Agile Vs Scrum – Difference, Principles and Benefits

Agile Vs Scrum

This is a detailed article explaining the difference between the Agile and the Scrum methodology. Also, find out the principles and benefits of both.


Agile Methodology

The agile methodology is a practice that helps the continuous iteration of development and testing in the system development life cycle process. In this methodology, the product is broken down into smaller builds. The agile methods are widely accepted because here, the leadership encourages the team for accountability and face to face communication. To support the product with customer needs and company goals, business stakeholders and developers must work together in this methodology.

Agile refers to any process that aligns with the concept of the agile manifesto. A meeting between 17 software developers was held in Utah in February 2001 to discuss some lightweight development methods. These 17 developers together published the manifesto for agile software development, which covered how they have found “better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it.” Here, four values and 12 principles are included. There is a considerable difference between the agile manifesto and the traditional text, a guide to the project management body of knowledge and standards.

Principles of the Agile Manifesto

The agile manifesto has listed 12 principles to guide teams on how to execute with agility. The 12 principles are mentioned as it is-

  1. Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.
  2. Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage.
  3. Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with preference to the shorter timescale.
  4. Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.
  5. Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need and trust them to get the job done.
  6. The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.
  7. Working software is the primary measure of progress.
  8. Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
  9. Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.
  10. Simplicity — the art of maximizing the amount of work not done — is essential.
  11. The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.
  12. At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more productive, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.
Agile Model

Advantages of Agile

It is widely believed that agile evolved in response to some project managers’ dislike of the rigid, linear waterfall methodology. The new to agile methods focus on flexibility, continuous improvement, as well as speed. Here are some top advantages of agile-

  1. Change is willingly accepted– Because of shorter planning cycles; it is effortless to accommodate and take turns at any time while working on a project. Opportunity to refine and reprioritize the backlog, letting teams introduced changes to the project is always there.
  2. The end goal can be unknown– Agile has proved to be very, very suitable for projects where the end goals for not clearly defined. with the progression of the project, the NGOs will come to light, and the development can easily be adapted to these evolving requirements
  3. Faster, high-quality delivery – Breaking down the project into multiple iterations allows the developing team to focus on high-quality development, testing, and collaboration. It also means that during each iteration, bugs can get identified because of testing, thereby solving it quickly.
  4. Strong team interaction– One of the best things about agile methodology is that it gives importance to frequent communication and face to face interactions among the developers, the management, the stakeholders, and the customers. Teams can work together, and people can take responsibility for their parts of the project.
  5. Customers are heard– Customers can gain a sense of ownership by working closely with the project team. Customers are given many opportunities to see the development of a particular system, and they can share their input and hence can have a real impact on the end product.
  6. Continuous improvement- The agile methodology encourages feedback from users and team members throughout the whole project so there is always scope for growth in a future iteration.

Disadvantages of Agile

  1. Planning can be less concrete– It can sometimes be hard to identify a particular delivery date. One of the most important reasons for this is that a trial is based on time-boxed delivery, and some talks are often reprioritized by the project managers, and hence deliveries of some items may not be complete on time.
  2. The team must be knowledgeable– Since many times, agile teams are usually small, the team members are required to be highly skilled as well as versatile. At the same time, we should also be comfortable with the chosen agile methodology.
  3. The final product can be very different – Initially, any agile project might not have a definite plan, so the final product can look significantly different than what was intended. It is because of the flexibility of agile, and new iteration may be based on changing customer opinion, which can direct to a very different final product.

Methodologies That Are Used to Implement Agile

Within the agile methods, there are several involved, and these are as follows-

  1. Extreme Programming (XP)
  2. Feature-driven development (FDD)
  3. Adaptive system development (ASD
  4. Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM)
  5. Lean Software Development (LSD)
  6. Kanban
  7. Crystal Clear
  8. Scrum


Scrum, a subset of agile, is one of the most popular process Frameworks for implementing agile. This iterative software development model is used to manage very complicated software and product development. It involves fixed-lengths iterations, which are also known as sprints. These sprints last for one or two weeks, which allows teams to shift software on a regular cadence. At the end of each sprint, the next steps are planned in a meeting between stakeholders and developers. A set of roles, responsibilities, and gatherings which have permanent is followed in Scrum.

Scrum Framework
Source: Dr. Ian Mitchell / CC0

Advantages of Scrum

Scrum is a framework with specific roles and ceremonies. These rules have a lot of advantages. The benefits of Scrum include:

  1. More transparency and project visibility: With daily meetings, the whole team is aware of each and everyone’s role and progress, thus eliminating any scope of misunderstanding. Issues can be recognized and resolved well in time by the team.
  2. Increased team accountability: Instead of the task manager assigning the roles and duties, the whole team decides the role of each member collectively, and hence everyone is involved in decision making. The members are encouraged to work together, which helps the collaboration to improve. It also empowers the team members.
  3. Easy to contain changes: With short sprints and constant feedback, adapt to changes.
  4. Increased cost savings: Constant communication allows the team to identify the problems well in time and solve it in the next sprint, thus saving cost and improving the quality.

