Designing, Developing, Deploying, and Testing are the crucial phases of any software project development process. Are you wondering how these phases are planned and efficiently implemented?
Well, you should’ve heard about project management methodologies – Agile and Scrum, if you’ve been in the software development domain for a while.
With today’s organizations adapting efficient project management software and methods, Agile and Scrum are the buzzwords. These approaches have proven principles to ensure that the project development phases are followed efficiently and on schedule, as intended.
Do you also interchangeably use Agile and Scrum and didn’t spot their key differences yet? The goal of this article is to shed some light on Agile vs. Scrum and see how each methodology works.
What is Agile Methodology?
Agile methodology is continuous; that is, it is an iterative approach of frequent improvements to the product through constant collaboration within the team and also with the stakeholders. The above image shows you a few key terms related to agile methodology.
The build phase of any Agile framework is the actual development phase of the product.
We call this an iterative approach because the work to be finished in a certain timeframe is divided into smaller chunks assigned to the team members, and then periodically evaluate the progress based on continuous feedback to make necessary adjustments. All this work done parallelly is integrated to shape a complete product.
Finally, the product is deployed to see the improvements and functioning in the actual production environment. After successful deployment, the operations team continuously ensures that the deployed product is running smoothly.
Agile Manifesto Principles
Let’s look at the core principles that any framework following Agile methodology implements.
- The Agile manifesto states, “Individuals and interactions over processes and tools“, meaning interaction with people throughout the development process is more important than solely relying on tools and machines.
- The Agile principle of “Working software over comprehensive documentation” emphasizes the importance of easy and maintainable documentation while keeping the primary focus on delivering value.
- “Customer collaboration over contract negotiation” shows the adaptability of Agile teams to customer and client requirements.
- Another key principle of Agile methodology is “Responding to change over following a plan”. This shows that Agile is an iterative approach with continuous improvements based on market needs.
Teams that employ these agile methodology guidelines can create accurate, efficient, and intended products, as the project can be improved continuously based on the customers’ feedback.
Finally, the Agile teams follow their disciplined principles to ensure continuous improvement and customer satisfaction and complete projects on time and within budget; the list is long.
What is Scrum Framework?
Scrum is one of the popular project management frameworks that rely on Agile principles to develop and deliver projects efficiently. Teams in many companies, tech startups, or big businesses follow Scrum’s values, principles, and practices to work on common goals.
You can think of it as a way of working as a team to deliver smaller pieces of the project in every sprint. But what is sprint here?
The teams following the Scrum framework set goals to be finished in a time frame called sprint. Although the Scrum methodology doesn’t recommend you any specific duration for a sprint, it typically lasts for either 2 weeks or 4 weeks.
Check out this above image; you can see different roles, artifacts, and events that the Scrum methodology follows.
Roles: In scrum methodology, the “Product owner” understands the business requirements and market demands to prioritize product backlog optimizations, the “Scrum master” ensures that the Scrum rules are followed by all of the team members and the “development team” is made up of the actual tech skill performers to develop the product.
Artifacts: “Product backlog” is a list of tasks to be finished for developing the end product, while “Sprint backlog” defines the plans and manageable deliverables for a specific sprint. So, the sprint backlog is a subset of the product backlog. The “Increment” in scrum artifacts is the sum of all the finished stories of a sprint.
Events: Sprint planning – Product owner and the team decide what items of product backlog should be included in a sprint, Daily Scrum – A kind of daily standup meeting to check on progress, Sprint Review – Presenting the increment to stakeholders and clients, Sprint Retrospective – After sprint review, the team look for areas of improvement, enhancing productivity.
- Empirical Process Control – Scrum implements the empirical process that relies on the ideas of transparency, inspection, and adaptation. These pillars allow team members to work based on facts and experience.
- Self-organizing teams – Giving teams the autonomy to decide on efficient working principles to achieve goals faster.
- Iterative Approach – Scrum methodology is open to feedback and has the ability to respond to changing requirements.
- Collaboration – Its primary guidelines for seamless collaboration are awareness, articulation, and appropriation.
- Value-based Prioritization – Scrum ensures that its activities are efficient in providing maximum business value in every sprint.
- Time-boxed Events – A specific amount of time is allotted to find any kind of task in Scrum methodology. These short intervals ensure that the entire project is developed on time.
How Scrum is a Subset of Agile Methodology?
It’s no surprise to confuse Agile and Scrum, as they share the same core values. However, they might seem similar, but actually, Scrum is a subset of Agile, meaning Scrum is an Agile methodology, while Agile can or cannot be a Scrum because there are other Agile frameworks like XP or Kanban.
Scrum is a practical approach under the Agile umbrella. Agile is a broader philosophy that Scrum practically implements for efficient team management.
