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Agile vs. Scrum: Differences, Similarities & Applications

This article provides an in-depth breakdown of the courses and certifications available through Scrum Alliance, guiding professionals on their journey to Agile transformation.

April 12, 2024 by Maria Garcia

Helpful Summary

  • Overview: We explore the differences (and similarities) between Agile and Scrum to determine which best suits team needs, focusing on their differences, benefits, and applications in project management.
  • Why trust us: Teaminal has empowered industry leaders like IKEA, T-Mobile, and Workday, showcasing our expertise in enhancing productivity and collaboration within remote teams.
  • Why this is important: Choosing the right methodology can significantly affect project success, flexibility, and team collaboration.
  • Action points: Consider your team’s dynamics and project requirements to decide between Agile’s flexibility and Scrum’s structured approach.
  • Further research: Check out the Teaminal blog for more resources on project management methodologies and Agile.

Wondering About the Differences Between Agile and Scrum?

Agile and Scrum are two related (but entirely separate) project management concepts. There’s often quite a bit of confusion among teams trying to implement one or the other, so we’re here to clarify the difference for you.

In this Teaminal article, we dive into the origins and key principles of both Agile and Scrum, as well as their similarities and differences.

But first…

Why Listen to Us?

At Teaminal, we’ve helped hundreds of high-performing teams at companies like Hello Fresh, Workday, Medium, and Angi get more done in less time by implementing effective async Agile meetings.

We know firsthand the power of Agile and Scrum in driving efficiency and productivity, and we’re here to share our knowledge with you.

Agile vs. Scrum: An Overview

Are you in a rush? No worries—here’s a quick overview of some key points we cover in more detail later in the piece.

Starting with the basics, Agile is a project management philosophy that focuses on iterative and incremental progress—it isn’t a framework you can follow. Scrum is an Agile framework that provides structure and guidelines for teams to implement Agile principles. 

Essentially, Agile is the overarching philosophy and Scrum is a specific way of implementing it.

Here’s a table to summarize:

Feature/Aspect Agile Scrum
Framework or Methodology Methodology Framework
Broad applicability across industries
Prescribes specific roles
Time-boxed iterations
Emphasizes adaptability and flexibility
Requires regular retrospectives
Fixed roles (e.g., Scrum Master)
Defines specific events for progress tracking (e.g., sprints)

What Is Agile?

Agile is a flexible methodology for managing complex projects. It was originally described in the Agile Manifesto (written by a group of software developers in 2001) but it has been developed, shaped, and expanded upon by a large community of practitioners over the years.

There are four key Agile values:

  1. Individuals and interactions over processes and tools. This one is simple—having a good team is better than a good process. A good team can make a bad process work (and may be able to improve it), a bad team will struggle regardless.
  2. Functional [output] over comprehensive documentation. “Output” is replaced with “software” in the original quote, but this can be anything from physical products to marketing materials. The goal is to dive into meaningful work rather than getting bogged down in endless documentation and planning.
  3. Customer collaboration over contract negotiation. Collaborating with customers means being open to feedback and working closely with them to meet their needs. It also means being flexible and adaptable to changing requirements.
  4. Responding to change over following a plan. The best-laid plans can often go astray due to unforeseen circumstances. Instead of rigidly sticking to a plan, it is important to be able to adapt and respond quickly to changes.

By now you may have picked up on the fact that Agile (while invented in a software development context) can be applied to all kinds of industries.

Take content marketing, for example. Instead of spending months creating a detailed content strategy and schedule, you’d create smaller pieces of content, test them with your audience, and use their feedback to make improvements and course corrections along the way.

Benefits of Agile Framework

  • Increased Productivity: Agile has proven to be a very effective methodology for increasing productivity. For example, 60% of companies experience profit growth after adopting an Agile approach. With its focus on collaboration, efficient communication, and adaptive planning, teams are able to work together more effectively and efficiently.
  • Faster Time-to-Market: In today’s fast-paced business world, being able to respond quickly to changes is crucial. Agile allows for shorter development cycles known as “sprints,” which means products or services can be released faster.
  • Improved Quality: By continuously testing and receiving feedback from end users, Agile teams are able to catch and fix any issues early on in the development process. This results in a higher quality end product that meets the needs of the customers.
  • Increased Customer Satisfaction: Agile’s focus on iterative development and continuous feedback loops not only enhances quality but also leads to increased customer satisfaction, ensuring that deliverables meet or exceed expectations.

