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What agile project management with HERMES and SCRUM is all about

To deal with the complexity of developing products and systems, many developers prefer to use an agile method. One such method is SCRUM, which is used here as an example to show how HERMES interacts with agile development.

The Position of Agile Development in the Phase Model

HERMES covers the entire lifecycle of the project. SCRUM regulates how the development team is organized and how it is steered. However, the development team does not need to be aware of the transitions between the phases. In fact, the development team has little to do with project steering since it is driven by the product backlog and the sprint backlog.

The project sponsor and the project manager still move through the phases with its decision tasks; the same goes for the steering, management, and execution milestones. In an agile development project, the project sponsor and project manager still carry out their project steering and project management tasks, respectively, since these are not covered by SCRUM.

The figure above shows how agile development occurs along the HERMES phases.

In using agile development with SCRUM, the development team focuses on the following targets as the project moves through the phases:

Initiation: In the Initiation phase, the focus is on conducting a study with various options. Accordingly, no development takes place in this phase.

Concept: In the concept phase, once the development partners are confirmed and the development scope clearly defined, SCRUM can be introduced for the agile development. In order to do so, the Agile Development module is utilized.

First, the Decide on Agile Development Using SCRUM task is carried out. Agile development with SCRUM has an impact on the three partners, i.e. user, developer, and operator. This is why decision-making involves all those affected. Next, the introduction of SCRUM is planned and completed using the Introduce Scrum task. This enables the first sprints to take place. These may include verifying the system architecture using a prototype (proof of concept).

In the Concept phase, the decision about the system architecture is made. In order to be able to do this, the architecture must be created in as much detail as needed to allow it to be examined by the controlling and compliance bodies and the decision about the system architecture to be made. Therefore, the sustainability of the IT system can be safeguarded before too many funds are invested in its development.

Implementation: The focus of agile development is on the Implementation phase. In an agile development project, the detail specifications are created in the course of the actual development process rather than before development starts. The system/product is developed after the detail specifications have been created in sprints.

Deployment: More sprints take place in the Deployment phase. At the same time, corrections, bug-fixing, etc. take place in an agile manner throughout until the system is approved for acceptance.


HERMES offers two standard scenarios which provide for agile development with SCRUM:

  • Customized IT Application (Agile)
  • Service/Product (Agile)

These scenarios provide the user with a method for agile development that he or she can use immediately.

The following section describes how HERMES and SCRUM can be used jointly in an IT development project.

Agile Development Module

SCRUM has been incorporated into HERMES as the Agile Development module. All SCRUM artifacts are described as outcomes, and the SCRUM events have been integrated into tasks.

Hierarchically, the Agile Development module is located at the management level. It goes hand in hand with the Project Management module, whose outcomes and tasks are not covered by SCRUM and are therefore still needed.

The modules located at the execution level are still needed because SCRUM does not refer to specific tasks and outcomes such as procurement, system development, testing, migration, etc. but focuses on agile development.

The figure shows the location of the Agile Development module within the Customized IT Application (Agile) scenario.


SCRUM uses three roles. They supplement the roles of the HERMES method and are defined in the SCRUM Guide. 

According to HERMES, one person can hold several roles (accumulation of roles). A holder of a HERMES role can thus also take on a SCRUM role. The table shows what role combinations may be possible.


HERMES Candidate for the SCRUM Role

Product Owner

Business Analyst

User's Project Manager

Business Process Owner

Product Owner

IT Architect

Development team

Developer, business analyst, test manager, tester 

SCRUM master

Developer, business analyst 

HERMES and SCRUM represent fundamentally different understandings of managing the team. While according to HERMES the project manager issues work orders, the work of the SCRUM development team is managed by the product owner through the product backlog with the development team carrying out its work independently.

For SCRUM to be used successfully, the roles must be followed exactly as they have been defined by SCRUM. Whenever an accumulation of roles occurs, it is important to ensure that the role holder plays his or her SCRUM role as it has been defined.  


