Explore Agile and Scrum

June 11, 2019

Agile and Scrum

Agile is a term used to describe a general approach to software development.

All agile methods, including Scrum, emphasize teamwork, frequent deliveries of working software, close customer collaboration, and the ability to respond quickly to change.

How is Scrum different than agile?

Scrum is one of many in the agile process.

You can think of agile as an umbrella term that encompasses other processes, such as Extreme Programming, Adaptive System Development, DSDM, Feature Driven Development, Kanban, Crystal and more.


Another way to think about the relationship between agile and Scrum is this: If your refrigerator is broken then you would go to an appliance store and they will show you different  refrigerators. You might see refrigerators from LG, Siemens, Smeg, Whirlpool, Electrolux, Samsung, Bosch and so on. Maybe you´d leave the store with a Whirlpool, because its unique features best fit your needs. In the same way that Whirlpool is a brand of refrigerator, Scrum is a brand of agile.

Unlike refrigerators, however, you can customize the agile process to better fit your team. You can choose to primarily use Scrum, for instance, but also incorporate some of the desirable features of the other agile processes.

For example, many teams that use Scrum also employ test-driven development and pair programming, both of which are components of Extreme Programming. The flexibility of the agile process is a large part of its appeal.

How will agile and Scrum help me?

Transitioning to a new process is hard. The benefits of doing so must outweigh the cost.

Organizations that have made the switch to the Scrum agile process report the following benefits, all of which are related and build on each other:

  • Higher productivity
  • Higher quality
  • Reduced time-to-market
  • Improved stakeholder satisfaction
  • Increased job satisfaction
  • More engaged employees

Having more engaged employees leads to more productivity gains, initiating a virtuous cycle of continuous improvement.

The data behind these claims are available in Chapter 1 of Mike Cohn’s book, “Succeeding with Agile.”

What’s so bad about Waterfall development?

If whatever process you’re using today is working, by all means stick with it. Keep in mind, though, that the rate of change in the world has accelerated dramatically over the past 30 years and especially over the past 10.

Product development cycles that were acceptable 10 years ago would be laughable now.

There is no reason not to expect this quickening trend to continue.
Today’s “fast enough” will likely not be fast enough tomorrow.

In order to remain competitive, companies developing software need an agile process that can help them keep up with the accelerating rate of change.

Agile and Scrum helps teams develop software quicker, and at lower costs, giving them a competitive advantage in a fast-paced market.


Isn’t Scrum just another fad?

Scrum has been around a lot longer than you may think. The first paper on Scrum appeared in the Harvard Business Review in January 1986. Software teams started using the Scrum agile process in 1993.

Other agile processes started popping up shortly after this but the term “agile” was first applied to Scrum and similar processes in early 2001. With this long history, agile processes like Scrum have clearly passed the fad stage. In fact, a 2009 survey by SearchSoftwareQuality found that 56 percent of organizations were using an agile process on at least some of their projects.

To learn more there are plenty of online resources and books for continued reading on scrum & the different roles. Let Google be your guide.

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