Applying scrum to interior design and construction

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Neher, Judy
Kanakri, Shireen Mohammad
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For decades, product development has been accomplished through defined processes, such as waterfall (Royce, 1970). Defined processes are those that have known inputs, repeatable processes, and expected outputs. The assumption that innovation in product development can be achieved through repeatable processes has resulted in most projects being completed over budget, over schedule, not meeting user needs, or some combination thereof (Sherman, 2015). Accommodating change and learning in a defined process is expensive. Construction and interior design projects have followed a similar defined framework of assessing requirements, planning, estimation, execution, and post-occupancy evaluations. This has resulted in projects delivered late, projects delivered over budget, waste and rework, unreliable teams, and unsatisfied clients (Lean Construction Institute, 2022). Solving complex problems require empirical processes to meet user needs. Empirical processes incorporate change and learning throughout the project lifecycle and are based on three pillars: transparency, inspection, and adaptation. This research will focus on the application of an empirical framework, namely Scrum (Schwaber, SCRUM Development Process, 1995), to construction and interior design projects. “Scrum is a lightweight framework that helps people, teams and organizations generate value through adaptive solutions for complex problems.” (Schwaber & Sutherland, The 2020 Scrum Guide, 2020, p. 3) This study utilizes a case study and survey revealing that Scrum can be utilized to deliver more value to clients, increase transparency, reduce risk, and enhance employee engagement amongst project teams. Findings highlight changes that can be made in the interior design and construction industry to achieve these results.