Dependencies in Scrum - How Dependencies Are Managed In Scrum?

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Jul 28, 2023

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Welcome to the fascinating world of Scrum, where agile principles weave together to form a powerful fabric of collaboration and efficiency. Within this dynamic framework, dependencies play a crucial role in project management and successful product delivery. In this blog, we will explore the intricacies of "Dependencies in Scrum" and discover how they are effectively managed to ensure seamless progress. Whether you're a Certified Scrum Master (CSM) or a newcomer to Scrum, this blog will equip you with the knowledge to navigate the threads of dependencies with ease and foster a culture of collaborative success. So, let's embark on this enlightening expedition!

Table Of Content

  • Understanding Dependencies in Scrum
  • Types of Dependencies in Scrum
  • Effective Management Techniques for Scrum Dependencies
  • The Benefits of Handling Dependencies in Scrum
  • Nurturing a Culture of Collaboration: SAFe Conversation in Agile Teams
  • Conclusion

Understanding Dependencies in Scrum

Scrum dependencies refer to the relationships between various tasks or user stories within a project. These interconnections can be of different types, such as technical dependencies (where one task relies on the completion of another) or external dependencies (where the project is contingent on factors outside the team's control).

Types of Dependencies in Scrum

In Scrum, there are several types of dependencies that can arise when working on complex projects with multiple teams or individuals. These dependencies can impact the flow of work and may require special attention to ensure successful project execution. The key types of dependencies in Scrum are as follows:

  • External Dependencies: These dependencies involve external factors or teams that are not directly part of the Scrum team but have an influence on the project. For example, a team may be dependent on a third-party service or an external vendor to deliver a component or provide critical information.
  • Internal Dependencies: Internal dependencies refer to relationships between different teams or individuals within the same organization that are collaborating on the project. One team's work may rely on the output of another team, creating inter-team dependencies.
  • Cross-Team Dependencies: These dependencies occur when multiple Scrum teams are working on different parts of the same project and need to synchronize their efforts. For example, if one team is building the front end of a software product and another team is developing the back end, they must coordinate their work to ensure integration.
  • Sequential Dependencies: In some cases, certain tasks or activities must be completed in a specific sequence. One task serves as a prerequisite for the next, and this sequential relationship can create dependencies between them.
  • Shared Resource Dependencies: When multiple teams or projects compete for limited resources (e.g., specialized equipment, software licenses, or personnel with specific skills), dependencies can emerge as teams need to coordinate their resource usage.
  • Knowledge Dependencies: These dependencies arise when one team or individual possesses critical knowledge or expertise that is required by others to move forward. The lack of this knowledge may cause delays or hinder progress.
  • Time Dependencies: Time-based dependencies involve situations where one task must start or finish at a particular time or within a specific time frame, often due to external constraints or project deadlines.

It is essential for Scrum teams to identify and manage these dependencies effectively. Regular communication, coordination meetings, and collaboration among teams are crucial to address dependencies and ensure the successful completion of the project. Scrum events like Sprint Reviews and Sprint Retrospectives also provide opportunities to discuss and address any dependency-related challenges.

Effective Management Techniques for Scrum Dependencies

  • Identifying Dependencies in Backlog Refinement

Backlog refinement sessions provide an opportunity for teams to identify dependencies among user stories. Analyzing the relationships between tasks helps prioritize and plan effectively.

  • Prioritizing and Sequencing Tasks

Once dependencies are identified, teams prioritize and sequence tasks strategically. Proper sequencing minimizes delays and ensures smooth project flow.

  • Mitigating Risks through Dependency Management

Proactive dependency management involves assessing potential risks associated with dependencies and creating contingency plans to address them swiftly.

  • Establishing Clear Communication Channels

Transparent communication is vital for managing dependencies. Teams establish clear channels for sharing updates, addressing blockers, and maintaining alignment.

The Benefits of Handling Dependencies in Scrum

  • Improved Productivity and Flow

Addressing dependencies proactively ensures that teams work efficiently without waiting for other tasks to be completed. This streamlined approach enhances overall productivity and keeps the momentum going.

  • Predictable Delivery and Enhanced Planning

Minimizing dependencies leads to a more predictable project timeline, allowing teams to meet sprint goals consistently. Enhanced planning becomes possible when teams have a clear understanding of dependencies.

  • Reduced Risks and Better Project Control

Managing dependencies reduces the likelihood of unforeseen risks derailing the project. Teams gain better control over the project's progress and can make informed decisions based on minimized risks.

  • Strengthened Collaboration and Team Synergy

Navigating dependencies requires effective collaboration among team members. As team members work together to address dependencies, a culture of synergy and collaboration thrives.

  • Higher Customer Satisfaction and Value Delivery

By efficiently handling dependencies, teams can meet customer requirements promptly. Higher customer satisfaction is achieved through the timely delivery of value-driven products and features.

Nurturing a Culture of Collaboration: SAFe Conversation in Agile Teams

  • Creating Psychological Safety for Open Communication

Fostering psychological safety encourages team members to share their ideas, concerns, and challenges without fear of judgment. Psychological safety is the bedrock of SAFe conversations.

  • Active Listening and Empathy in Scrum Teams

Active listening and empathy build strong connections among team members. Understanding each other's perspectives enables better collaboration and resolution of conflicts.

  • Constructive Feedback and Conflict Resolution

Constructive feedback promotes continuous improvement and growth. Addressing conflicts openly and constructively leads to healthier team dynamics.

  • Trust and Transparency as Pillars of Collaboration

Building trust and transparency within the team cultivates a culture of openness and accountability. Trust forms the foundation of SAFe conversation and effective collaboration.


Dependencies in Scrum form an integral part of project management and successful product delivery. By understanding, managing, and navigating dependencies effectively, Agile teams can optimize productivity, deliver value, and foster a culture of collaboration.

As a Certified Scrum Master (CSM) or a member of an Agile team dependency management empowers you to navigate the threads of complexity with confidence. By nurturing a culture of collaboration and empathy, teams can achieve synergy and resilience in their pursuit of Agile excellence. If you are a leader and want to effectively learn how to apply scrum, then you must consider StarAgile’s CSM Certification Course. Happy Scrumming!


1. What are the key challenges in managing Scrum dependencies?

Managing Scrum dependencies can pose challenges, such as conflicting priorities, limited resources, and external factors beyond the team's control. However, with proactive communication and planning, teams can overcome these challenges effectively.

2. How can Certified Scrum Masters (CSMs) facilitate SAFe conversations within teams?

CSMs play a vital role in fostering SAFe conversation within teams. By leading by example, providing guidance, and encouraging open communication, CSMs create an environment where team members feel empowered to speak up and collaborate freely.

3. Can dependencies in Scrum be entirely eliminated?

Complete elimination of dependencies may not always be possible, especially in complex projects. However, teams can minimize their impact by managing them efficiently and addressing potential risks early on.

4. What role does SAFe conversation play in resolving conflicts arising from dependencies?

SAFe conversation enables teams to discuss conflicts openly and constructively. By encouraging team members to voice their concerns and seek solutions collectively, SAFe conversation plays a crucial role in resolving conflicts and maintaining a positive team dynamic.

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