Per definition, Scrum is an Agile framework. Some see it as a methodology, though. Now, who’s right? It really depends on how you look at it.

First, let’s try to clarify the difference between framework and methodology. In this context, a framework is a loose guideline, that defines the main structure of software development. However, it doesn’t dictate how to do certain things. A framework is not a step-by-step recipe, in that it doesn’t tell us what tools and processes to rely on.

Given a framework, we can define the way we want to achieve our goals. Now we’ve got both a structure and a set of standards, tools, and practices. That’s the methodology.

You have a methodology if you fill in the gaps of the structure defined by a framework.

Now, let’s go back to our original question. Is Scrum a framework or a methodology? Scrum defines a structure for sure: it tells us that we need development Sprints, with Sprint Planning, Daily Scrum, Sprint Review, and Retrospective meetings. Thus, Scrum fits the definition of a framework.

Does Scrum tell us what tools to use, such as Excel for planning, Trello for progress tracking, or Microsoft Visio for designing our software? Nope!

So, Scrum is a framework, not a methodology, right? Well, not so quick! Many people perceive Scrum as a methodology because the tools and the standards are already given. Mature software development companies don’t have to introduce new software and processes, just adapt the existing ones to the structure provided by Scrum.

I’ve witnessed several transitions from Waterfall to Agile that didn’t require significant changes in tooling, but rather in people’s minds.