Agile - Methodology or Framework or philosophy

Last post 08:02 pm January 8, 2021
by adam smith
23 replies
05:00 pm October 20, 2014


I have been trying to get an handle on Whether Agile is a Methodology or Framework or Philosophy

I have seen lots of posts where they say Agile is Project Management Methodology and Agile project management methodologies include scrum, extreme programming (XP), and lean, among others

By Defination - Methodology is “a system of methods used in a particular area of study or activity”

When i read the Agile Manifesto its all about the 4 values and 12 principles. It does not mention anything about it being a methodology . To me it looks like - Agile is a philosophy, A set of principles to guide you in the choices you make.

So why do people call it as an - Project Management Methodology

Secondly - Scrum is a Process Framework ( Scrum Guide) - Framework by defination - is a picture or a model that guides you to understand which artifacts you should produce when. It doesn't tell you what to do though. - its a skeleton

So then why is Scrum is considered as one of the Project Management Methodologies

Any thoughts to solve my doubts


08:18 am October 24, 2014

Hi Gautam,

in my experience proper naming standards and consistent definitions are very rare and perhaps only fully achieved in math. The best thing you can find in "real life" are small consistent islands. So if you're going really into the definitions you have to take care of "staying within your island".

The Scrum Guide is such an island.
- Methology:
About methodologies it says, Scrum "functions well as a container for other techniques, methodologies, and practices". And it doesn't go any further.
- Agility:
About agility it says, "The Scrum Master serves the Product Owner in several ways, including [...] understanding and practicing agility". And it doesn't go any further.
- Framework:
About framework it says, of course, multiple things as the Scrum Guide defines Scrum itself as a framework.

In my opinion, you can very well say, "Agile is a philosophy". But I'd say a framework can also be a methodology. Scrum tells you what to do. It just doesn't tell you how to do it. And that's the purpose of the underlying methods (which Scrum does neither name nor prescribe).
Though probably that deviates from the consistent island, i guess... :-)

03:17 pm October 24, 2014

> So why do people call it as an - Project Management Methodology

Because they are naive, or because their primary target audience is naive. (naive about Methodology vs. Framework or Agile/Scrum)

06:33 pm August 11, 2017

Agile provides methodologies through various framework to achieve values but not philosophy.

10:41 am August 18, 2017

If you're a developer, you could say that Scrum is an interface to the Agile philosophy, mind-set, state of being, or however you prefer to describe it.

The Scrum events are the interface-methods. The artifacts, roles and values are the attributes. Each Scrum team's process is its own implementing class.

While the interface defines what needs to be done and what needs to be present, the implementation -how- is up to the team.

The culmination of the Sprint, the Retrospective, is like a review of the methods and planning for refactoring the methods in order to further optimize the attributes.

Okay, a little weird, but ...


06:01 pm August 19, 2017

It's defined as a framework but there is a definite philosophy behind it, as it emphasizes its five core values and goes beyond the simple structure of roles/events/artifacts and into a way of thinking and belief about how to accomplish goals.

03:29 am August 21, 2017

Here is a video of what is Agile :

06:15 am November 1, 2017

Agile is a Mindset & Scrum is a framework of tools to help achieve an Agile mindset.

To quote the awesome Clinton Keith, Scrum Jedi Master:

"Scrum has been called a “starting script” for agility, which means that the elements of Scrum are meant to be changed over time to reflect the continuing improvements made by different teams."

10:27 am November 2, 2017

I see it as a direction.  Like a point on a compass.  Every time a business makes a decision to uncover better ways of developing software it uses the Agile values and principles to help steer it towards agility.

12:31 pm September 20, 2018


I recommend you take a look at the article: "Intro to agile". This guide is really simple and useful!

02:33 pm September 23, 2018


In a nutshell, agile is a risk-reducing strategy which uses short feedback loops as it's primary tool. That is the heart of agile. Then there are a lot of practices that typically help that along, like collaboration, self-organization, focusing on value etc. But if you have to boil agile down to one thing, I would say it's about avoiding the risk that is accumulated every second you don't close the feedback loop. The Scrum framework reduces the risk down to the length of a single sprint.