Put simply; you can picture Agile as a laptop brand like Mac while Scrum is a model of it, like MacBook Pro or Air.
Scrum is loved for its proven principles, roles, and artifacts to efficiently implement Agile philosophies.
Agile methodology focuses on enhancing adaptability, collaboration, and flexibility in teams, and the Scrum framework provides a structured way to put these principles into practice. This is why Scrum is a subset of Agile.
Both Agile and Scrum methodologies put the customer first. They believe the customer is always right, so these methodologies quickly respond to feedback and make necessary refinements.
Agile encourages breaking work into time boxes so that the team will be accountable for delivering the tasks. Scrum, following the same concept, introduced sprints to enhance team accountability even further.
Sprints in Scrum help you manage time, plan better, and don’t need to modify the entire product once; instead, you can just improve the deliverables of a specific sprint, ensuring faster product development.
Agile vs. Scrum: Key Differences
|Agile Methodology||Scrum Methodology|
|Definition||Agile methodology is a broader philosophy for an efficient product management process.||Scrum is a precise and structured framework to practice Agile core values.|
|Scope||Agile methodology is flexible in adapting many roles and team strategies.||Scrum is a specific framework built on top of Agile principles.|
|Examples||Examples of frameworks that follow Agile methodology – Scrum, Kanban, Lean, XP, etc.,||Scrum applications in real-world situations include software development, research, event planning, marketing campaigns, etc.|
|Approach||Follows iterative and incremental approach to frequently deliver the product for feedback.||Delivers an incremental build after each sprint.|
|Subset||Agile is not always a Scrum.||Scrum is always Agile.|
|Flexibility||The agile manifesto outlines general and flexible principles to fit different product development requirements.||Scrum defines specific roles, artifacts, events, and ceremonies for product management.|
|Roles||Collaboration within the team and also among the cross-functional teams.||The product owner, Scrum master, and development team are crucial roles in the Scrum methodology.|
|Response to change||Puts the customer first, quick responses to customer opinions and feedback.||Refinements based on product backlogs and sprint goals.|
|Leadership||Leadership is crucial in Agile methodology.||The Scrum framework encourages self-organizing teams.|
|Collaboration||Collaboration within the team and also among the cross functional teams.||Daily stand-up meetings for collaboration within the team.|
|Artifacts||In Agile methodology, teams are free to define their own artifacts to watch the product development progress.||Scrum defines specific artifacts like product backlog, sprint backlog, and increments to track progress.|
While agile methodology gained significant popularity over the past decade, Scrum has become one of the widely adopted Agile frameworks. When it comes to numbers, about 70% of U.S. companies use agile methodology for product management.
Moreover, the Agile methodology has a significantly higher average success rate of 88% compared to other product management methods.
Though various frameworks follow Agile methodology, Scrum is the most popular one, with 66% of Agile users opting for it.
How Scrum and Agile teams are efficient?
Iterative approach: Traditional project management methods like the Waterfall model follow a sequential approach of moving to the next phase(design, develop, test, and deploy) only after finishing the current phase, but Agile Philosophy and Scrum Framework practice iterative and incremental approaches to enhance collaboration, flexibility, and adaptability.
Scrum Sprints: In these methodologies, you can break down the work into smaller, manageable components that are to be delivered in each sprint. Therefore, based on the product and sprint backlogs, you can efficiently plan the sprint goals and deliver them faster.
Continuous Collaboration: Agile methodology is primarily designed for continuous and seamless collaboration with clients, stakeholders, within teams, and among the teams.
Continuous involvement of clients and teams throughout the development process lets you frequently update the required changes based on the user or client feedback, improve customer satisfaction, and minimize the need for rework, resulting in faster delivery of the desired product.
Adaptability: Agile and Scrum methodologies prioritize delivering value quickly. The principles here are very flexible, so you can adapt and modify the deliverables based on client requirements even in the middle of the project.
Is Scrum just a type of Agile?
Yes, Scrum is a specific framework of Agile methodology.
Agile is a common philosophy with general rules and guidelines that can be implemented by various project management frameworks. Its principles can be tailored to many requirements of diverse teams and organizations.
It’s safe to say that Scrum is always Agile because it is fundamentally built on Agile principles.
Agile methodology offers efficient and exciting frameworks for product management processes, especially in software development. Scrum is one such framework that quickly delivers value on a sprint basis.
In this article, we’ve tried our best to present the differences between Agile and Scrum to you. Also, we’ve shown these methodologies individually and how they work. So, if you’re either in a product role or a part of a team working in Agile, this article lets you understand more about the project management process and its frameworks, enhancing your productivity in delivering the product.
You may also explore some good learning resources for Agile Certification.