Methodology versus Framework

Methodology

a body of methods, rules, and postulates employed by a discipline :  a particular procedure or set of procedures

Framework

the basic structure of something : a set of ideas or facts that provide support for something

I hear the phrase “agile methodology” far too often still these days.  First, agile is not a methodology, it’s a mindset.  Second, this phrase is most often used to describe a team using Scrum.  I’ve been using Scrum for many years, and I can definitively tell you, Scrum is a framework, not a methodology. 

Let’s review the definitions above.  While Scrum certainly has aspects which sound like a methodology – there are rules and ceremonies – it is not a methodology because it does not inform  you specifically how to do certain things, just that those things must be done.  Let’s take a piece of the description of the Scrum Master, right out of the Scrum Guide:

Finding techniques for effective Product Backlog management;

It doesn’t say what techniques are available for effective Product Backlog management – just that it must be done!  A methodology would tell you, in no uncertain terms, how to effectively manage your backlog. 

While to some this may seem like splitting hairs, or just semantics, it’s an important distinction, and one that we should get correct.  To not do so would be going against the core agile principle of valuing individuals and interactions over process and tools.

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