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What is the difference between Scrum and Agile methodologies? (Hint: There is none)

What is the difference between Scrum and Agile methodologies?

Many software development enthusiasts want to know how Scrum is different from Agile methodologies. Well, Well, Well. What I see here is a fallacy in the notion itself as Scrum is nothing but one of the Agile methodologies itself. To put it just right, Agile is a philosophy of how software development process can be arranged to deliver business value in the shortest time, whereas Scrum is one of the frameworks to implement that philosophy. The important point to note here, though, is that among all existing Agile methodologies, Scrum is being the most popular one.

Having said that, the right question to answer comes down to what makes Scrum sit atop all other existing Agile methodologies, including Kanban, Lean Development, Extreme Programming, etc.

Why is Scrum being used the most to implement Agile?

A Sprint is the basic unit of development in Scrum, which makes it ideal for complex projects where it’s not possible to gather all the requirements upfront and/or that have rapidly changing requirements. In Scrum, tasks are prioritized and broken down into small sprints and each sprint is planned on a priority basis by the Scrum Team, Scrum Master and the Product Owner.

In each sprint, the team creates a finished portion of a product and gets it reviewed by the product owner for user acceptance. The usual time for each sprint release is two to three weeks, which paves the way for making a working software ready in the shortest time possible and fix issues much earlier in the development process (at least in the current software development world). Therefore, Scrum presents a brilliant and flexible best model for iterative and incremental software development process. Below are the key principles of Scrum to implement Agile software development in the best possible manner. 

Scrum Principles for Fast and Quality Product Development 

  • Empirical Process Control: Learning from experience, user stories, customer feedback, etc. 
  • Self-Organization: The team knows the best, so trust it and let it decide what to do.
  • Collaboration: Open communication via daily meetings that involve the Scrum Team, the Scrum Master and the Product Owner to ensure everybody is on the same page. Stakeholders also review the product and keep providing their feedback for product improvement.
  • Value-based Prioritization: This helps confirm what tasks must be performed first and divide them into small sprints to ensure faster and continuous delivery.
  • Time-Boxing: Every sprint is time-boxed, which means a set time of two to three weeks or a month is allotted to complete a sprint and release it. Once decided, the duration for completion remains the same for all sprints. 
  • Iterative Development: Iterative development in Scrum implies incorporating changes based on experiences from previous sprints, customer feedback, changing requirements, etc., to head in the right direction.  

Click here to dive deeper into Six Main Principles of Scrum

What are Scrum Events that Scrum Teams participate in on regular basis?

Sprint: Sprint is at the heart of Scrum. Timeboxed for a month or less, each sprint involves the creation of a working and potentially releasable product Increment. Sprints allow to accomplish something within a month-horizon and help limit costs of failure. If something has to fail, it’s better to fail early so as to quickly learn from it and not waste too much time and money by working for too long on something that might fail. Continuous inspection and learning from previous sprints helps Scrum teams evolve and predict what will work for them.

Sprint Planning: The moto behind sprint planning is to determine what tasks to be performed in a sprint. Sprint planning event takes a maximum of eight hours for a one-month sprint, whereas the duration is shorter for shorter sprints. The Scrum master collaborates with the team and the product owner to decide the scope of a sprint.

Sprint planning helps answer the following two questions:

  • What needs to be delivered in the upcoming sprint?
  • How to achieve the Sprint Goal?

Daily Scrum: The development team participates in a 15-minute time-boxed event every day of the sprint. In Daily Scrum, the team discusses what they did yesterday that will help meet the sprint goal, what they will do today and if they have come across any obstacles that will prevent the team from meeting the sprint goal. 

Sprint Review: Sprint Review is conducted at the end of every sprint to get feedback from stakeholders on the Increment. Sprint Review is an informal meeting in which the product owner explains what items in the Product Backlog have been completed and what have been left out. The development team discusses what went well during the sprint, what problems they faced and how they addressed them. The entire group also collaborates to decide what tasks to perform next, which helps chalk out vital inputs for the next Sprint Planning. As a result, the Product Backlog keeps on evolving based on what has been learnt throughout the development cycle and new opportunities to meet.

Sprint Retrospective: Sprint Retrospective is a one-hour to three-hour meeting for the Scrum Team to introspect and identify improvements that can be made to improve the product quality. During Sprint Retrospective, the team combines learnings from the last sprint and gets an opportunity to establish improvements that will boost the efficacy of the next sprint.

In all, Scrum is a framework to get the work done while keeping the Agile mindset at its core. Most software developers now prefer using Scrum framework over others largely because of the flexibility, room for creativity and higher productivity that Scrum provides. The iterative and incremental nature of Scrum not only maximizes opportunities for feedback, but also ensures that a working product is always available, which is essential to compete and succeed in today’s software market.

Evon has gained hands-on experience of using Scrum framework to implement Agile methodology while working on several software development projects over the years. Get in touch with us for software development and consulting services,  and we will get back to you shortly to provide a solution that suits your project the best.

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