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Business Agility

Agile vs Scrum: Comparison of project management methods

~12 minutes read

Table Of Contents

In order to guide the technology and meet the market needs, the companies had to take a step towards new agile methodologies in terms of process tracking, project management, and organizational structures. This is primarily to combine the factors such as product, quality, customer satisfaction, and factors and support each other.

To meet all these needs, the Agile Manifesto set out the values and principles of Agile in 2001. Many different frameworks have been put into practice over time to implement the Agile philosophy. It is a process framework that adopts and implements agile principles in Scrum. Just like other Agile Frameworks such as SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework), LeSS (Large Scale Scrum), SoS (Scrum of Scrums), DAD (Disciplined Agile Delivery), Kanban, or Extreme Programming (XP). These different frameworks can respond to different project management needs based on the core principles of Agile methodology.

What is Agile?

Agile is a principles-based approach. Agile aims to make the project management process simpler, more flexible, and more iterative in order to offer the customer a higher level of innovation and value as well as higher performance (in terms of cost, time, and quality). So it is a way of thinking in project development that mainly aims at teamwork and customer loyalty as well as executing projects quickly and flexibly.

This approach enables projects to be carried out even under changing conditions and ensures that customer needs are continuously checked. Agility allows teams to focus on continuous improvement and encourages them to be mindful of projects as a whole.

Leading SAFe® (SA)

What is special about Agile?

It is based on the Agile Manifesto which has four core values - Individuals and Interactions, Working Software Products, Customer Satisfaction, and Changing Requirements. While the Agile Manifesto provides a set of excellent values and principles that guide the way of working, it does not explain how teams organize their work or how practices should be implemented.

As a result, many frameworks have emerged to describe how to embody the principles of the Agile Manifesto in real life. Teams that follow either of these approaches describe their methodology as agile. They use a framework or a specific method to integrate agile principles into a company or project. One of the best-known of these is Scrum. Agility can be viewed as a general approach to improving team productivity.

Agile project management is a business philosophy aimed at adapting to changes in a business environment with high uncertainty, maximizing the value of the output to be produced and thus increasing customer satisfaction. In order for this philosophy to be implemented, organizations must understand this logic and transform the philosophy into a method with concrete tools.

What is Scrum?

Scrum - What is it? Scrum is an agile framework in which people can tackle complex and adaptable problems while developing productive and creative products of the highest possible value. Scrum is part of the agile mindset. That means it ultimately follows the same guiding principles.

It is also a flexible method used for project development. It's a framework that can be customized to fit the needs of any company or team. This way a high-quality product can be presented.

Scrum is based on empiricism as a philosophy and it is important to ensure transparency, observation, and adaptation for the Scrum method to work properly. In addition, this framework aims to realize projects in a short time and values teamwork. Scrum consists of three key components of projects: the Development Team, the Scrum Master, and the Product Owner.

The Scrum Master is responsible for guiding the team's work and removing roadblocks to agile transformation. The Product Owner, on the other hand, determines the purpose and needs of the project.

SAFe® Scrum Master

What is special about Scrum?

At the heart of Scrum is the self-directed team. This team adheres to Scrum values, Scrum roles, Scrum artifacts, and Scrum enabling tools. If you consider that the Scrum team is a car: if the development team car engines and wearing parts were the human behind the wheel, the product owner is the transmission and the engine oil that allows the engine and other transmission organs to move smoothly, the signals on the instrument panel, the windshield wipers that help the driver keep track are the scrum master. The energy required to run this car is agile. Operation without fuel is not possible. So without the agile mindset, Scrum in itself means nothing.

Scrum is a framework for agile project management practices. Scrum-based development projects are divided into small structures called sprints, which consist of three components: product backlogs, sprint backlogs, and sprint goals. With each sprint, a specific feature is defined, developed, and tested. Depending on the complexity of the project, each sprint lasts two to three weeks. When a business needs changes that warrant a code change, it's quicker and easier to find it in the sprint backlog rather than repeating the entire software development lifecycle like the waterfall method.

What are the differences between Scrum and Agile?

The terms Scrum and Agile are usually used interchangeably. Which can lead to confusion. So it helps to know the fine line between them.

