Scrum vs. Sprint: What’s The Difference?

Scrum and Sprint are interrelated but are different terms. Scrum is a structure used frequently in Agile methodology.

Agile methodology is an operation that encourages continuous recurrence of development and testing throughout the development lifecycle of a project. Both development and testing are simultaneous in the Agile model.

Sprint is a part of Scrum’s architecture.

It is important to understand how Sprint and Scrum work in sync to produce a great product.

Scrum

Scrum is an interactive, lightweight, and phased increase in the structure used in agile methodology. It helps people work in coordination to promptly adapt to complicated issues and dividing the project or solution delivery into smaller portions.

Scrum is more often used in software development but can be attuned to various other projects that require teamwork such as research, sales, or marketing.

The structure is designed for teams that work closely together, are self-organized, and are of no more than ten people. It also encourages continuous learning through positive or negative ordeals while working on the project. 

Since the team is self-organized, the next Sprint’s deliverables are decided by members of the group. This encourages accountability, responsibility, and collaboration.

With Scrum, you can have a smooth, repetitive, and collaborative project execution through a series of procedures, meetings, roles, and tools where Sprint and other structures come in.

All work is divided into steady time units reiterations called Sprint which conventionally takes two weeks to complete. 

At the end of the Sprint the team has two very important meetings: 

  • Sprint review to show the work done and completed 
  • Retrospectives to learn from the wins and losses. 

The team, therefore, has a chance to deliver the next reiteration better than the former.

From 1986, Scrum went through reiterations to become a better more powerful structure for teamwork. It features “The Scrum Guide” in particular which describes the Scrum structure and allows organizations to adapt to it easier.

The Origin of Scrum

Hirotaka Takeuchi and Ikujiro Nonaka invented Scrum methodology for the first time in a 1986 paper “The New Product Development Game”. The name was borrowed from rugby. It is short for scrummage which is a method of restarting a play.

Scrum founders Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland independently used Scrum-like frameworks in their organizations in the 1990s. They eventually joined forces and combined their experiences into a single structure.

Even so, the structure notions have enough room for individual groups to add their style and methods. Scrum overtime is therefore being enhanced by all users.

Ken and Jeff would finally say that Scrum is:

  • Lightweight
  • Simple to understand
  • Difficult to master

Scrums Core Beliefs and Values

Scrum believes that customers or users would probably change their minds on the final set of features, that is, requirements volatility. The world’s unpredictable nature is also expected to bring challenges when planning out a project entirely.

Traditional project management may not be enough when it comes to developing products and solutions that are relevant six months from now. Scrum, therefore, takes a different approach by embracing uncertainty, using empiricism and lean thinking with deliveries and project management.  

It concentrates its efforts on speed and adaptability to address emerging new currents market conditions.

What Are Scrums’ Core Values?

All work is based on three pillars of transparency, inspection, and adaptations. On top of that, Scrum takes an empirical scientific approach to project management and adapts based on the new information coming from the project.

Scrum has five core values:

  1. Commitment – group members commit themselves to achieve goals and supporting the group
  2. Courage – doing the right thing and solve difficult problems
  3. Focus – concentrating on the Sprint and doing all that is possible to achieve goals.
  4. Openness – the whole group is transparent to stakeholders about the work, challenges, and progress.
  5. Respect – everyone is believed to be capable and independent and is treated as such.

Advantages of Scrum

Scrum is an established structure used with Agile projects and prescribed various tools, meetings, and roles to structure complex work.

Some of the advantages of working with Scrum are:

  1. A business does not need to create the wheel. It can drag and drop the framework.
  2. The structure is highly adjustable to changes in market conditions especially when it comes to software development.
  3. Scrum enables the team to complete project features quickly and efficiently.
  4. Scrum simplifies the management of complex projects by dividing them, into manageable sprints.
  5. Scrum enables you to concentrate on the most valuable features first hence delivering value to a client before the project end date. You can therefore use your time and money most effectively to extract value.
  6. All work is completed within the Sprint with a clear consequence at the end. This includes development and testing.
  7. Scrum allows for managing fast-paced projects.
  8. Scrum meetings provide scaled-down updates.
  9. Improvements continue throughout the project by integrating customer and stakeholder feedback.
  10. Short one-to-four-week Sprints help incorporate feedback into the project much faster than in traditional project management.
  11. Every member shares their updates in daily Scrum meetings. Everyone’s contribution is of value to the team.

Disadvantages of Using Scrum

There are also some trade-offs while using scrum:

  1. The framework is quite strict when it comes to delivery methods. Therefore, there is less flexibility.
  2. Medium and large organizations typically have multiple departments and streams of work with hundreds of people while scrum works well with one team of up to ten people. These organizations would need to adopt Scrum for scrums or scaled Agile.
  3. Because there is no clearly defined end date and a continuously increasing list of features, there is a high risk of project scope creep.
  4. If there is no collaboration culture Scrum might not be the best way forward.
  5. There is a learning curve to understand how to operate in a Scrum environment and team members should be comfortable with the framework.
  6. Many procedures take time.
  7. The team is dependent on each member. If somebody leaves mid-project it may have a high impact on project timelines.

Sprint

Sprints are at the core of the Scrum framework. We use it to manage our work. Elementally, a sprint is a reiteration or a time box that lasts from a week to a month, repeated continuously over a project’s lifeline. The sprint’s length is decided at the beginning of the project.

The group could try different timeframes and use that which is most effective in the project. If the project needs more agility or goals are changing rapidly, the team uses shorter sprints. If the project is more stable, sprints can be longer.

Components of the Sprint

What happens during the life cycle of a sprint is key. The sprint contains all work and other framework pieces like prescribed meetings and:

  • Sprint planning
  • Daily scrums
  • Sprint review
  • Sprint retrospectives

Rules of the Sprint

These are rules to be followed during the sprint:

  • The product owner and the wider team should protect sprint goals at all costs. These small steps ensure project success. The team however should not sacrifice the quality of deliverables.
  • During a sprint, the product owner can refine the product backlog for the next sprint as the team starts getting new information about the additional customer or user needs.
  • The product owner could cancel the sprint if its goals no longer add value.

Scrum is made up of sprints and is used by small teams for quality deliverables of projects.

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