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Agile vs Scrum

October 22, 2020

By Simpliaxis

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Agile vs Scrum
 

The world of project management has many unfamiliar terminologies and processes that can be overwhelming. As a Project Manager job includes loads of responsibilities, they have to possess knowledge about most of the terminologies present in the project management system. They are responsible for creating the best possible project plans and other plans that work best for the customer and the company. Identifying and managing risks are also one of the main parts of their jobs. But before they undertake all these responsibilities, the organization has to choose the right project management methodology to guide the efforts of the company and help through the completion of the project. There are many methodologies that Project Managers choose from, where one of which is Agile. Scrum is a framework that comes under Agile methodology which is implemented by most of the organizations. 

Agile methodology is a set of principles or philosophy that acts as an approach that enhances the efficiency of the organization. The development and software testing occurs simultaneously as the Agile team coordinate and work together to form the final product. Agile methodology believes in using the end-user feedback and incorporates the changes in requirements into account throughout the project. This contraindicates the approach of the traditional waterfall methodology where the plan of the project was formulated in detail before the start of the project. Agile methodology has become the most implemented methodologies in many corporations as it offers many benefits and counteracts all the issues that were faced by traditional software methodologies. Hence, Agile could be thought of as a set of principles for actions that helps the software development team be efficient and organized.

Scrum is a framework under Agile methodology which is an iterative process of Agile approach where value is delivered in the shortest possible time. Using the Scrum approach, the product is built as several increments during short cycles called Sprints. Sprints have a specific time frame and timeboxed to 1 month. It includes daily meetings where the team members discuss the development and the progress of the product. Once a specific Sprint is completed, the team gathers again to discuss the approach for a new Sprint. Hence, Scrum could be thought of as one of the frameworks of Agile methodology and Agile is a set of philosophies that is an approach that increases the productivity of the organization. Agile and Scrum are a few of the most frequent terms in which people from Project Management come through every day. It is very common for people to get confused between both these terms as people may perceive it in the same term. However, Agile and Scrum are different from one another which will be explained in detail in this article.

 

Difference Between Agile and Scrum
 

Features

Agile 

Scrum

Nature and Scope

Agile is a set of principles and a mindset that acts as an approach to increase the efficiency of the organization.

Scrum is a framework that comes under Agile that implements the set of Agile principles to the organization.

Planning

Planning in general occurs in three steps: Release planning, iteration planning, and daily planning.

Planning in Scrum takes place when the team completes a Sprint and all the Sprint activities have to plan for the next Sprint.

Flexibility to changes

Agile is a rigid method and does not have much space for frequent changes.

Scrum adapts to change very quickly and is always ready for any change.

Design and Execution

The design and execution of Agile are quite simple which makes it clear and concise for everyone.

Scrum helps yield smart and concise outcomes by working in innovative and creative ways.

Process of Monitoring

Agile processes need detailed tracking which takes place after every milestone of the overall design.

Scrum requires monitoring after compilation of all features rather than after each design.

Role of leaders

Agile has a specific leader who is accountable for every work which is completed or not completed by the team.

There is no specific leader who is accountable for the team’s actions as there are self-organizing and self-managing teams where each person is responsible for their own action.

Mode of Communication

Most face-to-face communication takes place in the Agile process as it is considered the most effective mode.

Scrum teams follow a schedule where they communicate either on a daily or weekly basis.

Estimated time and delivery

Customer satisfaction is one the primary priority in Agile where value is delivered continuously to the software.

End-Products are designed to get feedback from the clients after each Sprint such that the product is designed as the customer desires. Each product increment is delivered after the completion of one Sprint which takes about one to four weeks.

Customer’s feedback

Regular feedback is taken by the end business users each between various processes and is integrated into the product increment.

Regular feedback is taken in an orderly fashion where each feedback is taken after a Sprint.


What is Agile?
 

Agile software development is an iterative and incremental approach where Agile teams are open to changing requirements and constant feedback from end-users. In Agile, depth-planning does not take place as it used to take place in other traditional software methodologies. Here, cross-functional teams constantly work on the iteration of a product for a particular period. Work is organized in the form of a backlog that is prioritized based on customer or business value where the goal of every iteration is to produce a working product and to increase the value of the product. Agile encourages leadership which includes accountability, teamwork, and face-to-face communication. Developers and Stakeholders join hands to align the product with the needs of the customer and company goals. Agile is a methodology that includes several processes that align with the concepts of the Agile Manifesto which was developed by the software developers at Utah. They formulated twelve principles that should be followed to develop an efficient product and create an ideal environment for software development. 
 

