Agile is a huge success, but there is need to get some terms right, especially that it’s widely conceived that Agile is a group of software development methodologies, yet Scrum is popularly referred to as either an Agile Methodology or a Framework.
We therefore need to ask the question, is Scrum a Framework or a Methodology?
As a Framework
supporting references [Alistair Cockburn | Ken Schwaber | Scrum Alliance]
Alistair Cockburn is one of the initiators of the agile movement in software development, helping to write the Manifesto for Agile Software Development in 2001. Alistair’s poured out his heart in an article titled “Why I became a Certified Scrum Trainer and why I stopped” on his web page.
What caught my attention in the over 1800 words piece is his opinion that ‘Scrum is not actually a methodology’, and that is what motivated me to write this article.
Alistair says “I wish that someone would write down the definition of Scrum in the hilltop style, so that people will not be so confused about what is and what isn’t Scrum ….. Just in case any of you didn’t know: I think Scrum is a pretty neat little thing. If you boil agile down to it’s minimum, you pretty much get Scrum. It’s not actually a methodology, it is one entry in what I consider a more interesting category, the Reflective Improvement Frameworks. That makes it doubly neat. And maybe even harder to define.
Ken Schwaber worked with Jeff Sutherland to formulate the initial versions of the Scrum development process and to present Scrum as a formal process at OOPSLA’95. Schwaber is one of the 17 initial signatories of the Agile Manifesto. He is a founder of the Agile Alliance, and responsible for founding the Scrum Alliance and creating the Certified Scrum Master programs and its derivatives. Ken left the Scrum Alliance in the fall of 2009 after a serious bicycle accident. He then founded Scrum.org
In May, 2009 Ken wrote a paper called the official SCRUMGUIDE (that describes how to use Scrum to build products), in the paper it is stated that “Scrum is not a process or a technique for building products; rather, it is a framework within which you can employ various processes and techniques. The role of Scrum is to surface the relative efficacy of your development practices so that you can improve upon them while providing a framework within which complex products can be developed.”
Even then, Ken’s Scrum.org brought in another variant on its web page titled “what is scrum?” where it says “Scrum is a management and control process that cuts through complexity to focus on building software that meets business needs.”
Mike Cohn is one of the contributors to the invention of the Scrum software development methodology. He is one of the founders of the Scrum Alliance. He is the owner of Mountain Goat Software, a company that provides training on Scrum and Agile software development techniques.
- Mike Cohn’s mountaingoatsoftware says rather than viewing Scrum as methodology, think of it as a framework for managing a process.
Cohn’s mountaingoatsoftware website posted on a page that “Scrum is an agile wayto manage a project, usually software development. Agile software development with Scrum is often perceived as a methodology; but rather than viewing Scrum as methodology, think of it as a framework for managing a process.
As a Methodology
supporting references [Wikipedia | scrummethodology.com | ScrumAlliance]
- Scrum Alliance sees Scrum as both a framework and a methodology
My findings became interesting when I read on Scrumalliance.org that “Scrum is an Agile framework for completing complex projects, and that Scrum originally was formalized for software development projects, but it works well for any complex, innovative scope of work. The possibilities are endless. The Scrum framework is deceptively simple.”
On the same Scrum Alliance web page is a post titled Learn About Scrum they stated that “when Jeff Sutherland created the scrum process in 1993, he borrowed the term “scrum” from an analogy put forth in a 1986 study by Takeuchi and Nonaka, published in the Harvard Business Review. In that study, Takeuchi and Nonaka compare high-performing, cross-functional teams to the scrum formation used by Rugby teams.”
Scrum Alliance also states that “Scrum is the leading agile development methodology, used by Fortune 500 companies around the world. The Scrum Alliance exists to transform the way we tackle complex projects, bringing the Scrum framework and agile principles beyond software development to the broader world of work.”
Wikipedia: If you are not bored with my references above, let me also point out that on the other side of the argument is Wikipedia. The free online Encyclopedia states on its page titled ‘Scrum (software development)‘, and which was last modified on 17 June 2015, at 14:19, referenced Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber’s “Scrum Guides” fromScrumGuides.org and posted that “Scrum is an iterative and incremental agile software development methodology for managing product development.
To further the course of calling Scrum a Methodology, a website called scrummethodology.com has on its landing page that “The Scrum approach to agile software development marks a dramatic departure from waterfall management. Scrum and other agile methods were inspired by its shortcomings. Scrum emphasizes collaboration, functioning software, team self management, and the flexibility to adapt to emerging business realities.”
I like to wrap up this post in a way that you will be able to conclude it for me, and it’s with a question.
Is Waterfall is a methodology just as Scrum is one of the Methodologies of Agile?
This question is necessary especially that Scrum has been called all sorts; a way, a methodology, an approach, a process, a framework, etc.