Disadvantages of Scrum

No doubt, Scrum provides a lot of advantages to the programmers and the management, but it has downsides too. A high level of understanding and commitment from the team is required in Scrum; there can be a risk of scope creep also. Here are the disadvantages of Scrum:

  1. Risk of scope creep: With a lack of completion date, stakeholders may demand or request additional features in a particular system, which leads to scope creep.
  2. The team requires experience and commitment: Since there are no defined roles in the Scrum Team (everyone does everything), the team members are required to be highly efficient, knowledgable, and versatile in the work. The team should also be well aware of the methodology of the Scrum framework. The team members are also needed to attend daily scrum meetings and are required to commit to the team until the project is completed.
  3. The wrong Scrum Master can ruin everything: Unlike the project manager, the Scrum Master does not have authority over the team; he cannot tell the team members what to do. The project can fail if the Scrum Master tries to dominate and tell others what to do.

Roles in Scrum

  1. Product Owner: The product owner in a scrum team is the one who is aware of what he wants from the team. He is engaged with studying the business and market requirements and prioritizes the works accordingly. He is responsible for interacting with the stakeholders and the team and makes sure that everyone understands the items in the given backlog.  One of the primary roles of a Product Owner is to guide and motive the team to work for the prescribed goal.
  2. Scrum Master: The scrum master is often considered as the coach of the team. He is responsible for helping the team to do the best work possible. He is responsible for organizing meetings and dealing with challenges. He has to make sure that the product backlog is ready for the upcoming sprint.
  3. Scrum Team: The Scrum Team generally has around 5-7 members in the team. The team members are required to work together and help each other, thus sharing a deep sense of professional friendship among them. Unlike most of the other professional teams in the market, there are no distinct roles in the team, and everyone is required to complete a set of work together or individually.

Comparison between Agile and Scrum

Major Differences

Agile Scrum
Agile is basically a development methodology based on an iterative and incremental approach. Scrum is one of the implementations of agile methodology. Here, incremental builds are delivered to the stakeholders regularly, every two or three weeks.
Agile software development is highly suited to environments that have a small but expert project development team. Scrum is preferably used in the project where the requirement is quickly altering.
In the Agile process, leadership plays a significant role. Scrum encourages having a self-organizing, cross-functional team.
Compared to Scrum, it is a more inflexible method. So there is not much room for numerous changes. The chief benefit of Scrum is its flexibility as it swiftly reacts to changes.
Agile involves collaborations and face-to-face communications between the members of different cross-functional teams. In Scrum, the association is achieved in a daily stand up meeting with a fixed job allocate to scrum master, product owner, and team members.
Agile can involve lots of up-front development processes and managerial change. Not too many modifications are needed while executing the scrum process.
The agile method needs regular delivery to the end-user for their opinion. In the Scrum, after every sprint, a build is delivered to the customer for their opinion.
In this system, each step of progress, like requirements, analysis, design, are frequently monitored during the lifecycle. A display of the functionality is provided after every sprint. So that regular opinion can be taken ahead of the next race.
The project head takes care of all the responsibilities in the agile method. There is no person in charge, so the whole team addresses the issues or troubles.
The Agile method encourages opinion during the development of the end-user. In this way, the final product will be more practical. Daily sprint meeting is conducted to evaluate and feedback to settle on the future progress of the project.

It is important to note that Agile is an umbrella term, which is that it includes many frameworks Extreme Programming, Kanban, Crystal, and Scrum. Scrum can be considered as Agile since Scrum is one of the many frameworks used to implement Agile. But Agile can never be considered as Scrum.

When To Use Scrum And When To Use Agile

When to Use Scrum

The Scrum framework is generally preferred to use when:

  • The project requirements are sure to change/evolve
  • Regular feedback from stakeholders or consumers is required
  • You are not required to stick to a particular release date
  • The project team members want autonomy
  • You are required to deliver software regularly

Scrum works fine for projects that have a lot of uncertainties or that change with time. Scrum deals with these changes efficiently, so one can easily adjust new information or features through the process.

When to Use Agile

It is very unclear regarding when to use Agile and when to use Scrum. Scrum is one of the many frameworks in the Agile process, so they have a lot in common

The Agile framework is generally preferred to use when

  • The ultimate product isn’t distinct
  • The clients/stakeholders need the power to suggest changes during the process
  • Changes need to be executed during the entire course
  • The developers are adjustable and can think autonomously

I hope you find this guide useful. If so, do share it with others who are excited to explore Software Development Methodologies like Agile or Scrum and other topics that we publish here on our blog. If you have any questions related to this article, feel free to ask us in the comments section.

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