Agile vs Scrum Methodology: What’s the Difference and Similarities?

Agile vs Scrum is a debate that you must have come across irrespective of whether you are a novice in the software development field or a seasoned professional. While there are stark similarities between these two most common software development methodologies, there are also crucial differences that you should be aware of.

Are you in a position where you need knowledge of either software development or project management or both? It is definitely helpful to know these methodologies.

This article will dive deeper into Agile and Scrum difference and examine the similarities and differences between them. So without further ado, let’s get started.

What is Agile Development Methodology?

what is agile development?

The Agile development methodology is a practice that is based on iterative software development and testing in the systems’ development life cycle.

  • It involves a more collaborative and flexible approach that allows software developers to create software products more efficiently.
  • Requirements and solutions are produced through collaborations with smaller developers’ teams, thus breaking the product into smaller units.
  • Developers can now pay more attention to specific software product details, leading to lesser bugs and better-developed software.
  • This methodology is gaining momentum. It promotes a structural project management methodology that encourages adaptability (adaptive system development), teamwork, and self-organization.
  • It is a more spontaneous way to manage developers who jump in and out of the software’s development life cycle.
  • Using Agile methodologies, developers can now work simultaneously on iterations of a project.
  • Agile methodology is one of the best practices in the software industry that allows for the efficient completion of quality software products.
  • The concurrency of the development and software testing activities means that the business stakeholders, developers, and clients must work in unison to ensure that development and software testing processes are efficient.
  • The Agile methodology’s main feature that sets it apart from other development methodologies is the human interaction and relationship it encourages rather than relying entirely on processes and tools.

Here are the four principles of Agile, according to the Agile Manifesto:

  1. Individuals and interactions over processes and software tools
  2. Working software over comprehensive documentation
  3. Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  4. Responding to change over following a plan

The Agile Development Process Lifecycle

agile process lifecycle

This process is made up of 6 methodology phases which are as follows:

  1. Concept

    Definition of the final goal of the projects is decided. Creation and prioritization of the required tasks take place.

  2. Plan

    The project managers introduce the project requirements to the team. Brainstorming sessions over the approach are conducted and the most efficient way to handle the required tasks is finalized.

  3. Development

    The actual writing of code happens during this step. It is made sure that the code is documented and evolves in synchronization with the project.

  4. Testing

    During this testing stage, the code is thoroughly tested to ensure no bugs and no apparent errors are present. Once the threshold level of quality is passed, and thorough testing is done, the product is declared ready for deployment.

  5. Deployment

    The software product is deployed, and after a run-check of the final working software, it is delivered to the customer.

  6. Maintenance

    As the name indicates, the code developed in the previous steps is reviewed while monitoring the customer’s feedback/responses on the software. Upon analysis of the data gathered, improvements are made for future projects.

What is Scrum Development Methodology?

what is scrum development?

Scrum methodology is essentially an extension of the Agile framework, facilitating collaboration and efficiency in development and testing processes.

  • Created by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland, Scrum is a simple framework, designed to be deployed while working with complex projects.
  • Projects completed following Scrum methodology are broken into smaller components called ‘sprints.’
  • These sprints consist of three parts, including product backlog, sprint backlog, and sprint goals.
  • Each sprint allows the definition, development, and testing of a particular aspect of the product.
  • Based on the project’s complexity, completion and fine-tuning of a sprint may take up to two to three weeks.

The benefit of breaking up the entire product into sprints?

Well, suppose the client demands iterations in a particular aspect of the product.

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Key Difference Between Agile and Scrum

key difference between agile and scrum

By now, we have a better understanding of both scrum vs agile methodology. So a question worth exploring is, are there any stark differences between Agile and Scrum?

Below are fundamental differences between Agile and Scrum.

  1. Main Functionality

    This is the most fundamental difference between Agile and Scrum.

    The Agile software development approach is a continuous iterative process of software development and testing.

    While the Scrum project management method/approach is simply an extension of the former. Its primary focus is to add business value to the development process in the shortest period.

  2. Feedback Delivery

    While following the Agile project management methodology/approach the software product is delivered regularly for client feedback.

    On the other hand, Scrum methodology/approach provides the software product for client feedback after completing a ‘sprint.’

  3. Primary Values

    Agile methodologies are beneficial to fostering leadership. While Scrum lays more emphasis on creating self-organizing and cross-functional teams.

  4. Collaborations

    Agile employs a collaborative model that requires occasional face-to-face interactions between the numerous cross-functional teams. While Scrum team collaboration is necessary daily via meetings.

  5. Design Philosophy

    In Agile development flow, the process design should be kept specific and straightforward. While both the Scrum development flow and the execution can be intuitive and experimental.

By now, you have learned about the core differences between Scrum and Agile. While we’re focusing on Scrum and Agile here, it’s also worth understanding the differences between Lean and Agile software development. By this approach, you get a clear understanding of which would be the best approach for developing your software solution.

Similarities Between Agile and Scrum

Scrum is an extension of the Agile platform, so there are many similarities between the two.

To draw an analogy, Scrum is a subset of Agile which means that it incorporates all Agile functionalities, but the opposite may not be valid.

Both platforms have been created to give accurate consumer insights into the software development phase/process, and both have been made based on the Agile manifesto given below:

  1. The customer is the most important
  2. Embrace change
  3. Delight your customers with frequent and working software releases
  4. Daily coordination
  5. Developers should be motivated to face challenges
  6. Face-to-face communication is encouraged
  7. If a feature or product is working well, you can gauge your progress
  8. Keep the pace, at which your team is releasing working software, constant
  9. Attention to details
  10. Instead of doing more, you should be doing what’s required in the fastest way possible
  11. Cross-functional teams are the best
  12. Continuously receive end-user feedback

Thus, similarities between Agile and Scrum are bound to develop as both find their roots in these principles.

