Understanding Agile and Scrum — The Key Differences

Testsigma Inc.
8 min readDec 5, 2023

Learn the key differences between Agile and Scrum to understand how these two popular project management frameworks can help you succeed. Get started now!

Two of the most frequently used approaches for software development and project management are Agile and Scrum.

Agile is an approach to project management, whereas Scrum is a kind of Agile methodology. Owing to the similarities between them, you may get perplexed among them occasionally. Since Agile and Scrum come in handy for common usage, both of them are frequently used identically. However, there are significant differences between them.

You can explore the key Agile vs Scrum differences in the following sections.

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What is Agile?

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Agile is a principle or approach to project management. It intends to fulfil a goal in tiny increments.

Rather than handling a single huge launch, an Agile project involves smaller fragments of tasks. These tiny tasks are easy to deliver continuously in a shorter duration. Hence, project teams can conveniently accommodate dynamic priorities and handle flaws. Furthermore, they can experience a significant reduction in time, cost, and inefficiencies.

This iterative proposition to software development methodology focuses on aspects like customer satisfaction, handling changing requirements, frequent delivery of working software, and sustainable development.

What is Scrum?

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Scrum refers to an Agile methodology invented to build products in an environment sensitive to change. It significantly focuses on team collaboration to deliver valuable products. In the Scrum approach, the work is accomplished in time-boxed or sprint periods. Essentially, the teams quickly accomplish a predetermined amount of work.

Scrum assists teams working on challenging projects to effectively collaborate and organize their workloads. Most commonly, software development teams use this approach. However, it can be advantageous to any team working towards the fulfillment of a common goal.

You might have now understood the concept of Agile and Scrum. Now let’s go through their development processes.

Different development processes in Agile & Scrum during software development

You can better understand Agile and Scrum when you go through the development processes of each.

Development processes in Agile:

Here are the details of the different stages involved in Agile.

  • In the first phase, the stakeholder determines the goal and scope of the software.
  • The second phase involves the creation of a software development team. Essentially, the product owner verifies the availability of co-developers and selects talented individuals to ensure project success.
  • The development team now begins to combine all the requirements of the product collected during the earlier two phases. The collected requirements pass through multiple revisions and reviews to ensure they incorporate all necessary improvements.
  • After defining the goal, teams begin building the initial iteration of the software. All stages will be repeated in each iteration. The development phase covers all essential production tasks involved in SDLC (software development life cycle) such as architecting, UI/UX design, and coding, testing and release. Usually, the development of the first iteration of a software product is the longest stage of the SDLC in Agile.
  • Project developers employ the latest development, or iteration as a basis from which they design further processes or products. The corresponding iterative development model aims to advance and upgrade a product/process in each iteration. Furthermore, the agile iterative approach facilitates software development teams in planning, designing, checking, and adjusting the iterations. They can tackle issues early; the team need not backtrack.
  • Before the product release, the QA team members test the software to ensure error-free code. The development team quickly addresses any potential bugs or errors (if any).
  • In the maintenance phase, the development team offers constant support to customers. Hence, the software executes without any flaws.
  • Finally, product retirement is provoked by either new software or a system that has been obsolete in the organisation.

Development processes in Scrum:

Let’s first get acquainted with the details of the important terms used in development processes in Scrum.

  • Sprint: It refers to a time-box with a duration of up to one month. A new Sprint begins instantly after the completion of the prior Sprint.
  • Release: The completed software product enters the Release stage.
  • Sprint Review: This stage analyses any unachievable features in the products. Subsequently, the product is transferred to the Sprint Retrospective stage.
  • Sprint Retrospective: It checks the status or quality of the software product.
  • Product Backlog: It organises products as per the prioritisation features.
  • Sprint Backlog: The stage is categorised into two parts i.e. products allocated features to Sprint and the Sprint planning meeting.

Let’s go through the details of different stages involved in SDLC in Scrum.

Step 1: Development of Product Backlog

A product backlog is a list containing features to be executed during the development process in SDLC in Scrum. Each feature is assigned a priority and each item is known as a user story. Each user story is assigned a unique ID.

Step 2: Sprint Planning and Sprint Backlog Development

You must decide the duration of your sprint. Usually, a short sprint lets you launch the working version of a product more often. Consequently, customer’s feedback will be obtained more frequently, and all potential bugs will be detected timely. Commonly, the sprint lasts for 2–4 weeks.

Defining Sprint Goal is important in this step. You must determine the goal for each sprint and each sprint will be filled with user stories. The communication and collaboration between stakeholders and team members is very important. The product owner will decide the significance of a proper user story whereas the Scrum team decides the relevant labor expense.