When to Use Agile?

As we said earlier, Agile applies to all kinds of scenarios and projects. However, it is best suited for projects with the following characteristics:

  • Projects that require frequent changes or updates (e.g., software development)
  • Team-based projects with a collaborative environment
  • Projects with multiple stakeholders and constantly evolving requirements

What is Scrum?

Scrum is an Agile framework that provides structure and guidelines for implementing the principles of Agile in a software development context.

It was developed by Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber to improve team productivity and project success rates. Scrum emphasizes iterative development through regular time-boxed sprints (typically 2-4 weeks long).

Beyond that, there are a few key components to Scrum:

  • Roles: Scrum defines three roles—Product Owner, Scrum Master, and Development Team. Each role has specific responsibilities and works together to deliver a successful product.
  • Artifacts: These are tangible pieces of work that represent progress during a sprint. They can include user stories, product backlog items, and the potentially shippable product increment.
  • Ceremonies: These are the meetings that take place throughout each sprint to ensure effective communication and collaboration within the team. They include daily stand-up meetings, sprint planning, sprint review, and retrospectives.

On the subject of Scrum ceremonies, it’s worth mentioning that there is some debate about the best way to implement these meetings. Some teams prefer synchronous meetings, but at Teaminal, we feel async ceremonies allow for more productivity and flexibility.

Yesterday I finished up work on the map, today I'm diving into the GraphQL stuff for the tables. No blockers!

  • Clementine Kelly closed TEST-1

Brad Simantel · 3:56pm

@clementine I think the GraphQL queries for the tables should be similar to the work I did for charts - let me know if you want help!

Clementine Kelly · 3:56pm

@brad thanks, I'll let you know if I run into any issues!


Our tool integrates with Slack (and a bunch of other project management tools) to make it easy for teams to hold async ceremonies and keep track of each other’s progress. Now more scheduling issues or missing notes—just efficient and effective communication.

Benefits of Scrum

  • Improved Transparency: To enhance project clarity and team collaboration, Scrum methodology emphasizes improved transparency in all aspects of the development process.
  • Increased Productivity: Improved transparency in Scrum methodology not only enhances project clarity and team collaboration but also contributes significantly to increased productivity through streamlined processes and focused efforts.
  • Better Risk Management: Enhanced risk management in Scrum methodology is a key benefit that provides teams with the tools to identify, assess, and mitigate potential project risks effectively.
  • Enhanced Collaboration: In Scrum methodology, collaboration is elevated to a new level, fostering a dynamic environment where team members actively engage and work together towards achieving project goals. This enhanced collaboration allows for better communication, increased transparency, and a shared sense of responsibility.

When to Use Scrum?

Scrum has a much narrower focus than Agile. It’s specifically designed for modern software development teams that need to put out new releases on a consistent schedule—think mobile app teams, SaaS companies, and more.

Currently, Scrum is the most popular Agile methodology among software development teams with 81% using Scrum or a hybrid of Scrum and other Agile practices. This is because it has been proven to be effective in managing complex projects with constantly changing requirements.


Agile is a deep project management methodology with a ton of different frameworks, techniques, and bodies of knowledge. That’s a blessing and a curse—it means there’s tons of information out there, but it can be hard to dip your toes in.

If you’re a software team looking for a simple, formulaic way to implement the Agile methodology, Scrum might be the right framework for you. Its emphasis on frequent communication, iterative development, and continuous improvement can lead to increased efficiency and a better end product.

Looking for tools to simplify Scrum for your distribution team? At Teaminal, we’ve got you covered. Our platform offers async collaboration and powerful integrations, and it works directly in Slack, so there’s no need to learn a new tool.

Sign up for Teaminal now!

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