quick to implement and understandable for participants
  • Regular meetings and agreements ensure transparency
  • Development is improved after each step and successful, web-based software can be created
  • It is difficult to maintain a complete overview of the project
  • Sprint planning can take up a lot of time
  • Coordination between different web development teams can be difficult
  • Depending on hierarchies, Scrum may not be compatible with the company structure
  • Communication effort is very high

Alternative methods for the development of web-based software

As 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, or XP for short. The focus of this approach is on communication. The main focus here is on communication between the development team and the client or customer. They should be included in the development process and actively participate. This should enable the project to be completed quickly. New functionalities are implemented directly, tested and checked by the customer. This allows the customer to intervene at any point in the development process and provide decisive impetus before the project develops in the wrong direction. The concept of extreme programming is primarily based on the fact that it is not always clear at the start of a project which functions need to be implemented and which may be superfluous.

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Customer can actively participate in web development
  • High willingness to communicate
  • If the 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
  • The customer and the development team must be available at all times
  • The customer cannot simply hand over a project to the development team, they must have time to participate
  • Focus can be lost through too much exchange


As the name of this method suggests, prototyping involves first creating a prototype, for example of web-based software. In other words, a basis is first created that can be used to simply sketch out the next steps. Instead of discussing an abstract model with the customer or within the web development team, the prototype can be used for future development. The customer gets a first impression of the end product and can still give feedback without previous functions having been created in vain.

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Reduces the risk of faulty development
  • 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 development teams


Kanban originally comes from the Toyota production system. Elements that are also used in lean production or lean development are primarily established for use in IT. The steps from the automotive industry are not reflected in software and web development.

Put simply, the aim of lean development is to identify and avoid unnecessary processes. This also plays a major role in the Kanban method. Above all, projects should be developed quickly without sacrificing quality.

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

1. finish a task first

Before you start working on another task, you should first finish the task you are currently working on. So start each day with the task you are currently working on 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 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

Kanban also means that everyone involved can and should get involved if it contributes to improvement.

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

The Kanban methodology works with visualization in order to be able to view the current status of a task at any time. A so-called Kanban board is used for this purpose, which displays various columns. The columns show the current status of an individual task or task package. The individual tasks are in turn noted on cards and contain all important information on implementation and objectives 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 have to be planned over a longer period of time are difficult to implement with the Kanban board
  • A large team also tends to work against the board. The overview is lost.
  • Basic principles must be observed, as Kanban does not define a fixed process.

Our conclusion

We hope our article has given you a good overview of the procedures. But in the end, it always depends on which approach your company's development team wants to take. That's why it doesn't hurt to test different models first. In the end, the model that was best to implement and that the developers liked the most can be used for future projects. Perhaps your team will even develop its own strategy that contains elements from all process models. The bottom line is that the end product must be right. How this product is created does not have to fit into a known process model. However, if you and your company need further help with web development, feel free to contact us. We will be happy to assist you and answer any questions you may have.

Was ist dein Projekt? Wenn du uns darüber erzählen möchtest, rufen wir dich zurück!

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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