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Agile vs Scrum: Difference Between Agile and Scrum

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28th Sep, 2023
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Agile vs Scrum: Difference Between Agile and Scrum

Keeping up with the fast-paced nature of project development fueled by technological progress is challenging, to say the least. To function efficiently, organisations have to quickly respond to changes and adapt to the needs of the development projects. For this, organisations have adopted some methodologies and frameworks of project management like Agile, Scrum, Kanban, etc., which ensure the smooth execution of the projects. 

However, each of these project management methodologies is different from one another. How to be certain which one to opt for while completing a project? In this blog, we will discuss in detail what is Agile and Scrum methodology each and what are the differences between the two.  

What Is Agile Methodology?

If you are new to software development and unclear about What is Agile methodology in project management?” the answer is simple. Agile is an approach to project management that incorporates the use of short iterative steps towards the attainment of project completion. But what makes Agile the most often preferred choice? The reasons are many. With the help of Agile, one can work flexibly on projects, adapt to changes quickly, and maintain constant communication.

In Agile methodology, the small incremental steps help monitor the progress smoothly and make it easier to incorporate the changes as and when required. This methodology focuses on quick delivery and easy adaptability rather than following a strict plan. 

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Agile methodology is a process of continuous feedback. It was initially incorporated for the purpose of software development but is now being used for a variety of projects. 

What Is Scrum Methodology?

The question that follows next is What is Scrum project management? Scrum is a framework within Agile methodology that organisations use to execute tasks in an organised manner and achieve a common goal. If you are wondering what is Agile Scrum methodology, here is the explanation.

While Agile is a project management philosophy, Scrum is an Agile framework. Scrum helps break down the project into smaller plans, reducing its scope. Teams working on the project can allot distinct timelines for each activity. 

The use of Scrum is found in both software development as well as in other tasks like research and development. Scrum uses several tools, meetings, and roles for the smooth execution of a project delivery. In Scrum, teams manage themselves independently, learn from experiences, and quickly adapt to changes. 

Agile vs Scrum: Head-to-Head Comparison

Now that we have covered what is Scrum in Agile, look at the table below to understand the difference between Agile and Scrum based on certain parameters.

Parameter Agile Scrum
MethodologyAgile is an approach to project management. It is a framework of Agile methodology.
PrioritisationIn Agile, prioritisation means deciding the order in which the Agile team will work on achieving the goals of a project. In Scrum, prioritisation takes place based on value. 
AlternativeWaterfall is a good alternative to Agile.Kanban is a good alternative to Scrum.
Delivery Agile ensures continuous delivery so that any change can be incorporated immediately. In Scrum, delivery is made after the completion of each sprint. 
Collaboration mode Members from various cross-functional teams collaborate with one another for the execution of a task. The task is operated through regular sprint meetings, sprint planning, and retrospectives. 
Design and execution Simple. Innovative. 
Flexibility Low. High. 
LeadershipThe project execution is taken care of by a Project Head. Cross-functional teams work in collaboration with one another to ensure the smooth execution of the projects. 

Agile Methodology vs. Scrum

Mentioned below is how Agile and Scrum are different from one another based on each of the parameters. 

What they are

To answer ‘what is Agile process’, Agile is a project management methodology based on an incremental and iterative approach. Whereas Scrum is an Agile implementation where customers are delivered incremental builds every two or three weeks. 

Scope of use

Agile can be used in projects managed by an expert management team. It can be used in small environments. On the other hand, Scrum is suitable for use in projects subject to frequent change. 

Leadership

Leadership is an important aspect of Agile methodology. There is a project head who takes the mantle of the project. Scrum incorporates the use of a cross-functional team that has good self-organising abilities. The entire team is responsible for the progress of a project. 

Flexibility

While Agile is slightly rigid, and there is little room for changes to be incorporated frequently, Scrum’s ability to react quickly is noteworthy. 

Roles

In Agile, several cross-functional teams interact face-to-face and collaborate to execute tasks effectively. In Scrum, fixed tasks are assigned to individuals designated as Scrum masters, product owners, and team members. 

Delivery

In Agile, the progress must be delivered to the customers frequently to seek their feedback regularly. In Scrum, the builds are delivered to the clients after each sprint so they can leave their feedback on the same and suggest any change they might be looking for. 

Design and execution 

In Agile, the design and execution must be kept simple, whereas in Scrum, the design and execution can be made experimental and innovative. 

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Agile and Scrum: A Study of Their Similarities

By now, we have already understood that Agile and Scrum are complementary, so we cannot draw many comparisons between the two. 

Now that we have seen the Scrum and Agile differences, let us glance through the similarities. 

