Agile vs Scrum: Which is the Best Approach for Successful Project Execution?

Agile vs Scrum: Which is the Best Approach for Successful Project Execution? | Project Management | Emeritus

It is no secret that project management is crucial for any organization looking to achieve consistent growth. An organization has several project management approaches available at its disposal to attain specific outcomes. But they mostly rely on Agile and Scrum, and with good reason. For instance, according to the 16th State of Agile report, nearly 80% of respondents have been using Agile in their organizations since 2022. Agile and Scrum are often mentioned together, but they are not the same thing. However, an Agile vs Scrum comparison is not exactly a battle of two distinct methodologies. Imagine Agile as a recipe book with different types of recipes, whereas Scrum is a specific recipe in that book. Furthermore, the survey revealed that 9 out of 10 respondents were using the Scrum framework. So let’s examine the Agile vs Scrum debate in detail to identify the best approach for project success.

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Agile vs Scrum: What is Agile Methodology and How Does it Differ From Scrum?

It is important to first understand the Agile methodology before settling the Agile vs Scrum discussion. Let’s take a look:

Understanding Agile 

  1. An iterative and flexible approach to project management and software development that emphasizes collaboration, among other things.
  2. There is no specific framework but an organization must be adaptive to change, focus on improving continuously, and be flexible. 
  3. Most organizations use popular frameworks such as Scrum, Kanban, Lean, and XP (Extreme Programming).

Differences With Scrum

  1. Scrum, on the other hand, is a specific framework within the Agile methodology. In other words, Agile is a set of guiding principles and the Scrum framework is a specific way to follow these principles.
  2. It provides a set of roles to implement Agile principles in a structured process whereas Agile follows no prescriptive approach.
  3. Scrum focuses on breaking down work into short units. Agile, however, focuses on continuous delivery and meeting customer needs.

ALSO READ: What is Kanban? 5 Reasons Why Every Project Manager Endorses it

What are the Key Principles of Agile and Scrum?

It is critical to develop a thorough understanding of each framework’s principles to arrive at an understanding of Agile vs Scrum. The differences between Agile and Scrum are most evident in their principles. Here are some key ones:

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Agile Principles

1. Continuous Delivery

The highest priority is to ensure customer satisfaction through continuous delivery of valuable software.

2. Collaboration

All stakeholders, like business people and developers, need to work together throughout the project.

3. Working Software

An organization measures progress chiefly through the delivery of working software in this principle.

4. Change

The principle calls for all stakeholders to be adaptive to change and maintain a constant pace to ensure sustainable development.

Scrum Principles

1. Empirical Process Control

The principle relies on data transparency, experimentation, and feedback to improve the process continuously.

2. Self-Organizing Teams

The setup calls for teams to be cross-functional with complete autonomy on how they want to accomplish their work.

3. Sprints

The work is organized into time-bound iterations called sprints that usually last two to four weeks.

4. Prioritization

A task’s priority is set based on its value to the customer and its relevance to the project goals.

5. Sprint Review

There is a meeting at the end of each sprint to review and demonstrate the completed work. It is also a forum to reflect on the team’s performance for improvement.

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How Does Agile Handle Project Changes Compared to Scrum?

The Agile vs Scrum debate is a close one, but both project management approaches are designed to handle project changes seamlessly. Let’s understand how they achieve this feat:

Agile’s Handling

Flexible to Change

A core Agile principle states that organizations must always adapt to evolving customer needs and meet business requirements late in the process.

Iterative Development

Agile allows changes to be incorporated regularly through its focus on an iterative approach. It also gives autonomy to teams to adjust priorities and tasks to accommodate changes.

Customer Collaboration

An Agile manager prioritizes collaboration with customers over contract negotiation. They can implement changes based on customer feedback throughout the process.

Continuous Feedback

The use of feedback loops is an important aspect of Agile. This permits stakeholders to provide input, identify changes, and adjust priorities at every juncture.

Scrum’s Response

Sprint Review

The framework uses Sprint Review to gather feedback from stakeholders at the end of each sprint. It, however, discourages changes to the backlog in the middle of a sprint. 

Sprint Retrospective

A team can make changes during a sprint retrospective held at the end of each sprint. The team reflects on its processes and identifies areas for improvement.

Product Backlog

The product backlog is dynamic and can be adjusted at any time. This allows teams to reprioritize and add or remove items based on changing requirements.

Scrum Ceremonies

The framework offers room for changes through frequent inspection by teams. They look at the product increment and processes regularly and adapt accordingly.

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Can Agile and Scrum be Used Simultaneously in a Project?

A project can use both despite several differences between Agile and Scrum. It is quite common for teams to adopt Agile principles while implementing Scrum as their chosen framework. Here are a few points to note:

  • On one hand, Agile provides the mindset of setting business goals. On the other hand, Scrum provides the structure to put into practice
  • A team implementing Scrum also reflects Agile values such as responding to change, delivering working software frequently, and collaborating with customers
  • Many teams complement Scrum with Agile practices like Test-Driven Development (TDD), Continuous Integration (CI), Continuous Delivery (CD), etc.
  • A firm can enjoy many benefits by adopting both Agile and Scrum. For example, it can increase flexibility, visibility of progress, and collaboration, among others

Which Industries Benefit Most From Agile or Scrum Methodologies?

The benefits of Agile and Scrum extend beyond software development to various industries, almost rendering the Agile vs Scrum comparison moot. Here are a few that benefit the most:

1. Software Development

It is the industry that uses Agile and Scrum frequently. The emphasis on rapid iterations, collaboration, and constant feedback are a few reasons for the continued reliance.

2. Marketing and Advertising

This field relies on Agile and Scrum because it has to deal with ever-evolving trends and audience preferences.

3. Health Care

Every health care organization must adapt to new technologies and patient needs. This is where Agile and Scrum help them optimize workflows.

4. Financial Services

Financial institutions need to work fast to respond to market changes swiftly. Agile and Scrum enable this effort by helping in the development of new products, management of risk, etc.

ALSO READ: Build an Agile Mindset: How to Become an Effective Agile Project Manager

Agile and Scrum are indispensable to project success, and project success is what every organization wants to achieve consistently. It is, therefore, important to be familiar with Agile methodologies, which include Scrum. Emeritus offers a comprehensive suite of courses designed to cater to everyone, whether you are a business owner, a project manager, or an employee. These courses will help you understand which Agile approach is best suited for your projects. The experts have designed these courses in such a way that they impart practical knowledge. Enroll in one of the project management courses and elevate your career to soaring highs!

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About the Author

Content Writer, Emeritus Blog
Mitaksh has an extensive background in journalism, focusing on various beats, including technology, education, and the environment, spanning over six years. He has previously actively monitored telecom, crypto, and online streaming developments for a notable news website. In his leisure time, you can often find Mitaksh at his local theatre, indulging in a multitude of movies.
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