Agile Vs Scrum: Which is The Right One for You? A 2021 Guide


A recent report shows that about 97% of enterprises today have adopted agile methodology and almost 55% of them are going the scrum way. This sentence itself sets in the base for the agile vs scrum distinction. In the software development lifecycle and/or project management, agile is a methodology that is made up of a set of principles, while scrum is the implementation of agile methodology or a framework.

Many in the project management field and the software development field tend to confuse agile for a scrum and vice versa, using the terms interchangeably. Let us first understand what agile and scrum mean and then explore the difference between agile and scrum.

  1. What are agile and scrum?
  2. What is the difference between agile and scrum?
  3. Which is the right one for you? Choosing between agile and scrum methodology

1. What are agile and scrum?

Before we understand the major agile and scrum methodology differences, let us first understand the agile and scrum overview.


As mentioned, Agile is a framework with guidelines for incremental and iterative approaches. The key highlight of Agile is that it is flexible, enables user involvement, and helps adapt the software to change continuously as per requirements. In this methodology, the product development process is broken down into small builds; testing happens simultaneously along with development; promotes better teamwork with F2F communication with every stakeholder involved – development teams, management, stakeholders, users, and more.


This is a framework that enables the implementation of agile principles and methods. It is one of the most dynamic agile frameworks where the development team is empowered to produce quick results, sprints that are small-sized, focus on iterative progress, teamwork, and the ability of the team to adapt to the changing requirements. In scrum, there are three main roles – product owner, scrum master, and the scrum team. 

2. What is the difference between agile and scrum?

Characteristics  Agile Scrum
Definition – what are agile and scrum methodologies? Agile is incremental and iterative This is a framework with an agile approach. There are fixed-length iterations in an incremental model.
Manpower Agile requires the development team and the business stakeholders to work together through the lifetime of the project. In scrum, it is the scrum team, scrum master, and the product owner that work together throughout the project. 
Planning  Agile methodologies typically involve three stages – Release planIterative planDaily plan Sprint planning is the base of the entire project.  Three important entities in Scrum are:Sprint planningDaily scrum meetingSprint review meeting
Versatility One of the biggest diff between scrum and agile is that Agile is a highly flexible methodology. It has the means to respond rapidly to changes. When agile and scrum principles are compared, scrum is more flexible when compared to agile. The framework works with defined rules.
Communication method Agile teams are encouraged to communicate in the face-to-face model. The communication happens regularly but on a weekly basis in the weekly sprint meeting. 
Type of project suitability Agile methods are suitable for projects where customer satisfaction is the primary target; it is suitable where projects are small but require expertise. Scrum is suitable for projects where the environment is rapidly changing. 
What is the process? The typical processes involved in agile methodology are:ExploringMaking plansProductionMaintenanceDelivery The process in scrum are:Pre-gameDevelopmentPost-game
Applicability Is used for the development of software apps because there are functional deliverables in this methodology. This is a framework; there are no needs for software development methods.
Roles In agile projects, there is a leader who leads the team. Scrum teams work under a scrum master who is responsible for organizing the scrum meeting and gives direction to the team. The product owner and the scrum masterworks on the product backlog for enhanced product functionalities and deliveries.
Teamwork Involves collaboration and teamwork.The head of the project addresses all tasks.Feedback is encouraged The scrum team and scrum master require to work hand-in-hand of releasing small iterative portions of the product.With no team lead, the entire team is responsible.The review is done in the daily sprint meeting.
Accuracy Coding can be modified to enable performance improvement of the product and its functionalities.

The scrum team uses task boards and other tools to track the progress of the project.
Testing  Continuous testing takes place.

To find problems in the development, testers need to follow test cases. 
Meeting The meeting happens as part of sprint planning. Daily meetings.
Delivery Based on customer satisfaction, the product is delivered frequently. Time is estimated = story cost x (estimated risk 1) x (staff overhead 1). The delivery is done frequently. 
Underlying principle The design and execution in agile are based on simplicity. Technical excellence is important and having the right design improves agility.  Designing and execution in scrum are based on creativity and innovativeness. 
Measure Working software is the basic way of measuring progress.  Simply presenting a working software system is not enough. 

Safe Scrum and Agile – Similarities

After the difference between the scrum and agile model, there is a need to understand the obvious similarities between agile and scrum because scrum is an agile approach.  Both work on incremental builds. Since scrum is part of agile, hence, it follows almost the same methodologies like Agile. It is important to remember that Scrum is always Agile; but not the other way around. 

Agile and Scrum explained – With the regular inspection of the product, and testing, quality control and maintenance is a big priority in agile, therefore in the scrum. Scrum follows the Agile Manifesto that contains the core values of project management and also the 12 Agile Principles. 

3. Which is the right one for you? Choosing between agile and scrum methodology

Now that you know what Agile and Scrum mean you know that you do not need to choose between the two because scrum is a part of agile. The first thing that you need to do is to decide if you wish to adopt an agile methodology for your project or not. If yes, then in the next phase, you need to decide which agile approach you would use for software development – will it be scrum or some other agile methodology. Thus, the first step is the most important one in the SDLC – agile may or may not suit your project type. So, this is a crucial step before the determination of agile vs scrum. 


Agile methodology is good for projects that have flexible scope and requirements. So, if your project suits agile adaptability, then you need to decide if it is going to be scrum or not. Scrum is suitable for projects where the requirements are routinely changing and the project requires regular testing. 

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