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Agile vs. Scrum: The Key Differences to Know in 2021

Agile vs. Scrum: The Key Differences to Know in 2021

Agile vs. Scrum: The Key Differences to Know in 2021

Agile vs. Scrum: The Key Differences to Know in 2021

Are you looking to be certified in Agile or Scrum? Learn about the key differences between Agile vs Scrum in 2021 and which is best for you!

In the world of development, it is important to ensure you have the best methodology available to move as fast as possible and not waste money. With that in mind, many companies have taken up the Agile methodology in the past couple of decades. As many as 97% are now practicing Agile development.

But with 54% also using Scrum, what does that mean? What is the overlap, and are there any differences in Agile vs Scrum? Read on to find out more about these two processes and decide for yourself which to choose for your company.

What Is Agile?

The Agile methodology was developed over the early 2000s. Its developers created it in response to the complaints of several software groups. They believed that development culture had become a heavy-handed and micromanaged process.

Agile now holds itself to four core values which were later expanded in detail in the Agile Software Development manifesto.

These values include:

  • Focusing on individuals and interactions instead of processes and tools
  • Building working software is more important than having comprehensive documentation
  • Engaging in customer collaboration is more important than negotiating contracts
  • Being able to respond to change is better than rigidly following a plan

Agile methods focus on working in small increments (often called “sprints”). After each of these, the team should seek to introspect on the time spent working. They do this to iteratively improve their process.

What Is Scrum?

Scrum was first discussed in the mid-’80s onwards from research done in the physical production industry.

Rather than a method for iterating on development processes, Scrum focuses on shipping a product. Its aims for each sprint are to present incrementally more-complete builds of the product to the customer. Through both Agile and Scrum, a team should improve and evolve their process to get work out the door in a better and more stable state.

Scrum formalizes the creation of a “Scrum team”. This includes multiple roles including:

  • A product owner who represents the product’s stakeholders
  • The product developers, who create the deliverable
  • A scrum master who has the role of preventing the team from encountering impediments.

Sprints in Scrum are far more formalized than they are in Agile development. They intend to have a workable and complete version of the product shipped out at the end of each iteration. This could be in the form of a piece of software, or in the early sprints could be the implementation of a new process.

Agile vs Scrum: Differing Principles

While these systems often overlap in use, they have several different principles. These show they can make up for one another’s differences in several ways.

To start with, the core measure of whether a process is succeeding is different on each side of the coin. In Agile, developers measure this by repeatedly releasing working software. Agile holds to the belief that a trusted team can move towards the completion of a project.

Scrum, however, focuses on its sprint. It has firm timelines after which developers release the next software version. Scrum considers failure to release on time a failure of the team.

Other comparisons include the fact that Agile encourages face-to-face interactions between team members. It suggests that this should happen as often as necessary to get the job done.

On the other hand, Scrum attempts to fit its person-to-person interactions into daily stand-up meetings. Scrum intends these meetings to compress all communication into one short interaction. Both of these have their benefits and drawbacks, requiring a level of cunning to operate with success.

One other difference is that the Agile process focuses on the idea that any designed product should be simple in its creation and execution. It intends to create a minimum viable product and iterate on it. The Scrum process, on the other hand, encourages experimentation and innovation to a far greater degree.

Who Leads the Team?

While Scrum teams consist of a product owner, scrum master, and various developers, there are no inherent leaders in scrum methods. This format is not strictly rigid, and a hierarchy is implementable if required. This allows for senior and junior roles or managers as need be.

Agile methodologies, on the other hand, encourage the idea of self-organizing teams. These groups tend to structure themselves around problems. They then iterate towards finding solutions to those problems.

The Agile process often looks far too chaotic for many management groups. Unfortunately, this means management often encourages more traditional group structures.

In both these systems, it is often very common to have “bolted-on” individuals who get involved but are not officially part of the team. In the pig and chicken metaphor, they are the chickens. An example of these assets would be a testing team that takes part only in the post-development build.

On one hand, a lack of defined leadership in an Agile team can end up in a mess of priorities. On the other, Agile teams have a boon if they self-select respected individuals to lead them. In this situation, they can end up with a strong and capable figurehead with Agile certification at their forefront.

This often means that Agile teams are far more comfortable with their leadership. As a result, they often have stronger morale due to greater buy-in to the team’s vision.

A scrum team does not tend to have a singular head. Everybody in the team assumes equal responsibility for the release of the software. This means the entire team is part of the process of addressing issues and problems.

This can be wonderful for the scrum team's sprint transparency but is also a danger to the speed of a product.

Where To Get More Information

Now that you have a better understanding of how Agile and Scrum can both help your company, you might want to look into implementing them.

With that in mind, you will need a company that already knows the ins and outs of Agile vs Scrum to make the best of this new training. Agile Center can provide everything you need in this regard, so just check out our range of online courses and find out how we can help you be the company you always wanted to be.

Agile Center

Agile Center provides consultancy and training services in the following areas: Lean-Agile Transformation, Agile Strategy audit & implementation and Agile Program/Portfolio management.

Agile Center is a brand of Architecture Center Ltd.

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