Individuals who have entered the world of Agile and started learning about various methods and frameworks may find many terms confusing. Terms such as Agile, Scrum, Lean, Kanban, Iterative development, Scaled Agile, etc have to be fully understood by professionals so that could work efficiently. Often, individuals may think that Scrum and Agile are both synonymous terms and may use them interchangeably. However, they have to understand that both the terms are different; there may be few similarities but both the terms have different meanings and should be used accordingly. Agile is a group of philosophies and principles which several frameworks apply to enhance the efficiency and productivity of the organization. Agile is an umbrella term under which various frameworks function. One of the most popular frameworks of Agile is Scrum which uses the principles of Agile and has its values and principles. The Scrum framework uses an incremental and iterative approach to develop solutions to complex problems. Nevertheless, both the terms are different and this article highlights the difference between Agile and Scrum.
What is Agile Methodology?
Agile Methodology is a list of principles and philosophies that software development frameworks follow which enhances their efficiency and productivity of the organization. This methodology has many benefits over the traditional waterfall method and has attracted many businesses in the past decade. The software development and testing take place at the same time where the teams collaborate to create a final product. Agile strongly believes in incorporating the end-user feedback and makes changes according to the requirements of the customer. It recommends teams start the development with a minimal viable product and later add on iterations to the product. These iterations are based on the feedback of the stakeholders and the end-users. Customers also get to change their requirements according to their needs and the team works on the requirements based on the Product Backlog arrangement.
One main quality of Agile is that it is highly responsive to any type of change in the organization or market. All the concepts used in Agile are derived from the Agile manifesto created by developers from Utah. The Manifesto consists of Agile values and principles that every framework should follow to achieve the best out of software development. The term “Agile” could be thought of as an umbrella term that has various ideas and principles of how businesses should function and what are the values they should uphold. It promotes values such as leadership, accountability, teamwork, and communication which are key elements in making a business successful.
What are the benefits of Agile?
Agile Methodology has many benefits such as speed, flexibility, continuous integration, etc which sets it apart from various other methodologies. Some of the most essential benefits of Agile are:
- Changes can be easily incorporated during the product development cycle as the planning cycles are shorter. This means that customers are given the freedom to make changes according to their needs which ensures customer satisfaction.
- Items are prioritized in a backlog which helps the team to focus on the most important item that may be an urgent requirement.
- There need not be overplanning of the project before the project begins. The team can decide the goals of the product as it progresses. Hence, the development cycle could move one step at a time towards a bigger goal.
- The customers need not wait for months together to get a usable product as it happened in traditional software methodologies.
- Instead, they could experience a high-quality and faster delivery as their product will be delivered in chunks called iterations. This method helps the team to concentrate on the planning, developing, coding, collaboration, and testing of the product.
- Communication plays a key role in Agile Methodology and is given high importance. Agile ensures that the development plan, goals, vision of the product is clear to every member of the team. Also, team members are encouraged to speak up about their issues related to the product or process.
- Agile ensures a faster return of investment, increase in the business value, and faster time to market changes.
Implementing Agile through various approaches
Scrum is one of the most implemented frameworks among Agile Methodology. It is an incremental and iterative approach that delivers value to the product in time-boxed intervals called Sprint which is upto one month. Scrum delivers product increments in regular intervals and follows a set of responsibilities, events, roles, values, etc.
Kanban uses a visual framework to implement Agile and promotes minute changes continuously to the system. The main principles of Kanban are managing and enhancing workflow, limiting work progress, visualizing workflow, and continuous improvement.
- Extreme Programming (XP)
Extreme Programming follows the principles of simplicity, feedback, and embracing change. It functions by concentrating on improving the responsiveness and quality that concerns the customer’s requirements.
- Feature Driven Development (FDD)
This framework involves five basic activities-
- Developing an overall model
- Building a feature list
- Planning by a specific feature
- Designing by a feature list
- Building by features
The best practices of all the industries are mixed into a single approach by this framework.
- Adaptive System Development (ASD)
This framework promotes the idea of continuous adaptation where the project should be in a state of continuous integration and adaptation. Speculate, collaborate, and learn are the three repeating series of cycles in Adaptive System Development.
- Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM)
This approach mainly focuses on the common failures of IT projects such as going over budget, missing deadlines, and no user involvement. The main focus of this approach is to address the issues of business, collaboration, being strict about the timelines, not compromising on the quality of the product, creating the product iteratively, communicating continuously, and demonstrating control.
- Lean Software Development (LSD)
This framework has seven principles which include focusing on learning, delivering as soon as possible, seeing the whole picture, building integrity, eliminating any waste, and taking decisions as late as possible.
This approach has teams of 6-8 developers and mainly focuses on the developers involved in the project and not on the artifacts or processes. By being co-located, this approach achieves communication and efficiency improvement. Delivering the usable code to the user is frequent in this process.
What is Scrum?
As explained, Scrum is one of the frameworks that use Agile principles to process product development. It is an incremental and iterative approach towards software development that solves complex problems. It uses fixed-length iterations called Sprints that ship the product increments regularly. The product development begins with Sprint Planning where the Product Owner explains the requirements of the Sprint to the Developers. The Developers build the increments based on the priority arranged in the Product Backlog. The Sprint progress is scaled by several Scrum Artifacts such as burndown charts, and the Sprint ends with a review meeting at the end.
What are the benefits of Scrum?
- Scrum offers flexibility and adaptability as it is always ready for accepting changes and adapting to unpredictable situations.
- Scrum promotes creativity and innovation among the Developers as it encourages them to take up accountability and responsibility for the entire project. They come up with excellent ideas to cater to the needs of the customers and thus display creativity and innovation as required.
- As Scrum continuously updates the product with increments, it stays relevant to the market and creates products that are currently trending in the market. This shorter time-to-market span helps companies to stay on top of the game and compete with their competitors.
- Scrum helps the company to reduce costs in projects by saving unnecessary documents and enhancing the productivity of the Scrum Team.
- Scrum builds products of superior quality as they are created by internal and external feedback tailored according to the needs of the user.
- Scrum ensures customer satisfaction as customers are involved throughout the process of product development. The increments are added based on their feedback which makes the end version of the product highly valuable.
- Scrum creates an environment where the Developers are free to voice their thoughts and also thrive to build valuable products. This creates a sense of satisfaction for the employees and also challenges them to achieve their inner potential.
Agile and Scrum are two different terminologies as Agile is an umbrella term for various frameworks that use their principles and philosophies. Professionals must always know the difference between the terms and understand when to use them. Agile Methodology has other frameworks such as Kanban, Crystal Clear, Scaled Agile, Feature-Driven Development, etc. However, Scrum itself is a framework that processes product development iteratively and incrementally in Sprints. The values and principles used in Scrum are based on the Agile Methodology. These values are derived from the Agile Manifesto created by the developers of Agile Methodology. Overall, Agile is a set of ideologies and Scrum is a subset of Agile that uses the principles of Agile for product development and delivery.