Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Scrum is the new XP

Another insight I had last week: Scrum is the new Extreme Programming. Or rather Scrum is the new Agile Software Development.

Before there was Agile Software Development there was Extreme Programming - or just XP. XP got all the attention and coverage. Then the term Agile was adopted by Kent Beck, Jim Highsmith, Martin Fowler and others as an umbrella term for XP, Scrum, FDD, Crystal, etc. etc.

But, for a long time many people - outside the inner sanctum of the Agile community - equated Agile with XP, the two terms were inter-changable.

That period came to and end about two years ago, XP stopped getting all the fuss and Agile was something in its own right. (Still all the terms XP, Agile, Scrum, Lean, etc. still confuse the uninitiated.)

But now Scrum is supreme. Scrum is everywhere. Scrum certification seems essential for ones career. Now it seems the terms Scrum and Agile are inter-changable. Scrum is Agile and Agile is Scrum.

Either this means Scrum has won - the Scrum Alliance has done an excellent job of marketing Scrum and it now has the respectability that “extreme” anything could never had.

Or is the start of the end of Scrum.

I expect the Scrum is Agile and Agile is Scrum trend to grow for the next year or two. It will be at least that long before Agile is again a free term. (All the more reason then to adopt Agile Engineering as the new banner.)


  1. SCRUM is an agile framework but does not constitute what Agile is.
    To do that you would need to add constraints analysis (e.g. Goldratt), Lean Thinking (e.g. Poppendieck), XP (Beck et al) if you are talking software development, etc and only then would you have the starting point for Agile....SCRUM is just one small part of the picture as is XP

  2. Gerald, I agree with you 100%, Scrum is not Agile. There is a lot more to Agile than Scrum - and Lean is a good example of even more.

    What I was trying to say - perhaps I didn't express myself too well - is that outside the Agile community, in the wider world, people who have not started using Scrum or Agile then:

    These people, the wider market, now equate Scrum as Agile.

    When I talk about Agile people say to me "O, you mean Scrum".

    The Scrum marketing machine is a great success.

  3. I am very new to these things so these comments are from the perspective of a newcomer. It seems to me that scrum concentrates on the mgmt part and agile is what the developers like. I worked on an agile project where people did start to say:

    agile <--> scrum

    Why? Because the day-to-day mgmt tasks did mutate and become scrum-like. The standups, scrum-of-scrums for a big team, the board, mnging defects and tracking evolving business requirements. But the developers concentrated on TDD, improving the building and testing and doing pair programming.

    So I think they are different. I can see why scrum has won the marketing battle. Such battles are aimed at mgrs.


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