Agile Principles & Scrum Practices

The Difference Between Agile & Scrum

When asked to explain the difference between Agile & Scrum, I find it helpful to think in terms of principles and practices:

  • Principles of course are those large ideas that guide what we do
  • Practices are the actual things we wind up doing

An example of an Agile principle is to favor collaboration over contract negotiation. This is taken directly from the Agile Manifesto but of course there are other principles within agile as well.

In Scrum, we start to think in terms of the practices.  In Scrum, we may have cross-functional teams that are all co-located, to try to remove all the barriers, to facilitate collaboration, and so there is little contract negotiation if you will. In this example we are favoring another principle of agile as well, which is people vs processes and tools.

As you can see, Agile will have a whole set of guiding principles, and when we seek to implement agile within our company we try to support all of those principles, as they have been proven out and make good sense.

Take 2 Scrum and if Pain Persists Call Agile

Scrum is moderately prescriptive; it involves  a series of practices intended to support the Agile principles.  Of course, sometimes it’s impossible to do exactly what Scrum says, that is when we need to go back to the guiding principles of Agile.

If we are forced to do something other than the practice that Scrum prescribes, we can modify it to fit our culture, organization or context. But we want to ensure we are still aligned with the guiding Agile principles that we know will bring about the benefits we expect.

Rod Bray
Partner, Agile Coach and Principal Training Instructor
Web Financial Solutions

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