Agile vs Scrum: Know the Main Differences and Similarities

Whether you’re new to software development or have some experience in the field, you’re likely familiar with the terms Agile and Scrum. While these two process management methodologies share similar approaches, there are key differences as well that are helpful to know if you’re pursuing a career in software development, project management, or both.

To better understand Agile vs. Scrum, it’s helpful to know more about how each methodology works. But first, what is the meaning of Agile and Scrum?

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What is an Agile Methodology?

First,  what is an Agile environment, and what does it look like? An Agile methodology is a collaborative and flexible approach that teams typically adopt to accomplish tasks more efficiently. The project management methodology, which is widely used in software development, is often a more natural way to keep cross-functional team members organized and on track. Using Agile, they work on various iterations of a project, which is then organized into a prioritized backlog based on end-user feedback.

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The basic underlying Agile methodology principle is to be flexible enough to make changes as needed. To do so, a project manager allocates a certain amount of time for each phase of a software project. The methodology’s roots are described in more detail, including its 12 core principles, in the Agile Manifesto for Software Development.

What is a Scrum Methodology?

Next, what does a Scrum environment look like? Interestingly, Scrum methodology is an Agile framework that facilitates collaboration and efficiency in software development and testing. Scrum-based development projects are broken into small builds, called sprints, which consist of three components: product backlogs, sprint backlogs, and sprint goals. With each sprint, a specific function is defined, developed, and tested. Depending on the complexity of the project, each sprint lasts two to three weeks. If any business requirements change that warrant a code change, it is quicker and easier to find it in the sprint backlog rather than repeat the entire software development lifecycle, like with a Waterfall methodology.

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With this framework, the Scrum Master has a responsibility to guarantee the success of each project.  He or she must ensure that every team member remains on track, address and solve any problems that arise, confirm that the team is following Scrum methodologies, and enforce deadlines.

Agile vs. Scrum: Differences and Similarities

Agile and Scrum share similar methods like collaborative iterations, and for a good reason:  Scrum is an Agile approach. But while both involve incremental builds for projects, they also have their differences. Scrum is a more rigid method with less flexibility for change, and it’s ideal for those who need to produce results as quickly as possible. Agile is more suited for smaller teams and for those who prefer a more straightforward design and execution, while Scrum is used more for creative and experimental approaches.

It's best to look at it this way: Scrum is always Agile, but Agile is not always Scrum. This means Scrum will encompass the same methodologies of Agile, but Agile may not share some of the same qualities as Scrum.

Scrum vs. Kanban: Differences and Similarities

When talking Agile vs. Scrum, it’s also helpful to understand how Kanban fits into the picture. The Kanban framework, which is also Agile, is often used for marketing. It is a workflow management method and scheduling system that is also often compared to Scrum.

Both Scrum and Kanban have a goal of eliminating waste through iterative work systems. They depend on process flows, and they are also both pull systems, which means team members are required to complete specific tasks before they can pick new ones. 

One significant difference between the two frameworks is that Scrum uses predefined roles for team members, while Kanban encourages equal collaboration by all team members. Scrum also uses strictly followed sprints to measure project deliverables without allowing for much change, while Kanban provides for more flexibility as needed throughout a project.

How much do you know about the Agile project management methodology? Well, try answering these Agile and Scrum Practice Test and find out today!


To keep up with today’s hypercompetitive technology market, companies are hiring Agile developers and Scrum professionals at a rapid rate—and they’re playing pretty well. If you’re looking to build a successful career in Agile or Scrum, adequate training is essential. Not only do the right courses give you the training necessary to succeed while on the job, but with the relevant certifications, you can also set yourself apart from the competition.

If you want to become a certified Scrum Master, enroll in Simplilearn's Certified Scrum Master (CSM) Certification Training program, where you'll get an immersive experience on this widely used software development methodology.

Whether you're a novice or an experienced software developer, you can also benefit from Simplilearn's Agile Scrum Master (ASM) Certification Training. This comprehensive program covers every aspect of the Agile approach when it comes to software development and project management.

Jumpstart your career as a software developer by enrolling in one — or both — programs today!

About the Author


Simplilearn is one of the world’s leading providers of online training for Digital Marketing, Cloud Computing, Project Management, Data Science, IT, Software Development, and many other emerging technologies.

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