Agile is a methodology focused on lightweight software development cycles, with fast releases, iterations, and continuous improvements; Scrum is an adaptation of Agile but for achieving business objectives through a set of rules and a team organized according to the Agile methodology principles. Therefore, Scrum is a business process built on top of Agile, a method originally built for software development.
- Agile Methodology
- Agile vs. scrum examples
- What is difference between Scrum and Agile?
- What comes first Agile or Scrum?
- What are the core Agile frameworks?
- Connected Agile Frameworks
Agile vs. scrum examples
In this example, we will analyze the transportation company Dutch Railways.
The Dutch railway network is one of the most patronized in Europe.
Before the start of the pandemic in 2019, state-owned company Dutch Railways moved 36.7 million customers in September alone.
This would not have been achievable, however, without the implementation of the Scrum methodology around a decade earlier.
In 2008, Dutch Railways attempted to build a new information system that displayed more accurate travel information for passengers and required less manual intervention.
The system, dubbed PUB, controlled the information displays and audio broadcast system for each train station.
But initial efforts to build the PUB using the Waterfall method failed.
Detailed requirements were sent to an IT vendor and the company expected a fully functional system to materialize with no further customer involvement.
After three years, the vendor was unable to deliver a working system and the project was canceled.
Dutch Railways then sought out another vendor that introduced Scrum to the company.
The vendor commenced with a project kick-off to prepare for the first sprint, but the selection of a suitable Product Owner was an immediate problem.
The vendor could not find anyone with the time, domain knowledge, and mandate to prioritize requirements.
In response, two business analysts were chosen to serve as Product Owners because of their experience and knowledge of stakeholders in the first attempt to build PUB.
The second problem was that these individuals did not know how to write user stories.
What’s more, the existing system documentation was unsuitable because it could not be broken down into smaller parts that could be built, tested, and demonstrated in a sprint.
Building the software
Building the PUB’s software was part of a larger ecosystem of multiple but related software systems and thus required a multi-disciplined effort.
Since meeting deadlines was important, ‘best-effort’ estimates were made for the various functional areas after a few iterations.
At this point, Dutch Railways had also established accurate knowledge about its velocity and could thus communicate progress effectively using a burndown chart.
Scale-up to distributed teams
As part of a scale-up, two developers from India joined the project from the first sprint and worked on-site for 6 weeks to become familiar with the application domain, key stakeholders, and the development team itself.
A norming and chartering session was also held to determine how the Indian and Dutch teams would collaborate.
Early success was evident after the team built, tested, and demonstrated user stories that formed the heart of the PUB system.
Dutch Railways was pleased because progress was demonstrated quickly and it had more control over the project’s direction.
Later, the vendor created two Scrum teams of five developers and then three teams with three developers.
To track and better manage the two cohorts working in different countries, the ScrumWorks Agile planning tool was utilized.
Documentation, requirements, and testing
Since the company required extensive documentation compliant with the MIL standard, a technical writer was hired to write the documentation in Dutch.
In the process, this freed up the developers and testers to spend more time on the software.
The vendor also noted that the one-line user stories accompanied by annotations from the Product Owner were sufficient for the Scrum team to build and test the software.
Automated unit and acceptance tests were conducted at the end of each Sprint and each was unhindered by bugs. As the system increased in size, this was maintained with only one tester per eight-person Scrum team.
The end result was a 20-man-year, 100,000-plus line of code Scrum project which Dutch Railways was extremely content with.
While the nationwide deployment of PUB was hindered by problems in unrelated systems, an external audit reported that the quality of source code was very high and system maintainability was very good.
What is difference between Scrum and Agile?
Agile has become a philosophy encompassing business processes, especially for startups that follow religious principles. Scrum is primarily a collaboration methodology to build complex products. Scrum can be a methodology used within Agile to build complex products while keeping a focus on these processes to be fast, iterative, and be able to kick in feedback loops, to improve these products quickly.
What comes first Agile or Scrum?
In an HBR article from 1986, titled “The New New Product Development Game,” Hirotaka Takeuchi and Ikujiro Nonaka highlighted the principles of Scrum. Thus, while the Scrum methodology did anticipate Agile, given the incredible popularity of Agile, which turned into a philosophy, Scrum has become a methodology within the broader Agile philosophy.
What are the core Agile frameworks?
Connected Agile Frameworks
- Business Models
- Business Strategy
- Business Development
- Distribution Channels
- Marketing Strategy
- Platform Business Models
- Network Effects
Main Case Studies: