Agile vs Scrum

Agile is the software development process characterized by concurrent product development and testing activity, and by regular delivery of software for customer feedback, in order to implement continuous improvement throughout a project lifecycle from planning meetings through launch and re-iterations. Scrum, an Agile process, delivers software iterations to the product owner or stakeholders in a much shorter timeframe – after every 1 to 2 week sprint. Scrum, broken down into short sprints and small iterations, or deliverables, contrasts the Agile process where increments are delivered at the end of the project.

In the Agile process, leadership plays an organizing role in development team productivity. Marking a key difference, Scrum productivity, while not altogether leaderless, emerges out of self-organizing, cross-functional teams. Agile collaborations are face-to-face interactions between the members of these various Scrum cross-functional teams, whereas Scrum collaborations are accomplished in daily stand up meetings of the larger Scrum development team.

Agile methodology

The Agile software development process is an incremental iterative approach, open to changing requirements over the lifecycle of each project. Continual feedback from stakeholders, product owners, and end users is key to the Agile method of software development and essential to measure the project progress made by Agile teams.

In place of in-depth planning to identify and shape predictable functions and workflow at the beginning of a project, like traditional waterfall methodology, the Agile approach emphasizes engagement with members of cross-functional teams that work on iterations of a product over a period of time, often the entire duration of the project. These tested iterations are organized into a product backlog list prioritized based upon business or customer value. Keep in mind that the goal of each iteration is always to produce a working testable product.

Agile methodologies establish project-management protocols based upon a set of best practices set forth in the Agile Manifesto. The outcome of Agile teamwork is the rapid delivery of high-quality software to business stakeholders, ready for implementation or revision according to a customer’s or the market’s changing requirements.

Agile software development methodology is your best choice for complex projects, when you don’t yet have a clear picture of what the end product should look like; when you know you’ll need to adjust the product requirements as development progresses; and when you’re confident that your development team will thrive in collaboration with fast-responding Agile project management methodology, which sounds a lot like Scrum, but you’ll find distinctions below..

Both Agile and Scrum software development methodologies share an iterative and incremental approach, but Agile is designed to oversee a long term project from start to finish, and to provide deliverables at the end, while Scrum sprints produce fast and frequent iterations for stakeholder testing and revision.

Scrum methodology

The Scrum framework is the most popular of the several Agile frameworks. It’s flexible, adaptive and a simple way to implement Agile. As Scrum teams self-organize around the fixed set of responsibilities and meetings that guide every Scrum project, these professionals comprising the development team do not inhabit discrete roles such as programmer, designer, or tester. Each professional skill set brought into the development project becomes an essential working part of a cross-functional team.

Scrum Development Teams consist of 5 to 7 members, including the Product Owner and the Scrum Master. The Product Owner’s main duty is to maximize the value of the work of the development team, and to produce and manage the product backlog (the stakeholder wish list) and how the items on it are prioritized. The Scrum Master makes sure that the team is working in accordance with the Scrum process. While they have no authority over team members, they have authority over how and whether or not that Scrum process is implemented.

An important fixed responsibility for the the Scrum team is participation in the four ceremonies that structure each sprint: sprint planning, daily stand-up meetings, sprint demo, and sprint retrospective. During each sprint, the team will use visual artifacts like a Scrum task board to show progress toward the sprint goal.

Through an ongoing process of face-to-face daily scrum meetings, cross-functional teams complete sprints together. The Scrum Team’s plan for each 1 to 2 week sprint anticipates the amount and direction of the work necessary to complete each iteration. The Scrum project team may then reassign product backlog as product increment and, by determining which tasks can be completed in a sprint, move work from the product backlog list to the sprint backlog list. During the sprint retrospective meeting, the team can reflect upon how well Scrum is working for them and how best or better to focus their skills. Also at the completion of each sprint, team members join stakeholders to perform a sprint review and to plan the next sprint.

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