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Understanding The Differences between Agile and Scrum

Understanding The Differences between Agile and Scrum

Want to learn about the differences between Agile vs Scrum?

While Agile and Scrum are two very similar project management methods, they’re not the same.

In this article, we’ll cover what they both are, how they differ and who they’re best suited to. We’ll also highlight a handy tool that’ll help you handle all your Agile AND Scrum projects!

This Article Contains:

(click on the links to jump to a specific section)

Let’s get started.

What is Agile project management?

Agile project management is an iterative and incremental method that breaks a large project into smaller development cycles. 

These cycles, (also called “sprints”), are then assigned to different, self-sufficient agile teams to increase speed and efficiency. 

Since you’re breaking your project into smaller bites, you can easily incorporate customer and user feedback at the end of every cycle. With this iterative approach, you ensure that you give them the final product that totally satisfies their needs.

Why do sprints work?

With sprints, you can break your project into small chunks to incorporate client and customer feedback at every step of your project’s development

Here’s an example of this:

Let’s say you’re developing an app. With each sprint you can focus on developing a new feature. Once your team completes each feature (sprint), you can ask your customers to try the app and give you feedback on what they like and don’t like.

Once your team incorporates their input, they can move on to the next items in your product backlog.

How is this better than traditional project management models like the Waterfall method?

The Waterfall model is the most common project management method. In the Waterfall methodology, the customer is only a part of the process at the beginning and at the end. 

While Waterfall project management is great for some projects and allows you to work uninterrupted, it’s a rigid approach and doesn’t adapt to customer requirement changes.  

In Agile development, this doesn’t happen.

By including your customers in the development process, you’re not assuming what they want. Instead, you’re making sure you know what they want by asking them directly. That way, your final product will have been built based on their input!

The Agile Manifesto

To better understand the Agile approach, you need to understand what the Agile Manifesto is. 

The Agile Manifesto is a quick summary of what the Agile project methodology stands for and what it’s guiding principles are. 

Here’s a quick summary of the 12 Agile framework principles:

  • Agile principles of customer satisfaction – Your customer should always be your priority. Embrace their changing needs and feedback to deliver working products that satisfy them.
  • Agile principles of quality – Your main measurement of success is your customer’s satisfaction. This is achieved with a sustainable, quality-driven development process.
  • Agile principles of teamworkTeam members should always be actively involved and motivated. You should empower your team, treat them as individuals and give them the tools and environment they need to succeed.
  • Agile principles of project management – Keep your iterative Agile development processes simple and evaluate them regularly. Remove any unnecessary process to speed things up and optimize things.

Is Agile only for software development?

The Agile approach started as a software-focused project management methodology. However, there are tons of different versions of Agile based on this Manifesto.

While some frameworks, like extreme programming, still use Agile practices focused on delivering working software, Agile can be used for more than just software. The Agile methodology can help you streamline pretty much any type of project

What is Scrum?

The Scrum process is based on the Agile development methodology and adopts a sprint-based approach to product development. Scrum, however, takes the iterative approach a step further by using very independent, self-sufficient teams.

Scrum: A part of Agile 

Before going into comparing Agile vs Scrum, it’s important to note that the Scrum process is a part of Agile.

While the Agile approach is a popular project management method by itself, it’s also a broader concept.

That’s why you have multiple project methodologies that are based on Agile, like Scrum and Kanban.

What’s the Kanban method?

The Kanban method is a development methodology where your tasks are laid out on an interactive kanban board that’s used mostly for product development. In this Kanban setup, you can quickly move things around and visualize your progress easily. 

The Scrum process, like the Kanban method, is an Agile-based framework. That’s why when comparing Scrum vs Waterfall, you’ll see the same benefits as comparing Agile vs the Waterfall method.

In many cases, project teams actually use Scrum and Kanban together for more effective work processes:

Kanban vs Scrum?

When trying to choose between the Scrum or Kanban approach, you don’t always have to make a choice. 


Because Scrum and Kanban can be used together.

For example, your Scrum team can use a Kanban board along with their Scrum board to add an extra layer of visibility to the sprint’s workflow

You can use Kanban charts during your Sprint planning meeting to establish a consolidated view of your product backlog. Then, during Scrum meetings and your sprint review, the Scrum Master (manager) can update it with the team’s work progress.

Agile vs. Scrum: What’s the difference?