  • Adaptability: Both Agile and Scrum are designed in a way that can adapt to changes. They do not follow a fixed plan. This helps to deal with the ever-changing demands of the clients. 
  • Provide similar outcomes: To be able to measure the progress, it is important to focus on the outcomes. Agile and Scrum help speed up the development process by allowing faster results and better transparency. 
  • Foster collaboration: Both Agile and Scrum facilitate collaboration among the team members. As for Scrum, there are daily 15-minute events where all the members, like the Scrum Master and Product Owner, participate. 

Organisations can reach their sprint goal faster through these meetings and adjust to changes accordingly. This helps to improve communication and collaboration between the cross-functional teams and build trust between them.

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Agile vs. Other Methodologies

Each of the project management methodologies has its own advantages and disadvantages, making them suitable for a certain kind of project. In this blog, we have discussed what is Agile project management, what is Scrum methodology, and what is the difference between Agile and Scrum till now. 

Let us now look at the key differences between Agile, Waterfall, and Kanban so you can thoroughly understand them and make an informed decision while choosing the right project management framework. 

1. Agile vs. Waterfall

Are you wondering what differentiates Agile from the Waterfall methodology? Agile and Waterfall are distinct project management methodologies that aid in successfully completing a project. The Waterfall methodology follows a linear approach to management, whereas the Agile methodology is flexible and can support changes at the different stages of the project.

In the Waterfall model, a sequential order is followed. The project development team moves to the next development phase only after completing the previous step. 

In Agile methodology, the project development follows a constant iterative development and testing process. Unlike the Waterfall model, the development and testing activities occur simultaneously. This also facilitates seamless communication between customers, managers, developers, and testers. 

2. Agile vs. Kanban

Agile methodology is a new approach to software development that emphasises continuous iterative development occurring throughout the software development life cycle. This allows the provision to incorporate changes according to the immediate requirements and feedback of the clients. 

On the other hand, Kanban is a project management methodology which acts like a visual signal that ensures that work is noticeable to the people. There is a board known as the Kanban Board, which displays the task workflows. This way, the flow of tasks can be optimised between the different teams. This also helps to maintain coordination between the teams- each team can remain updated about the progress of another team throughout the development phase. 

Agile vs. Scrum: Which One Is the Best?

Picking the best-suited project management approach can be difficult despite understanding what is Agile and Scrum. While Agile is a project management approach, Scrum is a part of this wide Agile umbrella. 

Agile is best suited for ongoing projects that lack clarity from the beginning. It is ideally suited for industries prone to constant and unpredictable changes. Agile is a broader approach that stresses flexibility, collaboration, and adaptability. 

On the other hand, Scrum is a framework encompassed within the Agile methodology. It provides a structured approach and helps manage complex projects through iterative development. 

However, based on the project’s requirements, one can choose between either. Agile may be better suited if a project needs to follow an adaptive and flexible approach. For projects that require specific roles, artefacts like Product Backlog, Sprint Backlog, etc., and events like Daily Standup, Sprint Review, Scrum is more suitable. You can also look for the difference between Scrum and Kanban, both Agile frameworks, and choose whichever fits best to your project requirements.

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Conclusion

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There is no one-size-fits-all when choosing the most appropriate project management method. Based on the requirements of the organisation, its goals and objectives, and other criteria, one has to look for the methodology that will suit them the best. 

Agile is a broad philosophy guiding software development with flexibility at its core, while Scrum is a specific framework within the Agile universe, offering a structured approach to project management. Teams can choose to adopt Agile principles and customise their processes or follow the more defined structure of Scrum.

If you look forward to upskilling or knowing more about these project management methodologies, you can enrol in one of the certification courses offered by platforms like upGrad. These courses will help you better understand concepts like Agile methodology vs. Scrum, what is Waterfall methodology, Kanban vs. Scrum, and so on. Knowledge of these frameworks will help you make informed decisions and better execute a project.

Profile

Pavan Vadapalli

Blog Author
Director of Engineering @ upGrad. Motivated to leverage technology to solve problems. Seasoned leader for startups and fast moving orgs. Working on solving problems of scale and long term technology strategy.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1Is Scrum a version of Agile?

Simply put, Scrum is a framework under the broader Agile project management philosophy umbrella.

2Which comes first, Scrum or Agile?

Scrum precedes Agile by 8 years. However, due to its iterative approach of delivering high-quality products to customers quickly, it came to be included under the umbrella of Agile.

3Is Scrum separate from Agile?

Scrum, although a part of Agile, is distinct from it. If you look for Agile methodology vs. Scrum, you will learn that Agile is a philosophy while Scrum is a framework that falls under Agile.

4Why is Scrum called Agile?

Scrum is not called Agile, but the names are often used together since the Scrum framework is a part of Agile methodology.

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