Difference between Agile and Scrum

There are a number of project management frameworks available for businesses to use and experiment with. Two of the most popular methodologies are the Agile and Scrum methods. While the Scrum idea is a branch of Agile methodologies, the two serve very different functions and offer different benefits to the organization adopting the same. Understanding how they work and the differences between them is critical to introducing a system that successfully optimizes internal activities.

What is Agile?

The Agile methodology focuses on ensuring production methods deliver strong value based on feedback from existing, new and potential customers. The system is built to understand the constantly changing business environment and the ever-evolving needs of the consumer. This information is used to adapt existing production methods to practically meet new demands.

The Agile method focuses on;

  • Breaking down activities into smaller batches
  • Ensuring transparency around the end to end project process allows for visual depictions to create ease of understanding
  • Cross collaborative teams built on ease of communication and autonomy
  • Introducing a cyclical system built around getting feedback and introducing changes into the production process to optimize the product/service

The Agile method allows businesses to offer higher quality products based on a more pragmatic understanding of what end-users need. Additionally, the Agile method encourages strong collaboration-based problem solving between team members. As staff have the most hands-on understanding of the project at hand, it makes them more qualified than higher-ups watching them conduct activities and encourages not just more realistic problem solving but offers employees the opportunity to demonstrate their leadership skills.

What is Scrum?

The Scrum framework is used by businesses to undertake more complex projects and find creative solutions while delivering high-quality results. The Scrum framework is broken down into;

  • Product Owner breaks down the complex project into a product backlog
  • A Scrum team is put together to incrementally tackle value-adding activities during a Sprint
  • The Scrum Team and other stakeholders come together to understand the results of the Sprint and adjust the parameters of the next Sprint accordingly
  • The process is repeated until the project is complete

The Scrum method focuses on equipping Scrum Team members with the courage to tackle tougher problems, ensuring all team members are focussed on the sprint and achieving the goals outlined by the Scrum team and are committed to achieving the same, fostering an environment of mutual respect and independence while simultaneously conducting all activities openly for easy performance review and a collaborative approach to tackling problems.

What are the differences between Agile and Scrum?

While both systems are focused on internal efficiency and effectiveness, there are a number of differences between the two systems;

  • The Agile method is based on a fractional and scientifically systematic approach, while the Scrum method is a branch of Agile that focuses on incremental development every two to three weeks. The Agile method is constant.
  • The Agile way is suited to organizations with smaller teams with stronger expertise while the Scrum framework is better suited for environments where project requirements are constantly evolving.
  • Within the Agile system, leadership plays a key role while offering employees autonomy to conduct activities as needed. There is a strong sense of autonomy within the Scrum method, however, the foundation of the Scrum system is a cross-functional team that self organizes with little guidance from upper management, if any.
  • Collaboration and communication take the form of constant communication within the Agile environment. The Scrum environment facilitates a single daily meeting referred to as a “daily scrum” where all queries, concerns, and ideas are shared to be implemented across the day.
  • The Agile method is more dependent on feedback from the end-user in order to make the finished product more practical and useful. The Scrum system introduces a daily meeting in order to introduce feedback from the team to decide how the project moves forward.

Deciding to adopt either method comes with its pros and cons. Understanding business vision and goals can help the decision-making process.

Is one method better than the other?

Both Agile and Scrum offer an array of benefits, the decision-making process depends on unique organizational needs. The Agile method is better suited for projects where details are unclear from the beginning. It allows the organization to effectively deal with volatile environments as changes can quickly be understood and incorporated.

The Scrum method is better for tackling multi-layered projects within evolving environments. Scrum is best suited for industries that are constantly changing but with time to adjust and adapt to new demands.