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Scrum vs Agile: What is the Difference?

Last updated on Apr 24,2024 1.9K Views

Scrum vs Agile: What is the Difference?

Agile and Scrum have become very popular in recent years, and for many good reasons. Together, they make developing and managing a project streamlined, systematic, faster, and cost-effective. At times, the terms Agile and Scrum are used interchangeably, which makes you wonder if they are one and the same. Are they? Let’s check it out in this ‘Scrum vs Agile’ article.

Listed below are the topics discussed in this article:

Here we go!

Agile and Scrum: Are they the same?

Building a new product isn’t easy, and making it a hit in this competitive market is even more challenging. It can be difficult to decide which of the many tools and techniques available are appropriate for your product. In that aspect, agile and scrum usually top the list. These buzzwords seem to be used interchangeably, but there is an important distinction between them.

A good analogy would be the difference between a recipe and a diet. A diet is a set of methods and practices based on the principles and values that you follow. A recipe would be a framework you can use to implement your vegetarian diet. This is similar to the relationship between Agile (the diet) and Scrum (the recipe you follow). If I have to put that in technical terms:

  • Agile is a set of methods and practices based on the values and principles expressed in the Agile Manifesto. These include collaboration, self-organization, and team cross-functionality.

Agile comes in a number of forms, meaning there are a number of subsets to the Agile Project Management philosophy. Scrum is one of them.

  • Scrum is a framework for handling roles, events, artifacts, and rules/guidelines to implement the Agile Mindset. It is a more refined form of Agile which takes its core principles from Agile while adding a twist of its own in order to formulate a strategy that is a lot more different.

So agile and scrum are not the same after all. To understand the Scrum methodology we should know what Agile is. Let’s start by understanding the buzzword, Agile.

What is Agile?

Agile is a mindset, a philosophy, more like a way of thinking, a movement focusing on communication, team-thinking, intrinsic motivation, empowerment, innovative walks, flow, and value creation while developing a product. 

At its core, Agile is a set of principles for actions that keep a software development team organized and efficient. Agile started when in 2001, a team of software developers got together in Utah for a weekend of fun and discussion. They compiled their views and principles into a document that is easy to understand and apply. Which we refer to as Agile Manifesto.

Agile - Scrum vs Agile - Edureka

So, agile is more of a philosophy and set of values and principles to follow, rather than a process to apply to a project. It comes in a number of forms, scrum being one of them. Let’s explore scrum in detail.

What is Scrum?

Scrum is a lightweight agile framework, within which people can address complex adaptive problems, while productively and creatively delivering products of the highest possible value.

In the Scrum process, the product owner creates a list of tasks to be completed and the scrum team breaks the list down to smaller pieces known as sprints. A sprint typically lasts two to four weeks and results in project deliverables ready to be shipped to the customer. The team repeats this process over several sprints. It is a highly successful and widely used agile approach with multiple benefits.

Agile Methodology

Agile methodology is an incremental and iterative approach, used mainly for software development. The basic concept used here is to break the complex projects into smaller units which are achievable in the specific time frame. Here are some key factors regarding the agile methodology that you must be aware of.

  • In agile, software development and testing are conducted parallelly in this approach.
  • This approach enjoys greater flexibility since it is possible to change the requirement since the development are done as separate blocks.
  • It promotes a lot of cross-functional collaborations among the members and real face 2 face discussion are needed in this process.
  • Agile promotes feedback to make sure that the product is more useful
  • In Agile methodology, the stakeholders, business owners, developers, and project managers often meet to discuss the progress and to update any change of requirement.

agile - difference between agile and scrum - edureka

As per the Agile manifesto cemented in 2001 by 13 industry leader’s there are four values and 12 principles which drive the Agile methodology.

Values listed in Agile Manifesto

  1.   Individuals and interactions over processes and tools.
  2.   Working software over comprehensive documentation.
  3.   Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  4.   Responding to change over following a plan.