  1. Agility is a set of principles and guidelines that use an iterative approach to help organizations develop software. On the other hand, Scrum is a list of rules that companies and team members follow as part of their agile software development processes.
  2. The main difference between Agile and Scrum is that Agile is a philosophy of managing projects based on fundamental principles while Scrum is an agile framework based on these principles.
  3. Scrum identifies three key roles, while Agile emphasizes self-organizing teams. Agile includes members from various cross-functional teams, while Scrum includes specific roles such as development team, scrum manager, and product owner.
  4. While Agile provides an iterative approach to project development methodology, the part where project development studies are done in Scrum is provided with sprints.
  5. While Agile aims to promote sustainable development to meet ever-changing requirements aimed at customer satisfaction, Scrum carries out a project within a defined framework with roles, activities, agile working, and supporting tools.
  6. Agility is an alternative to classic methods. Whereas Scrum serves as an alternative to Extreme Programming (XP) or Kanban.
  7. Agile development always focuses on ensuring customer satisfaction through continuous delivery. In Scrum, customer satisfaction feedback is given after each sprint.
  8. While the agile mindset advocates continuous and uninterrupted collaboration among team members, Scrum attempts to ensure continuity of communication in daily sprint meetings.
  9. Leadership plays a crucial role in Agile. Scrum, on the other hand, promotes a self-organized and cross-functional team.
  10. With Agile, each development step (e.g. requirements, analysis, design) is constantly monitored throughout its life cycle. In Scrum, a demo of the functionality is provided at the end of each sprint so that feedback can be collected before the next sprint.
  11. Agility may be mainstream in any type of project development, but Scrum is used more closely for software development projects.
  12. In Agile, projects are divided into smaller units called "user stories" or "stories". These stories contain all the details needed to successfully complete the project, including priorities and deadlines. Each story is prioritized individually, allowing developers to select the most important ones and plan their work accordingly. In this way, all teams are always informed about the status of the project and can react immediately in the event of delays or deviations from the plan. Scrum, on the other hand, is based on the concept of “self-organizing teams”. The focus is not only on project management but above all on cross-team cooperation.
  13. Scrum team members work together in an organized manner throughout all phases of the project. The aim is to achieve more results together than one team member could achieve alone. This creates constructive feedback systems and a continuous improvement in product quality.
  14. There are no set guidelines for decision-making in Agile, but there is strong collaboration between teams and teams. All team members are often asked to share their views on issues. In contrast, Scrum uses established rituals for decision-making, often in the form of daily meetings or sprint reviews.
  15. Achieving the goal in Agile, focuses on the success of the team as a whole and places special emphasis on collaboration and communication throughout the process. In Scrum, the remaining work to reach the goal can be calculated at any time. At a minimum, the product owner oversees the total work remaining at each sprint review meeting. Consequently, the product owner compares this number to the remaining work at the previous sprint review meeting to see if the total work planned can be completed in the desired time. This information is made transparent to all parties involved.
  16. In Agile project management, it is carried out by the team and the responsibilities are shared between the team members. In Scrum, on the other hand, project management is done by the Scrum Master, who is responsible for directing the work of the team members and removing impediments.
  17. In agile project management, the project needs are continuously adapted and structured. With Scrum, on the other hand, project management has a fixed structure and the work of team members is structured according to Scrum rules.

Agile Coach vs. Scrum Master - What's the Difference?

Both the Scrum Master and the Agile Coach help organizations develop an agile mindset. Both use similar techniques to support teams in this regard and to lighten their workload. The difference between them lies in their scope. The Scrum Master is part of a specific Scrum Team and plays a leading role in that team. They know the team inside out and know exactly what's going on. The tasks of the Scrum Master are:

  1. You ensure that the team works according to Scrum rules.
  2. Manage a range of tasks such as meeting scheduling, process improvements, and ensuring developers have the right tools.
  3. Solve problems and obstacles that the team cannot solve alone.
  4. You ensure that different teams and individual employees are aware of their strengths and weaknesses. This allows them to develop an agile mindset.
  5. They promote healthy group dynamics by equipping teams with new tools and techniques.
  6. You support teams and individuals to work together effectively and oversee the implementation of the agile working style.

Although there is a lot of overlap between the roles of Scrum Master and Agile Coach, the obvious difference between the two roles is that the Agile Coach is primarily concerned with the process and not the content.

The Similarities of Agile and Scrum

While there are many differences between Agile and Scrum, there are also many important similarities. Both help software developers deal with complexity and change in projects. They offer more flexibility and more control. They help developers to work more efficiently and effectively.

➢ With the Scrum method and the agile methods, the needs and expectations of the customer are in the foreground. Projects are designed and implemented according to the needs and expectations of the customer.

➢ Both Agile and Scrum are based on an iterative, incremental, and adaptive approach. This means that the process is repeated over time in small increments rather than a single large step, and the project is flexible and adaptable as changes occur.

➢ With Agile and Scrum methods, there is little management intervention in project management. Project management and studies are carried out in a structure that is carried out and accounted for by the team members.

➢ The agile methods and the Scrum method ensure the implementation of projects with constant feedback. Teamwork and cooperation are very important. This ensures ongoing adjustment and improvement of the projects.

➢ In both approaches, project management focuses on short-term goals and improvements are made through feedback.

➢ In both approaches, the product owner determines the user needs and priorities of the product.


In summary, agile and scrum methods each have their advantages and disadvantages and can be used in different situations. While Scrum is a specific Agile method, there are many other Agile methods that can be used depending on the situation and requirements.

If you want to learn more about agile methods and how they can be used in project management, we recommend our "Scaled Agile Framework" page. Here you will find various SAFe courses, including our "SAFe Scrum Master" course, which teaches you the basics of Scrum and prepares you for the SAFe Scrum Master certification.

And if you want to further your education, we have a wide range of training courses and certifications on our "Academy" page that can help you expand your knowledge and skills in various IT areas. Have a look and discover the possibilities!



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