Agile methods have a lot to offer businesses. They are often associated with software development can also benefit any large or complex project. Scrum is the leading choice of framework to implement Agility – but there are others.
Agile techniques introduce a lean and adaptive way of managing any project or product development. They developed as an alternative to traditional project management, focusing on flexibility, changing requirements, and faster usable results. This can help companies increase efficiency and lower costs.
There are several different frameworks available to implement Agile techniques. These all remain true to Agile principles and techniques, but each one can suit different types of projects. The following are some of the main methods and frameworks used today.
Scrum – the leading framework
Scrum is the most popular and flexible framework for implementing agile techniques and has been in use for over 25 years. Scrum is a well-defined framework with a standard approach and common terminology that are familiar to many people. Extensive online scrum training is available for those new to the framework, as well as for more experienced practitioners.
Scrum breaks a project up into a series of development cycles, known as Sprints. Each Sprint should produce a usable product or result, and there is then evaluation before beginning the next iteration. A Product Owner role ensures stakeholder communication and increased product value. Regular daily meetings, or Scrums, keep all team members engaged, and ensure problems are solved quickly.
The framework is used across many industries, not just in software development. It is also popular in financial services, where financial product development, business or regulatory projects can all benefit from its approach.
The Kanban framework is another popular agile implementation. The name comes from the Japanese word for signboard and is a highly visual approach. It uses a simple but effective process with a strong focus on transparency. Projects are broken down into different increments, and a board and cards are used to track work performed in each area.
Kanban has its origins in manufacturing processes but has been adopted in software development and elsewhere since.
Extreme Programming is a software development framework with a strong focus on customer requirements and satisfaction. Like Scrum, it introduces an iterative approach to product development.
From the start, results are tested and improved through customer feedback. The framework is designed to expect and allow changing customer requests, even during the late stages of development. The short development cycles and constant interaction keep the team engaged and focused, in an often high-energy development environment.
Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM)
DSDM is another flexible and popular framework, first developed in the 1990s to address the need for fast software delivery. It also uses an iterative-based approach, with the core belief that project modifications are to be expected.
It focuses strongly on timely delivery. Timeboxing techniques are used to break a project into portions with fixed budgets and delivery dates. Requirement changes are permitted, but time, budget, and quality are the key factors.
Crystal is a series of related frameworks developed in the mid-1990s, with a lighter and less formal approach than other frameworks. They avoid strict and rigid processes and instead focus on team members, skills, talents, and communication. It specifies an iterative approach to development, but the specific tools and techniques used are project dependant.
There are different Crystal frameworks for different sizes and types of teams. Each defines specific roles and methods of working and communication. Its focus on a project’s people makes it unique amongst the different frameworks and a good choice for companies wanting to emphasize team collaboration over formalized methods or reporting.