The terms Agile and Scrum are often used in the context of agile management. Agile vs Scrum: What’s the difference? Find the answer in the article below!

Agile vs. Scrum – table of contents:

  1. What is Agile methodology
  2. What is Scrum methodology
  3. Agile vs. Scrum

What is Agile methodology

Today, it’s hard to keep up with business dynamics. Therefore, traditional management methods do not always work, especially in the case of software development. At the very beginning of project planning, it is difficult to set all possible goals. In this way, you can miss important changes in the market and end up with a completely unattractive final project. This is why Agile has emerged. What is it?

In 2001, representatives of new ideas met at a resort in the United States. At that time they managed to develop a mutual agreement when it came to running IT projects. They created the “Manifesto for Agile Software Development,” a declaration of principles and values for all agile methods.

The manifesto begins with four brief assumptions:

  • people and interactions over processes and tools
  • customer collaboration over formal agreements
  • working software over extensive documentation
  • responding to change over following a plan

Agile is the type of management, the essence of which is maximum flexibility and the ability to adapt to the changing business environment. It assumes that at the beginning of a project no one can accurately plan the entire course of the project.

Therefore, work is divided into short cycles called sprints. One of them usually lasts from 1 to 4 weeks. During each sprint, the team independently plans the work, designs the solution, programs, tests and receives feedback from the client. The iterative mode of work allows for the cyclical delivery of completed parts of the final solution.

Also, the organization of Agile teams looks different from traditional ones, in which management plays a key role. Agile groups of employees are self-organizing and cross-functional. This means that they decide on their own how to do the work, and their members have all the necessary skills and competencies to successfully complete individual sprints. Delegating so much responsibility to the team works great for their motivation, so they show more willingness to work every day.

Agile vs Scrum

What is Scrum methodology?

Scrum is a word borrowed from sports terminology, specifically from rugby.This is a very good connotation, because working in Scrum is precisely a team game. There is no hierarchy of importance here, what matters is cooperation. Scrum methodology encourages team members to learn from experience, organize their work independently, and reflect on their successes and failures in order to continuously improve.

Scrum defines a framework for teams executing projects. Earlier, it referred mainly to the IT industry and software development, but now it has a more universal meaning. Its idea is to deliver a product to the customer in parts.

In practice, it looks like this: during regular meetings, held, for example, every month, completed parts of the program, such as individual modules, are presented. The work is done in sprints, i.e. short stages, during which the customer has an overview of the progress of the project.

Scrum framework can be described as heuristic. It comes down to constant learning and adapting to changing factors. The concept is based on an assumption that at the beginning of working on the project, the team does not have complete knowledge, and it will develop as it gains experience. Scrum is designed to help employees naturally adapt to changing customer demands and modification of priorities.

In Scrum, there are three artifacts. These are the product backlog, the sprint backlog and the increment. A product backlog is a list maintained by the product owner or product manager. It is a list of work to be done – features, requirements, enhancements and fixes. A sprint backlog is a list of features or bug fixes that the team has chosen to implement in the current sprint cycle. An increment, on the other hand, is a usable product that is the result of a given sprint.

Agile vs Scrum

Agile and Scrum are two terms that have become part of the managers’ vocabulary, but are still confused and used interchangeably by some of them. Although they have much in common, they are not the same thing. Scrum is the most popular methodology that derives from Agile.

First of all, Agile is a much broader concept. It’s more of a way of thinking about work, and a whole philosophy of how to deliver valuable products. Scrum, on the other hand, is a tool that can be directly implemented and used at work. It imposes a specific framework on how to implement projects. Figuratively speaking, Agile shows you where you should get to, while Scrum shows you exactly where to turn.

Scrum is based on the Agile philosophy. It reflects all 12 principles, including: flexibility, iteration, empiricism or the concept of continuous improvement. The State of Agile report shows that 70% of companies using an agile approach use some version of Scrum. Therefore, for some, Agile equals Scrum, because they are not familiar with other methodologies.

It’s not possible to become Agile right away, because it requires a commitment from the entire team to change its approach to working with customers. However, it is possible to use a procedural framework, such as Scrum, to facilitate the transition to this way of thinking and to implement Agile principles into daily work and communication among employees.

Agile vs Scrum. You’ve just learned the difference! Check out our other series about Python and Javascript!

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Author: Caroline Becker

As a Project Manager, Caroline is an expert in finding new methods to design the best workflows and optimize processes. Her organizational skills and ability to work under time pressure make her the best person to turn complicated projects into reality.