ITIL vs Scrum

by Avinash V

ITIL and Scrum are different frameworks used in the IT industry, each serving distinct purposes. ITIL is a comprehensive set of best practices for ITSM, while Scrum is an agile project management framework primarily used for software development.

ITIL vs Scrum

Let's compare ITIL and Scrum to understand their differences and unique characteristics.

Focus and Purpose

  • ITIL: ITIL primarily focuses on IT service management and delivering high-quality IT services that align with business needs. It provides a structured approach for managing IT processes and services throughout their lifecycle to ensure efficient and effective service delivery and continual improvement.
  • Scrum: Scrum, on the other hand, is a project management framework designed to enhance the development of complex products. It emphasizes iterative and incremental development, enabling teams to respond quickly to changing requirements and deliver valuable software features in short cycles called "sprints."


ITIL: ITIL is a process-based methodology. It comprises processes, functions, and roles guiding IT service management. It defines processes like Incident Management, Problem Management, Change Management, etc., each with specific objectives and activities.

Scrum: Scrum is an agile methodology that follows the principles outlined in the Agile Manifesto. It values customer collaboration, frequently responding to change, and delivering working software. Scrum teams work in short iterations, usually 2 to 4 weeks long, to produce a potentially shippable product increment.

Use Case

ITIL: ITIL is best suited for organizations relying heavily on IT services to support their business operations. It helps organizations improve service quality, manage incidents, reduce downtime, and align IT services with business goals.

Scrum: Scrum is ideal for software development projects or complex projects requiring frequent feedback and adaptation. It works well in environments with rapidly changing requirements and where a flexible and collaborative approach is crucial.

Roles and Responsibilities

ITIL: ITIL defines various roles, such as Service Desk Analysts, Incident Managers, Problem Managers, Service Level Managers, and more. Each role has specific responsibilities within the IT service management processes.

Scrum: Scrum has three primary roles: Product Owner, Scrum Master, and Development Team. The Product Owner is responsible for defining and prioritizing the product backlog, the Scrum Master facilitates the Scrum process. He removes impediments, and the Development Team delivers the product increment.


ITIL: ITIL places a significant emphasis on documentation. Processes and procedures are well-documented, and there's a strong focus on maintaining a comprehensive knowledge base.

Scrum: Scrum documentation is lightweight compared to ITIL. The primary artefacts in Scrum include the Product Backlog (a list of features and requirements), the Sprint Backlog (selected items from the Product Backlog for a specific sprint), and the Increment (the working product at the end of a sprint).


ITIL: ITIL offers a certification program with different levels, starting from Foundation to Expert and Master levels. These certifications validate an individual's understanding and proficiency in ITIL practices.

Scrum: Scrum offers certifications, too, like Certified Scrum Master (CSM) and Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO), which validate a person's knowledge of Scrum principles and their ability to apply them effectively.