Difference Between Agile and Scrum - Invensis Learning

Very often, Agile and Scrum are terms that are used interchangeably. While they do have a lot in common when it comes to methods, there are certain aspects that differentiate the two. The Agile methodology is an umbrella term that has many frameworks, tools, and techniques under it. It is an overall philosophy, a set of principles, and a state of mind that organizations can develop to improve their functioning. On the other hand, Scrum is part of the Agile methodology. Scrum methods adhere to the main objectives of Agile, in the sense that they have the same values and belief system, but the tools and techniques are more specific.

The article discusses the main differences between Agile and Scrum, based on the roles offered to employees, the aspects of project management, and more.

The Role of Project Manager in Agile and Scrum

The Project Manager’s Role in Agile

Traditionally speaking, a project manager is in charge of a project. He is responsible for project delivery, timelines, and quality. They work with other managers in the organization to plan for all the strategies involved to complete any project. When it comes to Agile, there is no role for a traditional Project Manager as such, but there are roles that have the same responsibilities assigned in the Agile team. 

Since there are different Agile processes and methods, there can be either one person (like a Project Manager) who has the same responsibilities assigned, but his job will be to make sure all strategic decisions take place in an Agile manner. Or, the second way of completing the project in an Agile way would be to delegate the responsibilities of a Project Manager and distribute it among different members of the Agile team. Since the responsibilities of a Project Manager are crucial to a project’s completion and success, they need to be addressed regardless of the type of team it is.

The Project Manager’s Role in Scrum

Traditionally speaking, when it comes to Scrum Teams, there is no role assigned for a Project Manager. A Scrum Team is made up of three job roles. These are:

  • The Scrum Master
  • The Product Owner
  • The Development Team

Generally, the duties of a Project Manager are divided into the responsibilities assigned to the Product Owner and the Scrum Master. The Scrum Master is responsible for making sure that all the processes in the project are taking place in an Agile way and that the project is developing smoothly and efficiently. 

The Product Owner is responsible for creating a roadmap of the project and collaborating with other departments of the organization such as management, sales, marketing, and so on. Often the Scrum Master’s role is confused with the one of the Project Manager, but this is not the case. The Product Owner holds responsibility for the project, whereas the Scrum Master is responsible for the team and its processes. So, neither the Scrum Master nor the Product Owner is just the “Agile project manager” in Scrum Teams.

What is Agile Project Management?

To put it simply, Agile project management is completing projects using Agile principles. The core of Agile lies in working in iterations to make the final product relevant and successful. This ensures faster delivery of products and constant improvement throughout its lifecycle. The Agile project management process is focused on taking incremental steps while the project is ongoing and the team is adept at managing changes and working efficiently with each iteration.

Since Agile projects are more flexible and Agile teams are more empowered than traditional projects and teams, they tend to be more successful, with a 28% higher rate of success compared to their traditional counterparts.

What is Scrum?

Scrum is also an Agile way of managing projects. Here Scrum Teams work in increments known as sprints. Each sprint lasts between two or three weeks where they create a deliverable product. The following sprints are focused on implementing feedback from the previous sprint and adding functionalities to the product to make it more consumer-friendly. 

Scrum teams meet daily to discuss the progress of the project during a sprint. Before the sprint begins, the team gets together to create a roadmap and timeline of the sprint. After the sprint is complete, the product and the sprint are reviewed and analyzed. This way a clear understanding of progress is created in the project’s life cycle. The Scrum method is the most widely used framework in Agile, with 37% of the respondents who participated in a recent survey, admitting to it being used at their organization.

The Difference Between Agile and Scrum

Agile and Scrum clearly have a lot of similarities, but there are some differences as well. Both work based on iterations and are focused on customer interaction and satisfaction. Both methods use teams to come up with solutions in a collaborative manner. So what is the main difference between Agile and Scrum?

Agile is a philosophy that was created by software developers to improve their process. It is made up of different tools and techniques. Agile is a mindset that needs to be inculcated in the team to achieve desirable results with every project. 

Scrum is a part of Agile. It is a specific set of methods and processes that Agile teams can use to complete their iterations while they are creating a product. It is based on the core values that one learns from Agile project management. Scrum provides the team with tools that will help them facilitate Agile projects.

This means that all Scrum projects are Agile, but not all Agile projects are Scrum. DevOps, Kanban, Lean methods are some other frameworks that can be used to make teams more Agile. Organizations can also use hybrid methods to become Agile, whereas Scrum is usually a set of guidelines and principles that need to be followed perfectly. 

Final Thoughts

Choosing the right approach for any organization can seem daunting. Companies need to sit down with their project managers and understand the way the organization operates as a whole and based on how the teams work as well. Based on that principle alone, any team leader or project manager should make the decision of the Agile approach they need to take.

Selecting the right approach is only one part of implementing Agile practices. Working professionals need to be trained in popular Agile Certification courses to become successful Scrum Masters, Product Owners, Agile Coaches, and more. This will help them in creating efficient Agile teams that deliver quality results with each project.

Some of the popular Agile Certification Courses that individuals and enterprise teams can take up are:

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Billie Keita is known for her exemplary skills in implementing project management methodologies and best practices for business critical projects. She possesses 10+ years of experience in handling complex software development projects across Europe and African region. She also conducts many webinars and podcasts where she talks about her own experiences in implementing Agile techniques. She is a Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) and PMI Project Management Professional (PMP)®, and has published many articles across various websites.


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