The tasks were originally designed for software development, which is more evident in the Agile Development module as is the case in SCRUM itself. The table below shows the tasks of the Agile Development module and how they are related to the SCRUM Guide


HERMES Task Description

SCRUM Guide  

Decide on Agile development with SCRUM

The decision forms the basis for agile development with SCRUM. It specifies how the agile work in development with SCRUM is to be carried out and how it is introduced.

Not available

Introduce SCRUM

Effective introduction of SCRUM provides the basis for agile development.

Not available

Keep product backlog

The product backlog provides the basis for devising the release plan and conducting the sprints.

Part of SCRUM. An activity of the product owner role

Produce release plan

The release plan is the basis for conducting the sprints, plan the delivery of a release to the users, and coordinate the activities with everyone involved.

Not available

Conduct sprints

Conducting a sprint leads to an outcome that is agreed, specific, and verifiable.

The sprint is at the heart of SCRUM. It contains all SCRUM outcomes as described in the SCRUM Guide

In HERMES, the SCRUM events are described as activities in this task.

The following tasks of the Project Management module must be given particular attention in agile development:

Lead Change Management

Prioritizing the product backlog leads to changes in the scope of the deliverables. The user's and the developer's project managers lead the change management in accordance with the process that has been defined for the project and is described in the project management manual. This task does not become obsolete with SCRUM.

Even if using SCRUM, attention must still be paid to the scale and scope of the project. A plan to increase the scale or reduce the scope of a project can affect the core organization and must therefore be evaluated by the units responsible. This includes in particular the project sponsor and the controlling and compliance bodies responsible for the project portfolio management.

Agree on and Control Deliverables

Deliverables are controlled by prioritizing requirements through the product backlog and the sprint backlogs.

Bei Leistungsvereinbarungen zu Festpreisen führen Änderungen des Leistungsumfangs zu Vertragsanpassungen. Grundlage dazu bildet die Änderungsstatusliste.

The Positions of HERMES and SCRUM

In projects using agile development with SCRUM, SCRUM is added to supplement HERMES.

The table demonstrates in what way HERMES and SCRUM are positioned differently. It demonstrates that SCRUM does not simply replace HERMES but that it supplements HERMES where the need arises.




Project Lifecycle

HERMES covers the entire lifecycle of a project, in other words, from project initiation order to project closure.

SCRUM covers the period in which actual development takes place.

The phase model has specific decision points at which the project is evaluated by the core organization (e.g. to decide about the system architecture).

SCRUM does not have specific decision points for decisions by the core organization.

Outcomes, Tasks, and Roles

HERMES defines all the outcomes, tasks, and roles for specific scenarios.

SCRUM defines the outcomes (artifacts), tasks (events), and roles needed for agile development.

Outcomes, tasks, and roles are tailored to the specific content of a project (i.e. its characteristics). They are specific.

Outcomes, tasks, and roles are not tailored to the specific content of a project (i.e. its characteristics).

HERMES describes specific tasks to produce project-specific outcomes.

SCRUM does not prescribe specific tasks to produce project-specific outcomes.

"SCRUM is not a process or a technique for building products; rather, it ... makes clear the relative efficacy of your product management and development practices so that you can improve." (Quote from SCRUM Guide).

Hierarchy Levels

HERMES has three hierarchy levels: Steering, Management, and Execution. The roles are allocated to the three levels.

SCRUM has two hierarchy levels: Steering and Execution.

HERMES comprises several modules, each of which is allocated to a hierarchy level.

The different levels are a significant element of governance.


HERMES defines how users, developers, and operators collaborate.

SCRUM defines how users (the product owner) and developers (the role of the SCRUM development team) collaborate.

Overview of Method Elements

HERMES and SCRUM consist of similar method elements. This facilitates integration of the SCRUM framework into the HERMES method.

HERMES Method Elements

SCRUM Method Elements