Agile vs Scrum: What's the Difference?

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Project management is a not-so-secret secret to corporate success. It is indispensable regardless of what industry a company specializes in. When everything goes as planned, every team member can function at their best. Even if there are hiccups along the way, the team would have a high chance to pull through and still deliver outstanding results. 

The growing importance of project management in corporate communities engages industry leaders to adapt it to their companies. Recently, at least 61% of organizations are letting their employees undergo project management training. It is a huge win for companies, project leaders, and subordinates. This progressive mindset innovates company cultures and cultivates raw talents. 

Project management is not limited to a dynamic execution of corporate plans. In addition, it includes the full utilization of available methodologies and tools. Project leaders should not rely only on their team members’ talents and experience. Adding new and relevant materials will help increase team members’ job efficiency. 

The concepts of agile and scrum project management have been the talk of the town lately. These are not new concepts, but their applicability is relevant to all types of businesses and keeps resurging. Know the difference between agile vs. scrum project management to stay updated.

team huddle project management

What is agile project management?

Agile methodology is widely used in software development but also has many applications in any form of project management. This approach helps team members accomplish tasks with better efficiency through collaboration. It is perfect for fast-changing corporate environments because team members divide tasks in manageable increments to respond to unexpected changes.

Agile methodology has 12 core principles derived from the Manifesto for Agile Software Development. It evolved to address what is lacking in traditional development methods of the software industry, like the waterfall methodology. Since the software programs undergo constant updates and fixes, developers needed a new approach to keep up and possibly get ahead of rising demands.

Advantages of agile methodology in project management

Using the agile approach can create the following benefits:

  1. Increased customer satisfaction. The agile approach can help project managers demonstrate continual progression to customers. Because of this, project teams can deliver working functionalities faster and enable customers to bring their products to the market before others.
  2. Lower risks. The agile philosophy does not subscribe to the traditional notion that all resources must be ready before a project team can work on specific tasks. Instead, agile project managers can implement changes as they work, creating more opportunities for adjustments and reducing the chances of immediate failure.
  3. Better product quality. As the project progresses, project managers can make more changes to products and services. Every after Sprint, the project team can gather their thoughts and analyze whether the most recent results are satisfactory.
  4. Enhanced project control. The exchange for the lack of detailed planning in the agile methodology is the flexibility in controlling how every project progresses. Project managers can customize a system to address the specific problems of a given project.
  5. More streamlined organization. Through agile methodology, it is easier to track tasks at the macro and micro levels. Leaders can quickly assess whether a project is going well or not by looking at some statistics.

Disadvantages of agile methodology in project management

Excessive reliance or improper usage of the agile approach can trigger these drawbacks:

  1. Lack of definite process. The agile methodology’s flexibility makes it amenable to sudden changes but not long-term projects. This principle is changing too often, preventing it from forming a definite process that project team members can follow regularly.
  2. Prone to procrastination. The freedom team members experience with the agile methodology can sometimes tempt them to procrastinate. It is easier for them to get side-tracked by other projects that pop up instead of doing ones they already started.
  3. Fragmented output cycles. It is challenging to create cohesive outputs when using the agile methodology. The incremental cycles help with fast production, but the work of the project teams can be inconsistent.
  4. No final goal. Most project teams apply the agile method when there is no definite end in mind. Its design is only limited to providing mechanisms that will adjust to sudden changes.
  5. Difficult to assess. Setting key performance indicators and other measurables for agile methodologies is also tricky. This design’s mutative nature would require the assessment standards to change a lot.
  6. Adapting Agile methodologies. Adapting Agile practices to meet the demands of an enterprise-grade business presents several challenges. Numerous issues can arise during the scaling process, potentially hindering the smooth transition and effectiveness of Agile methodologies. You can find many examples of how large scale Agile fails in big companies.

What is scrum project management?

Similar to agile methodology, scrum methodology is also popular in software development. Besides that, research, sales, and marketing experts use it to better project management. 

Its central design is to provide customers with value at every stage of project development. Thus, it complies with the customers’ needs by fostering transparent communications, collective responsibility, and consistent progress.

The scrum framework begins with identifying a core idea. From there, the project team would identify the characteristics of the project and the processes it needs to undergo to produce satisfactory results. Under this methodology, project managers and customers often work closely with each other.

Advantages of scrum methodology in project management

Using the scrum framework can create the following benefits:

  1. Identifiable sprint goals. During sprint planning meetings, team members can clearly define their goals. Since the team maps their tasks ahead of time, they can set realistic expectations and measure their progress accordingly.
  2. Flexible enough for product changes. Through a handful of iterations, scrum can already allow a project management team to make adjustments to product designs and outputs. Scrum meetings often includes a continual review of recent outputs.
  3. Real-time feedback. It is possible to integrate feedback into the scrum framework. Team members receive daily feedback allowing them to address complications as they happen.
  4. Close-knit teams. Scrum teams tend to be cohesive because they are required to maintain good communication with each other. They meet at least once daily to map out short and long-term plans.
  5. Early risk detection. Scrum has features that allow team members to detect and react immediately to project issues. The cross-functional teams rely on continuous feedback from peers to mitigate unexpected problems and prevent them from expanding.

Disadvantages of scrum methodology in project management

Excessive reliance or improper usage of the agile approach can trigger these drawbacks:

  1. Scaling can be difficult. Many recommend using scrum for small and fast-paced projects. Unfortunately, it does not perform well with bigger projects because its design may demand more effort and expertise from the team members.
  2. Staff must undergo training. Scrum is a more intricate system. Project managers, team members, and other stakeholders should have the proper training to operate scrum and its features.
  3. Staff should have experience, too. Aside from training, all involved personnel should have relevant experience with scrum. Lacking both training and experience will increase the risk of project failure.
  4. Incompatible with the classic management approach. Scrum may not work well with older and more traditional management styles. Some activities in older styles, like long-term planning and realistic mapping of expectations, are necessary for hybrid setups.
  5. Might not work on bigger teams. Scrum works best with granular teams that can work faster and with an irregular pattern. Companies with larger populations may have difficulty dividing and organizing their personnel for the sake of mobilization.