Agile methodology can be considered as the prime process as it has paved the way for the development of many other iterative and incremental approach. The most popular Agile frameworks which were created out Agile are Scrum, Crystal, Dynamic Systems Development and Feature- Driven Development.  Agile development requires continuous planning, development, testing, and integration for the development of the project. It is not complex considered to the traditional waterfall method and is flexible enough to adapt as per the circumstances arise. Agile Model focuses on building quality product parts into production rather than inspecting for quality once the project is implemented, that’s why Agile is referred to as an incremental and iterative approach.

Scrum Methodology

Scrum is another project management methodology which comes under the broader umbrella of Agile project management. Like Agile, Scrum promotes accountability, teamwork, and function in an iterative and incremental approach. Scrum projects are driven by Scrum master along with product managers and developers. The time frame for each built which are released into production are denoted as a sprint in a Scrum system, normally a sprint will be 10 days to 4 weeks longer.

Scrum Process - Edureka

  • It is a framework within which people can solve complex adaptive problems and continuously providing results in smaller portions which are of higher quality.
  • Scrum system has its own rules, events, and roles which enables more efficiency. 

In Scrum, the process starts with sprint planning within the members to discuss the work that is going to be undertaken in the upcoming sprint. Once the sprint gets started there will be daily sprint meeting to discuss access the development of the project. After the sprint is completed there will a sprint review and sprint retrospective to check the efficiency of work and to come up with a better plan for the upcoming sprint.

Scrum is not Equal to Agile, Why?

Scrum is a part of Agile, while Agile is a larger umbrella which consists of other methodologies also.

Agile was derived because of the problems caused by the traditional waterfall method used in software development. Waterfall method was too sequential and to avoid that Agile was invented. Agile process enjoys the flexibility and adapting the changing requirements. Agile always included the customer in the process of development by getting consistent feedback. This reduced the risk of low acceptance of product at the final stage from the customer side as well. Agile is shapeless since it doesn’t have any structure. All the members in Agile shares equal responsibility in sharing the success and failures. It’s a collective effort in Agile methodology.

Scrum is an improved way of Agile Methodology. It shares the same principles and values of Agile while adding its own unique features. Scrum methodology has two new mandatory roles: Product Owner and Scrum MasterProduct owners always communicate with the client to get the requirements and feedbacks, it helps to turn the client wishes to product features. Scrum master is the person who is responsible for the coordination for the Scrum team’s activities. It is a highly successful and widely used agile approach with multiple benefits.

Now that you know agile and scrum are not the same, let’s check out the key differences between agile and scrum.

Key Differences Between Agile and Scrum

The table below lists the key differences between Scrum & Agile.




Nature & Scope

Agile is a mentality and a set of principles

Scrum is a framework that implements agile principles


Planning occurs at three levels: release planning, iteration planning, and daily planning

Next sprint is planned after the team has completed the current sprint activities

Flexibility to ChangesAgile is very flexible and hence adapts to changes very quicklyRigid framework & there is no much room for frequent changes
Design & ExecutionAgile execution is quite simple and it usually something that isn’t done before

Works on trying new and creative ideas, which yields concise and smart outcomes

Monitoring Process

Requires detailed tracking & it takes place after every milestone of the overall design

Monitoring takes place after compilation of certain features rather than after each design

Leadership Role A leader is accountable for the work done (or not done) by the teamThere is no ‘team leader’, instead its fosters a multi-functional and self-organized team
Mode of Communication

The effective mode of communication is face-to-face within a team on a regular basis

Communication is done on a daily/weekly basis with respect to the schedule
Estimation Time & Delivery

The priority is always to satisfy the customer by providing continuous delivery of valuable software

Delivers build to clients to get their feedback, after each sprint
Customer Feedback

Encourages regular feedback during various processes from business users

Regular feedback is taken from end users but in a more orderly fashion, like after every sprint

This brings us to the end of  ‘Scrum vs Agile’ article. To conclude you can think of Agile as an organizational mindset and Scrum as the tools and techniques that a team can use to work toward that new mindset and, ultimately, organizational success. Hope you are clear with all that has been shared with you in this article.

Make sure you are well versed with the Scrum terminology before you start using it. There can be no better time than right now to get certified in Scrum.

Got a question for us? Please mention it in the comments section of this “Scrum vs Agile” article and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

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Scrum vs Agile: What is the Difference?