Here are the two key differences between Agile and Scrum:

A. Team Structure

While Agile and Scrum teams are very similar, their roles differ slightly:

1. The Agile Team

In the Agile framework, teams are broken up into four roles:

  1. Product owners: who communicate with the customers and relay their feedback
  2. Project managers: who guide the project team 
  3. Project team members: who actually work on the project
  4. Project stakeholders: who aren’t actively involved in the project but whose inputs are valued. Ex – salespeople, marketers, etc

2. The Scrum Team

The Scrum Team is typically comprised of five to seven members and is typically divided like this:

  • Scrum Master – The specialized Scrum Master takes care of their team, making sure they have what they need to succeed and holding them accountable through the daily Scrum meeting.
  • Project Owner – The Project Owner is the link between the team and the client. They are the ones that make sure the customer’s needs are being handled properly by the team.
  • Development Team –  The team is self-organizing and self-sufficient. The Scrum team is the one in charge of developing the project.

B. Leadership

One of the key ways that Agile and Scrum differ is in their approach to leadership:

1. Agile Leadership

In the Agile process, leadership is essential. You usually have a product owner who interacts with the customers and gathers their feedback. The product owner then communicates this information to a project manager who oversees the project team.

Additionally, you have multiple project stakeholders who have a say in the development process.

This way, while your Agile team members need to be self-sufficient, there’s a lot of leadership to guide them on the right path.

2. Scrum Leadership

In the Scrum methodology, you have highly independent, cross-functional teams.

While there’s a Scrum Master guiding them throughout the process and leading Scrum meetings, the Scrum team has far more autonomy over their tasks and processes. 

As the Scrum approach usually deals with highly complex projects, each team member needs to be able to function with as little supervision as possible. The extra freedom helps team members take decisions quickly and change direction within the scope of the broader goals. Without this independence, projects would get stalled all the time!

But there’s a caveat. For scrum to work, the team members would have to be sufficiently experienced.

Scrum vs Agile: Which should you use?

Agile and Scrum are both very helpful project management methods that will help you:

  • Implement your customer’s approach easily and effectively
  • Speed up your development and management process
  • Collaborate better

But when it comes to Agile vs Scrum, which projects are they best suited to?

Here’s a breakdown:

You should choose Agile methodology if:

  • You need flexibility to accommodate quick changes in the whole project 
  • You need a very collaborative, interactive team dynamic
  • You need the inputs of different project stakeholders like marketers and senior management

You should use Scrum methodology if:

  • You’re dealing with a highly complex project that will need constant change
  • You have experienced team members that work well together and are self-motivated

The best Agile and Scrum Software

You can’t manage an Agile or Scrum team without the right tool, right?

That’s why ClickUp was built for Agile project management!

ClickUp is the world’s highest-rated free project management tool. It’s used by businesses like Google, Nike and Airbnb and has tons of features to keep your Agile, Kanban Scrum and Lean projects on track. 

Using ClickUp is super easy and will help you implement the Agile approach or Scrum methodology in no time!

Here’s how ClickUp helps you:

1. Multiple Views for multiple working preferences

Regardless of which Agile framework you’re using, your project environment needs to be highly adaptable to changes.

That’s why your Agile software needs to reflect this too!

Luckily, that’s exactly what you get with ClickUp.

ClickUp embraces the Agile process by giving you multiple views to adapt to your team!

Here’s how that looks like:

1) Required Task Views

ClickUp has two required task views that adapt to different project management approaches:

A. Board View

ClickUp’s board view is the perfect Agile Kanban view for your team. You can even use it as a Scrum board to move tasks around quickly and keep up with the Agile development principles. All you need is a quick look to find out where your projects are and move tasks around instantly!

B. List View

This is a great view for project managers who handle their work with GTD-style to-do lists. With this view, your team’s tasks are listed down in a simple checklist. As your team progresses, they can check off their tasks. Once they’re done, they can simply move on to the next sprint.

2) Box View

The Box view is the perfect Agile team view. It’s a simple high-level overview of all the tasks your Agile teams have underway.

How you use this view for Agile and Scrum teams

Project managers and Scrum masters can use it to get a complete overview of everything that’s being developed. Since the sprint’s tasks are sorted by assignee, project managers and scrum masters can immediately figure out what each team member is working on. 

3) Calendar View

ClickUp’s Calendar view helps project managers quickly plan out and manage their work schedule. They can check on all their upcoming tasks and prepare for them quickly.

Using this view with Agile and Scrum teams:

Use this view to plan your sprints and to keep up with your upcoming tasks. You can also use it to figure out when you can start adding items from your product backlog.

