Agile Vs Scrum- What’s the difference?

Whether you are new or a veteran in the project management world. The multiple no. of technologies and processes can make it difficult to single out the one. After all, the onus is on project managers to fulfill many roles and responsibilities as a part of the day-to-day functions of their jobs. 

They are the ones who are responsible for an effective and stable project plan for the projects they oversee. They identify all the associated risks with their projects and ensure that projects stay within their defined constraints.  

But first of all or before getting down deeper into other details, one needs to single out the most optimal project management methodology to guide your efforts and take the project to completion. 

Well, there are multiple methodologies to choose from, and each has its own attributes. But the thing to consider here is each is best suited to different types of projects. Now, the two most common and widely recognized approaches to project management are Agile and Scrum. 

Fortunately or unfortunately, they are pretty much similar in multiple aspects. These similarities often pave the way for confusion between them. But, in fact, they are two different concepts, so Agile vs Scrum is a raging topic in the software development lifecycle.

Here is a deep perspective on what Scrum vs Agile means in project management. You will get the entire view of the difference between agile & scrum, and how to choose the right approach for your project. 

Difference between agile and scrum

Agile Methodology

What Is Agile Methodology?

Agile software development is based on an incremental, iterative approach. Instead of in-depth planning at the beginning of the project. The best thing about agile methodology is that it is open to changing requirements over time and encourages constant feedback from the end-users. 

You know cross-functional teams work on iterations of a product over time. This work is organized into a backlog that is prioritized based on business or customer value. The goal of each iteration is to produce a working product. 

In Agile methodologies, leadership encourages teamwork, accountability, and face-to-face communication. It empowers business stakeholders and developers must work together to align the product as per customer needs and company goals.

If we see it as a process as agile vs scrum. It aligns with the concepts of the Agile Manifesto and explains the difference between agile & scrum. Its launch dated back in February 2001. When 17 software developers met in Utah to discuss lightweight development methods. They published the manifesto for Agile Software Development, which encircled how they found “better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it” and included four values and 12 principles. 

It was developed to change the traditional text A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide) and standards.  

The Agile Scrum Manifesto is a dramatic contrast to the traditional text A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) and standards. Hope you get slight clarity on the difference between agile vs scrum.

agile development

What is Scrum Project Management?

Scrum project management is one of the most popular Agile methodologies used by project managers.

“Whereas Agile is a philosophy or orientation, Scrum is a specific methodology for how one manages a project,” Griffin says. “It provides a process for how to identify the work, who will do the work, how it will be done, and when it will be completed.” 

In scrum vs agile, the Scrum methodology is characterized by short phases or “sprints” when project work occurs. During sprint planning, the project team identifies a small part of the scope to be completed during the upcoming sprint, which is usually a two to four-week period of time. 

At the end of the sprint, this work should be ready to be delivered to the client. Finally, the sprint ends with a sprint review and retrospective—or rather, lessons learned. This cycle is repeated throughout the project lifecycle until the entirety of the scope has been delivered.

In many ways, this mirrors aspects of traditional project management. One of the key differences, however, is how one creates “shippable” portions of the project along the way rather than delivering everything at the very end. Doing so allows the client to realize the value of the project throughout the process rather than waiting until the project is closed to see results. 

stages of waterfall

The Difference Between Scrum & Agile

On the surface, it is easy to see why Agile and Scrum can often be confused, as they both rely on an iterative process, frequent client interaction, and collaborative decision making. The key difference between Agile and Scrum is that while Agile is a project management philosophy that utilizes a core set of values or principles, Scrum is a specific Agile methodology that is used to facilitate a project. 

It’s important to remember that although Scrum is an Agile approach, Agile does not always mean Scrum—there are many different methodologies that take an Agile approach to project management. 

Agile Scrum Methodology vs. Scrum: Choosing the Right Project Approach

Once you have a clear understanding of what Agile and Scrum are and how they work together, you can begin to think about applying these approaches to your own projects. But, given the differences between the two, this shouldn’t be a question of whether you should take an Agile or a Scrum approach. 

Instead, if you decide that an Agile approach is right for a particular project, the question is: Which Agile methodology should you use? The answer could be Scrum, or it could be one of the other various Agile methodologies that exist. 

To decide if Agile is right for your project, you’ll need to look at the specific requirements and constraints involved. Agile was originally created within the context of software development projects and is particularly effective in this arena. With this in mind, an Agile approach will not be effective for projects with the very strict scope and development requirements. However, the guiding principles of the Agile philosophy are widely used across many different types of projects. 

If an Agile approach is right for your project, you will then need to determine whether or not Scrum is the best Agile methodology for your specific needs and goals. Scrum is typically best suited to projects which do not have clear requirements, are likely to experience change, and/or require frequent testing. 

It’s important to remember that the key to a successful project isn’t just about choosing the right methodology but executing that methodology in a skillful manner. Doing so requires an expert understanding of the methodology you ultimately decide to employ in conjunction with other critical project management skills.  To be successful in their roles, project managers also need to know how to communicate effectively, lead a team, apply critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and be adaptable to the organizational dynamics and complexities around them.

“This is why you should consider technical skills as only one component of the skills necessary to lead projects successfully,” Griffin says. “This is why Northeastern’s project management program doesn’t focus solely on technical skills but pays significant attention to developing competencies in teamwork, communication, leadership, critical thinking, problem-solving, and organizational awareness.”

Griffin explains that students learn about Agile methodologies in Northeastern’s Graduate Certificate in Agile Project Management program and the Agile concentration within the Master of Science in Project Management program. More importantly, students learn how to execute the projects in a skillful and mature manner from experienced professionals who have dedicated years to refining their own skills in the real world.

Scrum is not Equal to Agile, Why?

Agile vs Scrum has always been a controversial issue. In reality, Scrum is only a part of Agile, and Agile is a larger umbrella that has other methodologies as well. 

In agile vs scrum, Agile was devised from an idea because of the problems caused by the traditional waterfall method used in the software development cycle. The Waterfall method was considered too sequential, that’s why Agile came into existence. Scrum is like an improved way of Agile methodology. It has the same principles and operations as Agile with some added unique features. 

While Scrum has two significant roles: Product Owner and Scrum Master. Product owners always communicate with the client to get frequent requirements and feedback, as it helps to add new features at the last moment. On the other hand, Scrum master is the person who is responsible for the coordination of the scrum team’s activities.


The above discussion is directly indicating that both Agile and Scrum came into existence to provide a flawless experience to the customer in the software development cycle. But it depends on the type of project, its complexity, time, budget to choose the most apt one. They are not a substitute for each other, but in scrum vs agile, agile is the most preferred approach when compared to scrum.

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