There is a lot of misconception when it comes to Agile and Scrum. Many teams and businesses describe their actions as Scrum or Agile simply because they are buzz-worthy terms in the software development world. While a team can be Agile without practicing Scrum, it cannot practice Scrum and not Agile. Confused yet?
What Agile is and What Agile is not
Agile is defined as methods that “generally promote a disciplined project management process that encourages frequent inspection and adaptation.” At its core, Agile is a set of ideals for actions that keep a software development team organized and efficient. The Agile code of conduct is explained in its Manifesto, which discusses how an Agile team should operate.
The manifesto was written by a team of software developers who wanted to compile their values into a document that is easy to understand and apply. The manifesto states:
“We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it. Through this work we have come to value:
Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan
That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.”
Therefore, Agile is a set of guidelines that a software business should put into practice. However, it is not a framework of actions for a company to follow. There is no step by step formula, just a list of principles to guide a team along the development process.
So, what is Scrum?
Scrum is a practice that is a subset of Agile. Think of Agile as a car brand, like Toyota, and Scrum as a model, like a Camry. It is a way to implement the Agile principles by way of a project management system that helps teams accomplish their objectives. Scrum focuses on using visual tools to break down a large development project into smaller steps that are accomplished in sets, called Scrum Sprints.
A Sprint starts with a team meeting where they choose the pieces of the project that need to be accomplished within a set timeline (typically two to four weeks). During the Sprint, teams work on each item to move it from the backlog pile (to-do list) to the done list. Once the Sprint is over, teams reconvene to discuss and review everything that happened and solve issues that may have occurred.
These two methods tie together because Scrum follows the Agile principles. It places individuals and interactions over processes and tools because every action is a team effort, and meetings are held in person whenever possible. A Scrum team is comprised of three vital roles: Product Owner, Scrum Master, and team members.
The Product Owner is the visionary who communicates the end-goal to the team and ensures that everyone understands what they must accomplish. The Scrum Master is in charge of implementing the Scrum framework to the process, but they are not the team manager or project leader. They keep the team on track when it comes to Scrum principles, but they do not dictate the actions of the team.
Scrum requires team members to be self-managing and self-sufficient. They do not need micromanagement, but they do need to communicate with one another to accomplish the tasks assigned to them.
The second Agile principle is to value working software over comprehensive documentation. This means that every piece of software that is developed must be tested before it is released to be sure that it works properly and accomplishes its purpose.
However, since Agile is focused on streamlining processes to make teams more efficient, it also recommends that teams do away with unnecessary documentation (i.e. paperwork, forms, files, etc.) that takes up time that could be used for more valuable projects. Scrum teams must follow this principle as they move through their backlog and develop new pieces of software during their Sprint sessions.
Third, Agile places customer collaboration over contract negotiation. In other words, the customer is always right, so a team should care more about satisfying the needs and desires of the user, rather than creating a contract that solely benefits their business.
Again, since Agile and Scrum teams already value face-to-face interactions, they must also value what their customers want. DevOps teams should first establish an understanding of the target customer base and map out guidelines before they even start software development. After all, if they design a program that does not benefit the customer in any way, it is a waste of time, money, and resources.
Finally, the Agile manifesto states that responding to change takes priority over following a plan. This means that Scrum teams must be flexible when an issue arises or last-minute changes must take place in order for the end goal to be accomplished.
To implement this type of mentality, teams will need the proper tools to coordinate and communicate when these changes occur. Nutcache’s mission is to simplify the concept of teamwork by providing project management software that aligns with Agile and Scrum team principles.
Similarities of Scrum and Agile
The goal of Agile and Scrum is to help you accomplish more by hyper-focusing on the tasks at hand and implementing an operational system that is organized and efficient. Essentially, Agile will help your team build a set of principles to get the job done, and Scrum is a way to implement those principles efficiently.
Teams that implement Agile into their software development will find it helpful for organization and productivity. Both of these methods will streamline the decision-making process and development operations, so it is up to the team to decide whether or not they want to follow the Scrum framework as well.
Differences Between Agile and Scrum
Remember when I mentioned that teams can practice Agile and not Scrum, but it is impossible to practice Scrum without being Agile. That’s because Agile is a mentality and a set of principles, whereas Scrum is an action plan to implement those guidelines.
Agile is a way to do things and Scrum is a way to get things done. Putting either of these into practice will take time and planning. Some of the principles of Agile may not come naturally to your team, and it’s possible that changing your current project management strategies to fit into a Scrum framework may require some trial and error.
Using a web based project management system can help your business transition into following these processes more efficiently. Businesses that implemented a project management software program found that their team communication doubled in efficiency, output quality improved by almost 45%, and more projects were completed within their budget and on time. With results like these, most businesses are wise to implement collaborative tools that are designed to consolidate the process of project management.
According to a study, compared to their less driven equivalents, highly agile organizations produce remarkably better project outcomes.
When it comes to business growth and development, agile software is the key ingredient for task execution. Nutcache is designed specifically for the purpose of performing proper Agile and Scrum methods to meet each organization’s preferred management style. Priding itself on user-friendliness, Nutcache is equipped with highly effective communication and collaboration tools to improve member assignments, time and project tracking, accounting, and much more.
The easiest way to differentiate these two concepts is to rationalize it like this: Agile explains why, Scrum explains how.
In the modern workplace, a team is only as good as the system it has in place. It is easy to understand why many people get Agile and Scrum confused or use them interchangeably. They do have many overlaps and they both follow the same set of ideals. However, they are still two distinct DevOp approaches that work in different ways.