Since the Agile methodology is all about changing and adapting, a manager can even toggle between calendar views.

Managers are able to view their calendar as:

  • Days: To check up on tasks scheduled on a given date
  • 4-Days: To view tasks over a four-day period
  • Week: To check your weekly sprint schedule
  • Monthly: To find out how your project roadmap for the next month looks like

4) Me Mode

ClickUp’s “Me” mode exclusively highlights the comments, subtasks and task lists that are assigned to you. That way you minimize distractions – helping you focus better on your next assignment.

2. Stay on top of your Agile sprints with Sprint Lists

To manage your Agile process, you’ll need sprint lists, right?

Here’s how you can do it in ClickUp:

ClickUp can add checklists of all your projects, tasks and subtasks to create sprint lists that break down the deliverables for a stretch. All you need to do is to check items off these lists while you move to the next sprint. 

You can even add scrum points to each of these lists to quickly tackle your product backlog items. As ClickUp’s lists are so easy to understand, they’re also the perfect way for an Agile coach to explain the principles of Agile to any team!

Scrum Masters can also use these checklists as references in their scrum briefings with their teams.

Here’s how to set up an Agile workflow in ClickUp!

3. Visualize your project management with Agile Dashboards

ClickUp’s Dashboards are perfect for high-level overviews of your Agile and Scrum tasks. You can also add your sprint lists and tasks to these Dashboards to keep track of your work in progress.

Here’s a closer look at the different things you can track:

A. Velocity

With ClickUp’s velocity chart, you can quickly find out the completion rate of your tasks. They break down your tasks into weekly or bi-weekly intervals with their average velocity displayed here. 

And there’s no need to manually group your sprint list data, ClickUp automatically adds it for you! 

B. Burn Down Charts

ClickUp’s burn down charts shows you how well your team is performing against a target line. With it, you can quickly see how much work your team has left. 

Here’s what the chart shows:

  • Target progress: The ideal completion pace you need to meet your deadlines
  • Projected progress: Your current trending rate based on tasks currently completed
  • Active: The real number of tasks that are currently completed

C. Burn Up Charts

With burn up charts you can see what has been completed against your scope

With it, you take stock of what you’ve completed so far. This can motivate your team to reach the finish line.

D. Cumulative Flow Charts

ClickUp’s cumulative flow chart shows you your project progress over time. Your tasks are color-coded by their status so you can determine where things are. This helps you to immediately identify and solve bottlenecks!

4. Get effective responses with Assigned Comments

You can’t be “Agile” if your team is taking too long to address your comments, right?

Here’s how ClickUp helps you:

With ClickUp you can instantly convert a comment into a task and assign it to a team member. They’ll get a notification and it’ll also pop-up in their task tray to help them get started immediately.

Once they’ve addressed it, they simply mark the comment as resolved to eliminate any unnecessary follow-ups.

5. Keep the communication flowing with Comment Sections

Active team communication is one of the most vital elements of any Agile project. Your team needs an effective way to quickly communicate project updates and collaborate over the development process.

Here’s how to use it using ClickUp:

All ClickUp tasks come with their own dedicated comment section to exchange files and ideas. Team mates can even tag people and share project updates to keep the project rolling.

ClickUp also integrates with tons of communication tools, like Slack and Skype, to make sure project communication is always a click away!

6. Manage varying Agile project stages with Custom Statuses

The Agile approach isn’t just for software development anymore. They can be applied to sales, marketing, design… practically everything!

But just because you can use the same methodology for different projects doesn’t mean they’re the same.

As each project has its own specific stages and requirements, your management tool needs to adapt to them too.

How ClickUp helps you with this:

Standard project management tools usually just give you a standard set of project statuses. With ClickUp, you can customize them!

That way, you’re not stuck with statuses that aren’t made for your project needs.

Why would that be a problem? 

Imagine using the same set of statuses for both your marketing and for your software development projects!

With ClickUp’s customizable statuses, you’ll never have that problem. 

You can get as creative and detailed as you want – “Editorial Review”, “Beta Testing”,Wireframing”, “Quality Check” – it’s entirely up to you! 


While Agile and Scrum are both very handy project management methods, they differ slightly.

The right choice between Scrum vs Agile comes down to your project, your team and your management style. 

However, regardless of the management approach you choose, you’ll need a project management tool to handle your activities for you.

That’s why ClickUp – which was built for Agile AND Scrum teams – is the perfect tool for you! It has everything you need, so why not sign up today

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