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Dependencies in Scrum: How They’re Handled

Scrum is great for agile teamwork, but sometimes tasks or teams depend on each other to get things done. These dependencies can slow things down if not managed well. In this article, we’ll look at what dependencies are in Scrum and how we deal with them to make sure projects succeed.

What Are Dependencies in Scrum?

Dependencies in Scrum happen when one task or team needs another task or team to finish their work. There are different types:

1.Technical Dependencies: When one task needs something from another task to move forward, like a front-end team needing a back-end team’s work.

2.Sequential Dependencies: Some tasks must be done in a certain order, like designing the user interface before doing front-end work.

3.Resource Dependencies: Limited resources, like experts or special tools, can slow things down because teams have to wait for them.

4.External Dependencies: Sometimes, Scrum teams depend on outside vendors or partners to provide something important.

5.Compliance Dependencies: In projects with rules and regulations, tasks must be done in a certain order to follow the law.

Problems with Unmanaged Dependencies

If we don’t handle dependencies well, it can cause problems:

1.Delays: Projects can slow down when teams have to wait for others.

2.Less Productivity: Team members might not have enough to do, which can lead to lower morale and productivity.

3.Uncertainty: It’s hard to plan when you’re not sure when things will get done.

4.Quality Issues: Rushing to catch up can lead to mistakes and lower quality work.

5.More Risk: Unmanaged dependencies can make projects riskier and more likely to fail.

 How to Manage Dependencies in Scrum

Scrum gives us ways to manage dependencies and reduce their impact:

1.Spot Dependencies Early: Find dependencies as soon as possible in the project.

2.Draw a Map: Use visuals like dependency maps to show how tasks and teams depend on each other.

3.Plan Together: When you plan what to work on next, talk about and prioritize tasks with dependencies.

4.Talk a Lot: Teams should talk daily and during meetings to discuss dependencies and any issues.

5.Fix Dependencies: Teams need to work together to solve dependencies, like sharing resources or changing priorities.

6.Big Picture Meetings: For larger projects or when many teams are involved, hold regular meetings to discuss dependencies.

7.Define “Done”: Make sure your “Definition of Done” includes fixing dependencies before you consider a task complete.

8.Extra Time: Sometimes, you need extra time in your schedule to deal with unexpected delays from dependencies.

9.Learn and Improve: After each part of the project, think about how dependencies were managed and how you can do better next time.

10.Tools: Consider using project management tools that help you keep track of dependencies.

The Scrum Master and Product Owner’s Roles

The Scrum Master and Product Owner are key players in managing dependencies:

Scrum Master: This person helps the team communicate and work well together. They spot and help solve dependencies and remove obstacles.

Product Owner: The Product Owner knows what’s important for the product. They can help the team decide which tasks to do first to handle dependencies better.


Dependencies happen in Scrum, but you can manage them. By finding, mapping, and solving dependencies through talking and teamwork, Scrum teams can stay flexible and deliver what customers need. Just remember that handling dependencies is an ongoing process that gets better with practice in the world of Scrum.

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