I’ve heard others debate this and thought it was all to philosophical of a debate with no purpose. However, after receiving this question from so many people completely new to Agile, I’ve decided to address here. So is it the Agile Methodology or Agile Framework?
First, let’s consider what a “methodology” is and then see if Agile fits the definition. A Methodology is a system of methods used in a particular area of study or activity. At first this may seem to fit. But consider, the various flavors of Agile such as Scrum, Kanban, and Extreme Programming each utilize different methods that are not used uniformly. Furthermore, a methodology would combine of prescriptive practices or structured processes but Agile is really principle-driven not rule-driven.
So does that make Agile a framework? Well, a framework is model that guides you to understand which artifacts you should produce when. It is really more of skeleton on which you can build. So again we can look at the flavors of Agile for help. Scrum is a framework, Kanban is a framework but Agile is broader and less structured.
Agile is actually an approach or philosophy. Within the Agile approach are several frameworks such as Scrum that an organization can build specific set of processes around. This results in a corporate methodology based on Agile principles.
Ultimately, companies can see improved productivity by adapting agile principles even without committing to a specific framework or rolling out a defined methodology. Results can come just by being more agile.