Agile vs scrum: What’s the difference?

Here is a list of key differences between agile methodology and scrum methodology:

  1. Type. Agile is a development methodology that manages projects through iterative and incremental approaches. On the other hand, scrum is one of the implementations of agile methodology concerning the creation of adaptive solutions for complex problems.
  2. Alternative/s. Agile existed as an alternative to the outdated Waterfall methodology. In comparison, project managers utilize scrum in lieu of Kanban, Lean Development, and Scrumbut.
  3. Priority. The priority for agile methodology is ensuring that there is a continuous delivery of products. For scrum, it prioritizes continuous improvement of product design and the overall production process. 
  4. Collaboration. Collaborations in the agile methodology happen in a face-to-face setup between cross-functional teams. On the other hand, scrum fosters collaborations through daily meetings.
  5. Process design and execution. In terms of process design and execution, the agile methodology works best when everything is simplified. For the scrum framework, the approach can be more novel and experimental.

Agile software development vs scrum software development: Which is right for you?

Choosing between agile vs. scrum can be confusing. After all, these two concepts are too intertwined to be separated strictly from each other. Scrum is not an independent concept as it is among the most popular framework implementations within the agile process. Nonetheless, both can make project management effective.

Agile and scrum methodology are both recommendable to any professional, even for project management beginners. However, each side offers specific features that can be most advantageous for particular circumstances.

Many prefer the agile framework when the final product concept is still unclear. The flexibility of the agile framework allows various cross-functional team members to choose what modifications are most appropriate in some parts of the project management process. Since the entire team can work independently while still being cohesive with the team’s decision, it is easier to deploy plans because everybody already knows what they are doing.

On the other hand, the methodology is ideal for projects bound to have irregular and unknown issues. For example, as the team delivers new products or services, they have to expect that something needs to change or evolve. To render appropriate responses, the project team members would rely on customer feedback.

Please know that there is an option to mix agile with scrum. It is called the hybrid process. Combining agile and scrum concepts will enable team members to customize solutions, especially during unprecedented situations.

Recommended courses for you

Are you building a career as a project manager? During your free time, enrich your knowledge of agile and scrum methodologies by finishing quality e-learning courses. Accomplishing some courses will help create a more substantial project manager cover letter.

Here are some most loved project management methodology webinars you will find on Skill Success:

Agile Project Management: Scrum Step By Step With Examples

Learning the ways of a scrum master is a lot of work. While there are online resources that teach you to become one, most of them lack real-life examples. What you did not find in others, you might be covered by Agile Project Management: Scrum Step By Step With Examples.

This digital course breaks the concept of scrum into easy-to-digest but comprehensive sections. There are portions reserved for scrum practices such as Daily Scrum, Sprint Planning, Sprint Retrospective, and Sprint Review.

Learn the scrum framework alongside practical examples. When it is your turn to act as a scrum master, it will be easier to resolve problems and produce top-grade results.

Agile In A Nutshell – Introduction To Agile Project Management

Do you only have a limited time to cram about agile processes and their underlying principles? Do not fret. There is a course that can teach you the basics in 3 hours and 2 mins.

Agile In A Nutshell – Introduction To Agile Project Management encapsulates what team leaders, team members, scrum masters, and product owners should learn about agile values, processes, and methodologies. In addition, it contains discussions on how to apply the agile approach at work and in special projects.

You do not have prior knowledge of the agile process to take this course. The course author dedicates this work to beginners and experts.

Project Management: Deliver On Time And Scrum Project Delivery

Complex projects make deadlines seem shorter. Whenever dealing with this problem, it is not enough to exert more effort to finish tasks faster. More importantly, project managers should ensure early and continuous delivery every time.

Project Management: Deliver On Time And Scrum Project Delivery discusses how to use the scrum framework to improve the speed of every project lifecycle. It also contains tools and methodologies to reduce backlogs and improve communication among team members.

This course also explains that using the scrum methodology to track deliverables does not have to be costly. There are strategies companies can apply to varied situations.

Scrum Certification Prep Training + Agile Scrum Training

Qualifying for a scrum master certification entails a lot of studying. If you are looking for a resource material compact with basic and advanced information on scrum concepts, add Scrum Certification Prep Training + Agile Scrum Training to your study list. 

This course provides thorough but easily understandable explanations of scrum practices. Learn how project managers can modify each practice to fit the needs of a particular situation, especially on problems relating to delivering projects on time.

Are you looking for scrum-related updates? The course designer utilized the most recent information to keep learners abreast of newer standards and processes.

Keep on learning these courses to be better as a project management professional. Re-watch the webinars to ensure you did not skip any important details.

Mastering agile methodologies and scrum methodologies

The scope of project managers’ work is broad and encompassing. It takes a lot of confidence and grit to lead development teams and deliver top-quality results. So it is unsurprising how some break under pressure.

Unfortunately, many project managers, especially the traditional ones, lack the innovation and flexibility that agile and scrum values hold. Learning the secrets behind agile and scrum principles will tremendously change one’s career as a project manager. Considering the industry’s competitiveness, project managers should grow as much as possible. 

Some might subscribe to the agile process more than the scrum process due to their circumstances (and vice versa), but knowing them will come in handy in the future. Hence, grab every opportunity to learn both to have an edge against complex projects.

Agile ensures continuous product delivery, while scrum prioritizes continuous improvement of product design.

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