What is the difference between Lean, Agile and Scrum?

Published on
October 31, 2022
René Aernoudts
René Aernoudts
René Aernoudts is director/owner of LMI
Share this article:

We are often asked what the difference is between Lean, Agile and Scrum. We'd like to explain to you below how these disciplines relate to each other.

What is Agile?

Agile originally originated in IT development, but today it is used in other environments as well. IT developments rarely went according to plan and were almost never delivered on budget, this is why some people started doing things radically differently in the 1990s.

Agile literally means "swift, agile, flexible." An organization that executes projects using Agile does so very flexibly. Projects are not planned from head to tail like the traditional way of project management. Projects are worked on in sprints, after which they are continuously adjusted based on the findings and feedback from the customer. Extremely flexible and suitable to quickly respond to the changing or not yet 100% fixed wishes of the customer.

What is Scrum?

Agile is an umbrella term that includes many well-known methods and techniques. Think of Scrum, Kanban and XP. Scrum is a method for developing products in an agile manner. Development teams build functionality in short sprints (1-4 weeks) and deliver it to the customer. The customer can test and adjust very quickly, customer findings are immediately prioritized and included in the next sprint. The advantage is that the customer does not have to wait until the total end product is delivered at the end of the development period, but can already provide findings in the interim.


What are the similarities between Lean, Agile and Scrum?

Like Agile and Scrum, Lean focuses on creating maximum customer value. Among other things, by reducing waste that does not add value for the customer. And by continuously improving processes. Agile/Scrum continuously delivers to the customer in the interim and incorporates customer feedback immediately. The end result must add maximum value for the customer, whether you try to achieve that with the help of Lean, Agile or Scrum.

In addition, people are a crucial factor in all these methodologies. Lean focuses on people development, good work procedures, talent development, learning to improve and working according to PDCA cycle (Plan Do Check Act). And in Agile/Scrum teams, people from multiple disciplines work closely together in teams with a high degree of independence and responsibility. In both, people are an essential factor in creating maximum customer value.

With Lean , with often conducts day starts to briefly review daily and set goals and priorities. In Agile/Scrum, the scrum team also often conducts day starts with the same goal.

What are the differences between Agile, Scrum and Lean?

In general, you can say that Lean is applied in all processes and at all levels of the organization. Agile/Scrum is more often applied in specific projects. You could also say that Lean focuses on improving to create more customer value and Agile and Scrum focus on change and innovation for the customer. Although that is not an obvious dividing line in our opinion. Others say that Lean is more applicable in predictable work processes, while Agile and Scrum are better suited to more complex environments.

We see more similarities than differences in both methodologies, especially since they both aim to generate maximum customer value.

Want to know more about What is Lean? Then read this article.

More Lean news

See all blogs

Stay tuned!

Sign up for our newsletter

Thanks for your registration
Something went wrong, please try again.