Now, the Scrum team can pick the most crucial user stories from the product backlog. They should decide how to solve that task. The team can also split specific user stories into the smaller ones and transform them into the series of tasks. The next task is to create the Sprint backlog which will contain the user stories that should be completed in the current sprint. And, the Scrum team must be capable of completing all the user stories within the estimated time.

Step 3: Sprint Development and organising Daily Scrum Meetings

After choosing the appropriate user stories for the current phase, the Scrum development process starts. A task board is used to track the current working process. Usually, they are large cards revealing the names of specific user stories. Also, small sticky notes that describe each task are attached. These sticky notes are essential for implementation of all user stories.

The key goal of the daily scrum meetings is to acquire thorough and reliable information about the current project status. Also, it ascertains that all team members stay on the same page.

Step 4: Product Enhancement and Sprint Review

After completing each iteration, the development team prepares an updated version of a software product. The corresponding version boasts an enriched value of the software product. The results can be exhibited and assessed during the Sprint Review. Based on the review, the stakeholders can determine the essential product changes to be brought.

Step 5: Retrospective and Planning of Next Sprint

The prime goal of Retrospective is to discuss the outcomes and recommend how to enhance the process. The work process and interactions are discussed to improve the overall work of the Scrum team. Defining the ways of improvements help the team to better plan the next sprint.

-Software Testing is a process that checks whether the actual software product fulfils anticipated requirements. It also ensures that the software product is error-free.

-In automation testing, testers use special tools to write test scripts and subsequently automate the test execution. Some of the best tools for test automation are Testsigma, Selenium, Apache Jmeter, and Appium.

What are the Agile and Scrum benefits?

Benefits of Agile

  • Agile methodologies employ a repetitive approach to project management. Hence, the processes are enhanced every time an interval is iterated.
  • Typically, Agile teams work for a short duration, occasionally known as sprints. Due to the fixed duration, the project managers can easily analyse the performance and allocate resources accordingly.
  • Since customers are always incorporated into the decision-making process, Agile ensures high customer retention.
  • Agile approach generates metrics like cycle time, lead time, and throughput. These metrics help evaluate the team’s performance, detect bottlenecks and streamline data-centred decisions.
  • Developers have excellent visibility into the project. So, they can quickly identify prospective obstacles.
  • The fundamental Agile methodology principle aims to be flexible enough to implement changes as required.

Benefits of Scrum

  • The project is categorised into tiny builds known as sprints. The whole life cycle of the project continues for up to 4 weeks. Hence, Scrum allows you to easily manage and deliver projects.
  • It facilitates regular collaboration and communication among teams. Hence, fewer crisis arise.
  • Regular communication, effective representation, and regular delivery always keep the project stakeholders satisfied.
  • Scrum lets you detect and tackle the risk early. This is accomplished through its constant feedback, cross-functional teams, and foreseeable delivery pace.
  • It can quickly release valuable software products to customers and users.

What’s the difference between Agile and Scrum

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As we discussed above, Scrum is a type of Agile Software Development methodologies, it is a specific type of agile, thus discussing differences does not make much sense.

How does Agile Scrum work?

Agile Scrum methodology refers to the blend of important aspects of Agile and Scrum. It combines the Agile philosophy and the Scrum framework. In this combination, Agile allows teams to build projects in small increments. Scrum is one of the types of Agile methodology that breaks projects into huge chunks known as “sprints.”

Agile Scrum methodology is suitable for businesses that aim to quickly complete specific projects. It delivers several iterations of a software product to benefit stakeholders with supreme business value in the minimum time.

The implementation of Agile Scrum methodology requires either a Scrum expert in the organisation or outsourcing the task to a consultant to ascertain that Scrum principles are accurately employed. Moreover, Agile Scrum methodology focuses on accurate execution and can lead to acute issues if not accomplished correctly.

Agile or Scrum: Which should you choose?

If you opt for Scrum’s approach to delivery, you can’t neglect the aspects of Agile from Scrum. This is because Agile renders the principles and values to Scrum to provide a quality software product. When you opt for Scrum to develop software, you are automatically opting to conform to Agile principles.

Choosing Scrum necessarily means that you would be using Agile values because Agile is the umbrella principle. It is a decent approach to use Scrum to begin executing Agile principles. You can use various Agile methodologies like XP and Kanban.

Conclusion

One can’t choose between Agile and Scrum since Scrum is Agile in itself. Agile helps you achieve effective project management. Scrum is a method used to implement project management; it is a subset of the wide Agile umbrella. Agile comes in handy when there is a need for continuous iteration of testing and development in the software development process. Scrum proves to be useful when you intend to deliver business value in the least time.

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Testsigma Inc.

Testsigma is a completely cloud-based codeless test automation tool that lets you create stable and reliable tests for web, mobile & APIs — all from one place.