Advantages of Agile

 

Agile focuses on flexibility, speed, and continuous improvement which makes it unique from other methodologies. Here are some of the top advantages of Agile.
 

  • Change is an important part of Agile software development. As there are shorter planning cycles, changes are easily accommodated and accepted at any given time of the product development. Reprioritizing and refining the backlog and letting the team introduce change to the product has always been an added advantage in Agile Methodology.
     
  • End-goal does not have to be defined at the beginning of the product. As the product progresses, the goals can come to light and the product can be developed accordingly.
     
  • High-quality and faster delivery can be expected as products are broken down into manageable units called iterations that allow the team to focus on development, collaboration, and testing the product. 
     
  • Communication is given importance in Agile Methodology as face-to-face interactions are given higher importance. Here all the processes are made clear to each member such that there is clarity of work between team members.
     
  • Customers have the opportunity to see the work that is delivered and hence it gives them a chance to share their input which can enhance the product.
     

Disadvantages of Agile
 

Agile Methodology has many benefits such as flexibility which has made organizations choose and implement Agile. However, few trade-offs have to be noted while implementing Agile Methodology.
 

  • Delivery of product increment is hard to pin down as Project Managers are constantly reprioritizing tasks. Additional tasks may also be added during the process which increases the overall timeline of the product.
     
  • Time commitment by the developers is an important factor in the Agile team. Active involvement and collaboration are required continuously for the success of the product and hence, the time given by developers is more than what was given to the traditional approach.
     
  • Documentation may be neglected as the Agile Manifesto prefers working software over documentation. 
     
  • The final product can be different than what was initially intended due to the flexibility and new iteration being added.
     

What is Scrum?
 

Scrum is one of the most popular frameworks that implement the Agile Methodology and is a subset of Agile. It is a software development model used to develop complex products and software. Software is shipped regularly by fixed-length iteration called Sprints that lasts around 30 days. Stakeholders and the team members gather after each Sprint and discuss the plan for the next steps for product increment. Scrum has many roles and responsibilities such as ScrumMaster, Product Owner, and the Scrum developers who play their parts to make the product development possible. Scrum also has four events that provide the structure required for each Sprint- Sprint Planning, Sprint Review, Sprint Retrospective, and daily standups. Visual artifacts such as Burndown charts are used to track the progress of the Scrum team. Hence, Scrum is one of the frameworks of Agile and uses Agile principles for its process of product development.
 

Advantages of Scrum
 

  • Daily standups help the team to be more transparent such that there is enough product visibility. This eliminates any misunderstandings and confusion and issues are identified in advance.
     
  • The team decides collectively when a Sprint can be delivered which increases the accountability and collaboration of the team.
     
  • Changes can be accepted easily as Sprints are short and also gain constant feedback from the customer. For example, when the team discovers a new user story in a Sprint, they can add that feature in the next Sprint during the backlog refinement meeting.
     
  • Cost savings are increased as there is constant communication between the team members that help to lower expenses and increase quality. 
     

Disadvantages of Scrum
 

As every framework has its upsides and downsides, there are few disadvantages of Scrum that have to be noted.
 

  • Scope creep can be a risk while using the Scrum framework as few products have a lack of specific end date and Stakeholders keep requesting additional functions.
     
  • ScrumMasters can make or break the team as their roles are very different from the Project Managers. They are trained to act as servant leaders and not to have authority over the team.
     
  • Inaccuracies can occur due to tasks that are defined poorly. This affects the product timeline and initial goals can be unclear. 
     

Conclusion
 

Agile methodology is a set of principles that organizations follow such that they gain benefits such as increased productivity and the efficiency of the company. Scrum Framework is one of the frameworks of Agile Methodology that helps the implementation of Agile principles. Scrum is a subset of Agile and has its operations and processes to develop and deliver products. Agile also contains other frameworks such as Kanban, Scaled Agile Framework, Lean Programming, etc. Hence, Scrum should be considered as one of the branches of Agile among many other branches. As organizations have implemented Agile and most use Scrum Framework, demand for professionals who are well-versed in these concepts have exponentially increased in the past few years. As the differences between Agile and Scrum are clear, individuals can choose a career that is best suited for their interests and further move ahead in their careers

 

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