09:33 am September 26, 2018

Agile is a mindset,  Scrum is a framework

09:36 pm September 27, 2018

Agile is a philosophy. It contains no steps on how to do anything so it can't be a methodology.  Part of the reason that many of the original signatories have claimed it failed is because people tried to turn it into more than it was intended.

Scrum is a framework.  Why?  Because it is not complete. It does not tell you how to do everything. It describes ways to accomplish some specific purposes (the Events) or items for specific uses (backlogs, increment).  But it doesn't tell you how to do any of them. It gives general purposes, ideas but nothing specific.  There have been many attempts to have it become a methodology but they have all been fought by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland. You can find multiple places where one or both of them have commented on this topic.

Part of why you see the mistaken references are because people either don't fully understand or they are trying to commercialize something.  

Study the Agile Manifesto.  Study the Scrum Guide.  Study Empiricism which is the foundation for both.  After you do that, it will start to become much more clear how all of them fit together to help you start to build processes, methodologies that "honor" them and are successful.

12:26 pm May 6, 2019

Hi Gautam,

Agile is neither a methodology or a framework, meaning methodology or a process is much more complete and will specify how work should be done whereas a framework, on the other hand, is purposely incomplete ( like SCRUM, XP, Crystal). So agile is a set of principles and values. 

SCRUM is agile whereas the vice-versa is not true. So SCRUM, XP, Crystal, TDD all fall under the umbrella of Agile adopting the principles and values. Hope this clarifies. 

Thank you 


05:05 pm September 11, 2019

Agile provides methodologies through various framework to achieve values but not philosophy.

08:47 am February 3, 2020

Hello all,

According to all suggestion and there is difference between all of them but what you can say about SDLC Methodologies.

07:08 pm February 5, 2020

Hi Edward. I looked at that link you provided and they have confused Agile with Scrum. If you replace the terminology, it may make a little bit more sense. 

Something I learned that has always stuck with me, came from a presentation by Ahmed Sidkey (who is currently the Head of Business Agility at Riot Games). In his presentation, he did a great job of putting Agile into perspective.

I'm paraphrasing to the best of my ability but he explained it as, Agile is a mindset, described by 4 Values. Those values are defined into 12 Principles and using those principles, unlimited number of practices are manifested, some used as methodologies.

Hope that helps.

09:46 am May 19, 2020

Agile is a mindset and  Scrum is a framework

03:44 pm May 23, 2020

Agile is a philosophy and Scrum is a framework.

07:24 pm October 20, 2020

Agile is just a set of RULES and PRINCIPLES!!!!!!!!!!! period!


(Agile is not a a methodology, not a specific way of developing software, and not a framework or process!)

09:41 am October 21, 2020

Agile as a noun is arguably unhelpful.

But (to me) being agile means being constantly able to move quickly in a controlled way, and that applies whether talking about an athlete or a business.

03:42 pm October 21, 2020

It's been more than 10 years since I learned the following definition of agile and agility in a book by Lindsay and Evans titled: Managing for Quality and Performance Excellence. (It's not managing quality but Managing FOR Quality)

Agile or agility is the term used to characterize flexibility and short cycle times.

I am yet to find anything more concise yet comprehensive describing agile or agility. This definition in my opinion is independent of industry, technology, and time, let alone it steers away from the debate whether it is a framework, mindset, or something else for that matter.

The Agile Manifesto is the roadmap to achieve flexibility and short cycle times.

04:31 pm October 23, 2020

Agile is a mindset, which means Agile is an end while Scrum is a means to achieving an agile mindset i.e Scrum is a means to achieving an end; end in this regard is Agility.

03:51 pm January 7, 2021

The fundamental difference between Agile and Scrum is that Agile is a development methodology and Scrum is one of the implementations of it.