The corporate world is a fast-paced one where project requirements, customer demands, and support functions keep changing rapidly. To keep up with the dynamic and ever-changing requirements, today, companies are moving over from the traditional (waterfall) methodologies and embracing innovative methodologies like Agile. Full-Stack software development courses are getting popular as demand is only increasing.
The Agile approach brought with it a host of benefits that were lacking in the conventional software development methodologies. In Agile methodology, testing is integrated with development, thereby contributing to the development of high-quality software. Apart from delivering high-value features within short delivery cycles, Agile also enhanced customer satisfaction and customer retention quotients.
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Although the Agile approach has become widely popular in the IT and corporate worlds, not many are aware that it is made of different types of processes. For instance, there’s Scrum, Kanban, Feature Driven Development (FDD), and Adaptive System Development (ASD), to name a few.
In this post, however, we’ll focus on the difference between Agile and Scrum. While people often tend to use these terms synonymously, they have their fair share of differences.
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Agile Methodology & Scrum Methodology
What is Agile?
Agile methodology refers to a software development practice that focuses on the continuous iteration of development and testing in the SDLC (software development life cycle) process. Unlike the Waterfall methodology that analyzes and documents the project requirements before the development process begins, in the Agile approach, the requirements are determined as the software-development advances with each iteration. This offers scope for flexibility in accommodating the necessary changes in the requirements/priorities of the business as and when they come.
In Agile methodology, the development and testing activities occur simultaneously. It breaks the product into smaller fragments, and the work is prioritized according to business or customer value. It encourages teamwork and constant communication within teams and between teams and customers as well. As such, the Agile approach aims to bring all the stakeholders together in the product development process.
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The Agile Manifesto comprises of 12 principles encouraging an iterative approach to software development:
- Customer satisfaction is the highest priority. It is accomplished through the continuous delivery of software products in parts.
- It should be flexible enough to accommodate changes in requirements even in later phases of software development.
- Business teams, developers, and customers must regularly collaborate throughout the SLDC.
- Face-to-face interaction is pivotal for transparency and enhanced communication within the teams.
- Encourage sustainable development by maintaining a constant pace throughout the development process.
- Together, all teams should regularly reflect and brainstorm on how to enhance productivity to boost project effectiveness.
- Foster self-organization within teams to deliver top-notch architectures and designs.
- Offer higher autonomy to team members having greater support and trust.
- Deliver efficient and working software frequently within shorter periods.
- Measure project progress through the success of the working software.
- Make good design and technical excellence the primary focus of the development process.
- Simplicity is a fundamental tool for progress.
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What is Scrum?
Scrum is a subset of Agile methodology. Naturally, it also focuses on delivering a product in stages within short periods. Rather than being a process or a technique, Scrum is a simple and lightweight framework that seeks to address complex problems (of a specific project) and deliver high-value business products.
Scrum assumes that the project requirements are bound to change or are not defined before the project development process begins. By repeatedly inspecting and monitoring working software, it aims to foster accountability, cross-functional teamwork, and progress toward a well-defined business goal.
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Roles in the Scrum framework
- Product Owner – The Product Owner is responsible for optimizing the work and product value of the development team. Apart from this, a Product Owner also manages the product catalog.
- Scrum Master – The Scrum Master is responsible for organizing daily team meetings and handling challenges and bottlenecks in the development process. Scrum Masters communicate with the Product Owner to ensure that the product backlog is ready for the succeeding sprint.
- Scrum Team – The Scrum Team works in collaboration with the Product Owner and Scrum Master to plan how much of the project they can complete in each iteration.
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Agile vs. Scrum: Key Differences
- The Agile approach is best-suited for environments having an expert and dedicated team of a few members. Scrum, on the other hand, is perfect for projects where the requirements change frequently and fast.
- The Agile methodology views leadership as a pivotal role in project development. However, Scrum encourages self-organizing and cross-functional teams. While the Project Head supervises all the tasks in the former, the latter has no team leader – the entire team is responsible for the project.
- In Agile, there is regular collaboration and one-on-one interactions between the members of all teams, cross-functional teams, and customers. In the Scrum framework, the Product Owner, the Scrum Master, and the Scrum Team engage in daily meetings.
- The Agile approach may require lots of up-front changes in the organizational and development process. This is not necessary for Scrum.
- In the Agile method, frequent deliveries are made to the customer for obtaining their feedback. In Scrum, each sprint is followed by the delivery of a build to the client for feedback.
- The Agile method considers customer feedback highly necessary during the process, whereas in Scrum, daily sprint meetings are held for reviews and feedback.
- While the Agile approach encourages to keep the design and execution simple, Scrum encourages innovation and experimentation for the same.
- The Agile approach considers customer satisfaction as the top priority, whereas, for Scrum, Empirical Process Control forms the core.
- While working software forms the fundamental measure for project progress, it is not so in the case of the Scrum framework.
These are the key differences between the Agile software development methodology and the Scrum framework. Differences aside, Scrum is essentially a subset of the Agile approach, and hence, the end goal of both is to maximize customer satisfaction through the delivery of value-oriented business products.
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Overall, Agile practices/methods help create environments where the requirements are continually evolving and changing. Through a disciplined project-management approach, Agile methodology promotes and pushes the delivery of high-quality software that is aligned with customer needs. Explore more about the Agile software development, check out upGrad’s Executive PG Programme in Software Development – Specialisation in Full Stack Development.
What is a Scrum meeting?
Scrum is a part of the Agile methodology of software development. Project teams adopt this method for faster production of software applications by breaking down larger development activities into smaller chunks with shorter completion periods. Scrum meeting is an umbrella term that covers different kinds of meetings conducted by Scrum teams; it includes sprint planning meetings, daily standup meetings, and sprint retrospective sessions. Each Scrum team includes a Scrum master, the development team, and the product owner and functions within short deadlines. Scrum meetings help keep all the Scrum teams in sync with the overall phase and speed of development and address hurdles effectively.
What is the difference between a Scrum master and an Agile coach?
The role of an Agile coach is dedicated to building better teams and preparing them for success. Though there is no specific, well-defined role for the Agile coach in the Scrum Guide, they are mainly responsible for driving continuous learning, instilling the discipline of practice, and enhancing the overall agility of the project teams with an overall view of progress across the organization. The role of an Agile coach often overlaps with that of the Scrum Master, but there are differences. The Scrum Master's scope is narrower than the Agile coach and focused on a single team. They are more knowledgeable about their own team’s status and individual performances.
Who is a product owner in Agile?
The product owner is an individual, not an entire team or committee. But they can represent the requirements of several stakeholders in the product backlog. The role of product owners is tied to the Scrum team that is liable for the outcome of a project. They are primarily responsible for maximizing the product's value, which is the outcome of the work of a Scrum team. The product owner also needs to carry out efficient product backlog management, including defining user stories, creating and communicating product goals, and ensuring the backlog is visible, transparent, and understood by the Scrum team.