Agile vs. Scrum: Everything You Need to Know

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Agile vs. Scrum: Everything You Need to Know

Agile vs. Scrum: Everything You Need to Know

Agile vs. Scrum: Everything You Need to Know

Agile vs. Scrum: Everything You Need to Know

Scaled Agile vs. Scrum: There are many different methodologies in software development, but these two are quickly taking over the market. Learn the basics of each here.

Keyword(s): scaled agile

Want to know the difference between Agile and Scrum?

Did you know that a full 71% of organizations now implement Scaled Agile approaches for their projects? The framework has taken over the industry and revolutionized the way businesses manage projects.

But many offshoots of the framework exist. The question is which is right for you? The article below outlines Agile and its most popular offshoot, Scrum. Read on to determine which will suit your needs.

What is Scaled Agile?

Agile project development is based on an iterative, incremental approach. Methodologies focus on constant feedback from the end users. It allows for constantly changing requirements rather than in-depth planning at the onset of a project.

Cross-trained teams work on different iterations of a product. These iterations are organized into a backlog that’s prioritized based on customer or business value. The goal with each iteration is to produce a viable, working product.

Agile methodologies encourage teamwork over individualization. Accountability and face-to-face communication are paramount in this framework. Developers and stakeholders must work together. They must align company goals, customer needs, and product goals.

The Agile framework refers to processes that align with the concepts originally laid out in the Agile Manifesto. It’s a lightweight development methodology created by software developers back in 2001. Their goal was to create a better way of developing software through application and teaching.

12 Agile Principles

Twelve underlying principles rule the Agile framework. Most of which are also used in other, similar project development frameworks.

  1. The highest priority is the satisfaction of the customer. It's done through early and continuous delivery of great software.
  2. The process harnesses change for competitive customer advantage, even late in the development.
  3. Deliver working software frequently, from weeks to months, as soon as iterations allow.
  4. Developers and business people must work together each day throughout the project.
  5. Mold projects around motivated individuals. Then give them the support, environment, and trust they need to finish the job.
  6. The fastest and most effective methods of communication are face-to-face conversations.
  7. Progress is measured primarily through working software.
  8. The process promotes sustainable development. Sponsors, users, and developers should be capable of maintaining the constant pace indefinitely.
  9. Continuous attention to good design and technical excellence enhance agility.
  10. Simplicity is essential. Maximize the amount of work NOT done.
  11. Self-organized teams create the best architectures, designs, and requirements.
  12. At regular intervals, each team reflects on its effectiveness. Then they tune their behavior to optimize results.

When you look at Agile vs Waterfall or Agile vs Scrum, remember that many of the methods are the same. It’s the focus that changes, as you’ll see when you reach the section on Scrum below.

Agile Advantages

If you’re wondering is Agile training for you, consider the following benefits before you get an agile certification. Is the framework right for your organization?

Change is embraced: The short planning cycles make it easy for developers to create and accept changes any time in the project. Teams can introduce changes to the project in a matter of weeks by refining and reprioritizing the backlog.

End-goal may be unknown: Agile is built for projects in which the end-goal isn’t clearly defined. The goal will eventually become clear as the project progresses. Developers can easily adapt to such evolving requirements.

Fast, high-quality delivery: Teams can focus on high-quality development, collaboration, and testing. It's done by breaking the project into manageable iterations. Developers identify bugs and find solutions more quickly because of the testing done each iteration. As such, the software is delivered faster.

Focused team interaction: Frequent communication and face-to-face interactions are paramount. Teams work together in a more flexible manner, owning different parts of the project during each stage.

Customers feel heard: Customers have opportunities during each iteration. During this time they can see the delivered work, share input, and impact the end product. They gain a sense of ownership by working closely with the project.

Unfortunately, Agile isn’t all peaches and cream. It has several disadvantages too, as you’ll see in the next section.

Agile Disadvantages

Before you adopt the Agile framework, keep in mind that it isn’t good for everything. It has its drawbacks too:

Planning is less cohesive: Solid delivery dates are often vague. Some items may be late for delivery because Agile is based on project managers often re-prioritize tasks. Sprints are required sometimes in order to meet deadlines.

Teams must be experts: Agile teams work in small groups, and members must be highly skilled in a variety of areas.

Developer Time Commitment: When the development team is completely dedicated to a given project, the project is most likely to succeed. This is more time consuming than a traditional approach. It requires active involvement and collaboration throughout the Agile process.

Neglected Documentation: Working software trumps comprehensive documentation in the Agile framework. That leads to neglected documentation in many cases.

Final results may differ from original intentions: Since the initial project might not have a clear goal, the final product might be unexpected. Evolving customer feedback may change the direction of each iteration. This may lead to an unexpected final deliverable.

Next, we’ll move on to what many consider an Agile derivative: Scrum.

What is Scrum?

You can think of Scrum as the most popular subset of Agile. It’s used to manage complex product development. It used fixed-length iterations, called sprints, which last from one to two weeks in length. At the end of each sprint, developers and stakeholders meet to plan the next iterations.

Scrum follows the same set of roles, responsibilities, and meetings each sprint. They don’t change from one iteration to the next.

The Scrum process was created in 1993 by Jeff Sutherland. He modeled the framework after a study published in the Harvard Business Review. It compared high-performing, cross-functional business teams to the “scrum” formation used in the game rugby.

Advantages of Scrum

Consider these advantages when you compare project management frameworks:

Higher project transparency and visibility: With daily meetings, each team member knows who is working on what. This eliminates confusion.

Increased accountability: No project manager tells the team what to do. The team collectively decides what to complete during each sprint. The team works together, improving collaboration and empowering each member.

Simple to make changes: Changes are easy to implement because of the short sprints and constant feedback.

Lower cost: The team knows of issues as soon as they arise because of the constant communication. They can fix these blunders immediately, lowering expenses and increasing quality.

Notice the most distinct feature, the lack of team leader. We’ll talk more about the Scrum Manager’s roll in the next section.

Disadvantages of Scrum

As you’ll see, scope creep is arguably the biggest problem in Scrum frameworks. Stand your ground when stakeholders try to increase your workload.

Scope creep: Some projects experience scope creep because of their absence of a projected end date. Without a completion date, stakeholders are tempted to continue requesting more functionality.

Requires teams with experience and commitment: Everyone does everything on a scrum team. That means team members must have broad technical experience. Each member must also commit to the daily meetings and be on board until project completion.

Needs a good Scrum Master: A Scrum Master is not a project manager. The master doesn’t have authority over the team. If the master tries to control the team, the project has a high potential for failure. The master should instead trust the team and avoid telling members what to do.

Higher likelihood of inaccuracies: If tasks aren’t well defined, timelines and project costs won’t be accurate. If initial goals aren’t clear, planning grows difficult and sprints take extra time.

Other disadvantages are minor. Agile shares many of these minor disadvantages.

What’s Next?

Now that you’ve compared the Scrum and Scaled Agile frameworks, what did you think? Which suits your organizations needs better? It’s better to stick with one framework from a project’s inception through its completion.

If you found this material helpful, skip over to our library and read one of our other articles on all things Agile. So long and good luck!

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