Agile vs Scrum: What’s the Difference?

Here’s an elaborate answer to the Agile vs Scrum debate.

Its development methodology is based on an iterative and incremental approach.Incremental components (sprints) are delivered to the customer every 15 to 20 days.
It is used in environments that have small teams and specific software requirements.More dynamic in its functionality and used in rapidly changing environments.
Compared to Scrum, it is a much more rigid process and there’s not much room for frequent changes.Scrum is more flexible as it is more responsive to changes during the software development process.
The Agile framework requires lots of up-front development processes and organizational change.Not too many changes needed while implementing the Scrum process.
The Agile methods need frequent delivery to the end-user for their feedback.In Scrum, after each sprint, a build is delivered to the client for their feedback.
During each step of software development, factors like project requirements, analysis, and designs are monitored.Usually, at the end of every sprint, analysis is done based on the software’s functionality. This data is then used for improvements before the next sprint.
In the Agile methodology of software development, there is usually one allocated project head that monitors and supervises all the tasksThere are no allocated formal project managers/team leaders, and usually, the entire team is responsible for the failures or success of the software development methodology.
This methodology encourages feedback during the development process, thus making the end product more insightful.Daily sprint (stand up)meetings are conducted to review objectives and decide the course of the future development process progress.
Regular updates are made into the software development process.Updates are made into the software development process post the completion of a sprint. Only when one sprint is executed, the next sprint is planned for.
Design and execution should be kept simple.Design and execution can be innovative and experimental.
Working software is the most elementary measure of progress in the Agile methodology.Working software is not an elementary measure in the Scrum methodology.

Quoting Chris Alexander from EXPANSIA, “Agile is something you “are” not something you ‘do.’ Scrum is something you ‘do’ to build and deliver software in an Agile manner.” This encapsulates the difference between both methodologies and the purpose they serve.

Still, have some questions related to Agile vs Scrum? We have answered some of the most asked questions from readers.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are some Agile and Scrum tools?

    These are some of the best Agile and Scrum tools.

    Tool NameMethodologyDescription
    monday.comAgile And ScrumExcellent Agile planning tool
    WrikeAgile And ScrumSuitable for scaling organizations
    ClarizenAgileEasy to use Agile tool for hybrid methodologies
    NostromoAgileBest Agile tool for user experience and usability
    Zoho SprintsAgilePerfect for beginner Agile practitioners
    ScrumfastScrumOne of the best Scrum tools in the market for intuitive UI and UX
    MeisterTaskScrumBest Scrum tool for beginners
    JiraScrumSuitable for software engineering and software testing
  2. What are the benefits of Scrum?

    • Enhanced quality- By allowing the Scrum team to improve processes and tools, the overall development process is enhanced.
    • Decreased time to market- Categorization is made of high-priority requirements and lower-priority items. Sprints are completed based on these priority requirements.
    • Increased return on investment– Decrease in time to market rollout helps Scrum development projects reap higher investment returns.

    Other benefits include higher customer satisfaction, increased collaboration and ownership, and increased control of the software development project.

  3. What are the three Scrum roles?

    Product owner, Scrum Master, and the Development Team Members are the majorly allocated Scrum development roles.

  4. What does the Agile plan look like?

    A regular Agile project plan is divided into releases and sprints- each release is broken down into several iterations, called sprints. Any specified sprint has a fixed length of typically 1 to 2 weeks.

    The development team has a predefined list of work items to complete through the sprint, and these work items are called user stories.

  5. When do I use Agile?

    It is most suitable to use Agile in the following situations:

    • You don’t have a clear direction of action nor a clear picture of what your end product should look like
    • You have no rigid plan of action and wish to iterate and adjust the product requirements as you’re progressing
    • Your development team is capable of handling changing environments rather than getting comfortable with a monotonous workflow.
  6. Agile vs Scrum – which approach should I choose?

    To decide whether or not Agile is the right fit for your project, the project manager will need to look at the project requirements and their constraints.

    If your project requirements are very constrained and have limited development requirements then an Agile approach will not be practical for your project.

    Suppose your project requirement allows you the freedom and iterative liberty, and you think an Agile approach may be well suited for your project. In that case, you will need to determine whether or not Scrum is the best Agile methodology for your goals.

    In general, Scrum is typically tailor-made for software projects that do not have precise requirements. And are likely to change to incorporate iterations and require frequent software testing and analysis.

    If neither of these frameworks aligns entirely with your needs, the project manager can integrate features of both frameworks and even combine them during the later stages of your development process.

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Before you start applying Agile and Scrum methodologies into your workflow, you need to understand better how these processes will help your business model.

Given the stark Agile vs Scrum pointers, the more relevant question to ask yourself is not whether you should take an Agile or Scrum approach. Instead which Agile methodology you should deploy for a particular project. Based on your business model and project requirements, the answer to your question can be determined.

In any case, if you have confusion between agile and scrum to choose for your project, then you can get in touch with us. We are the trusted software development company based in Canada, offering a range of mobile app and software development services. Just fill this given contact us form and let out technical experts guide your further.

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Rakesh Patel

Written by

Rakesh Patel is the Founder and CEO of Space-O Technologies (Canada). He has 28 years of IT experience in business strategies, operations & information technology. He has expertise in various aspects of business like project planning, sales, and marketing, and has successfully defined flawless business models for the clients. A techie by mind and a writer at heart, he has authored two books – Enterprise Mobility: Strategy & Solutions and A Guide To Open311

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