AgilePM and Scrum: Which is better?

AgilePM and Scrum Which is better


This remains one of the most elusive questions on the internet till date. I spent the better part of my week searching through different webpages, blogs and articles, yet I found not one intelligent answer to this seemingly simple question.

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Alas, I stumbled upon it from a source nowhere near the world wide web; this will be my little secret, but finally the mystery has been solved. I daresay, I’m still quite shocked at how direct the answer was. Before we proceed, let’s understand where exactly agile originated from. 


Before we delve into the subject matter, let’s take a look back at how Agile started.

As far back as February 2001, at a ski resort in Utah where 17 geeks came to have fun and hang out, the Agile manifesto was ‘accidentally’ birthed. These guys just sat to have a chat, relax and try to find common ground, and suddenly, a discussion on the need for an alternative to documentation driven, heavyweight software development processes began.

At the end of the 2-day get-together, “a Manifesto for Agile Software Development” —signed by all participants emerged. It was indeed quite interesting to note that this was a group of independent thinkers of software development, and sometimes competitors to each other, yet they agreed on one resolve in that moment naming themselves “The Agile Alliance”.

The primary focus of the Agile Manifesto is about delivering good products to customers by operating in an environment that treats people as the most important factor in any project.

Agile as a word may sound familiar to you. It means being able to move quickly and easily. However, in the context of product development, Agile means more than moving quickly and easily. Agile is the ability to create and respond to change in an uncertain and disordered environment. Environment here could be a workplace, a team, a virtual team, etc.

The Agile Alliance defines Agile as “the ability to create and respond to change in order to succeed in an uncertain and turbulent environment”. It is the ability to flex and deliver projects rapidly to meet your customer needs. Agile methodologies are about delivering good products to customers by operating in an environment that treats people as the most important part of that environment.

It is an approach that encourages collaboration and constant communication among people who are involved in developing a product. In addition, the Agile approach helps teams to respond to change as quickly as possible.

As you know, there is no point in developing a product that will not satisfy customers’ or stakeholders’ needs. To this end, Agile treats people as the most important part of work environment. The whole idea about Agile is that it encourages continuous improvement and rapid response to feedbacks.

Agile is an umbrella term for a variety of frameworks. Agile is a highly deregulated certification. The primary characteristic of any agile approach is its alignment to the values and principles of the Agile Manifesto. An agile team may implement or evolve to use a combination of frameworks which enables them to deliver value more effectively given their project type and work environment. There are over 10 frameworks for the delivery of Agile Projects.

Some of the common Agile frameworks are:

  • AgilePM
  • Scrum
  • PRINCE2 Agile
  • Kanban
  • Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe™)
  • Feature Driven Development (FDD)
  • Extreme Programming (XP)
  • Crystal Clear
  • Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD)
  • Evolutionary Project Management (Evo)

AgilePM stands for Agile Project Management, formerly known as Dynamic System Development Method (DSDM). Arguably the only project management methodology that is fully agile, AgilePM can be easily adopted to deliver projects according to changes in customers’ requirements. AgilePM is different from the traditional (fixed process mindset) way of managing projects. Read more

Scrum is a lightweight process management framework based on empirical process control. Work is performed in a series of fixed length iterations, called Sprints, which last one month or less. At the end of each sprint the team must produce working software of a high enough quality that it could potentially be shipped or otherwise delivered to a customer. Read more

Remember what we learnt from our history lesson earlier on, Scrum and AgilePM are both Agile frameworks.

They are both suitable for certain type of projects where there are rapidly changing requirements.

Either way, both qualifications are good indications of your investment and your interest in being competent, productive, efficient and effective. If you are unsure of what agile certifications to take, you have come to the right place.

It is a common mistake among many IT professionals to use Scrum and AgilePM interchangeably, which is wrong because there are quite a few distinct differences between them.

Scrum is light weight, meaning its focus is on project delivery (i.e. ensuring the team is working together to build a complex solution iteratively), while, AgilePM is heavyweight, this means it goes beyond the team, delivery, and is more elaborate and robust as it covers the entire agile project management (end to end).

In terms of popularity, Scrum is more popular than AgilePM, because of its lightweight nature, professionals can understand it quite easily.

Furthermore, a Scrum Master is responsible for facilitating or coaching teams, as scrum relies on support from the whole team.

Though a competent Project Manager might be able to act in both their Project Management role and Scrum Master (if they can adapt to an evolving, ever-changing environment), a Scrum Master does not take over the role of a Project Manager. 

AgilePM and Scrum: Which is better?In conclusion, none of them is competing, it all depends on what you’re trying to achieve. If you are looking at becoming a competent Agile Project Manager who wants to be involved in the end-to-end process, you can opt for AgilePM. However, if you are interested in managing and controlling iterative projects, you can opt for Scrum.

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