Top Agile Methodologies and How They Work

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Agile is a methodology that has been used for over two decades. It was initially created to address the inherent complexities of developing large and complex projects in software development, but many other industries are now adopting it.

This post discusses the top agile methodologies and how they are implemented.

What are The Top Agile Methodologies?

This section discusses some of the most widely used agile methodologies.

Scrum 

This methodology is, without a doubt, the most commonly used Agile methodology globally. 

The methodology was initially designed to manage software production but has adapted to excellent effect in business management. 

Scrum is a framework for managing product development that involves cycles or phases known as sprints and optimizing product development time. Scrum addresses project management’s two vital points: speed and changing client requirements. 

It addresses the first point by dividing and executing the project in incremental phases known as sprints. 

Small teams of 5-6 members are created during a sprint whose efforts are geared towards achieving the desired results.

For every day of the sprint, there are small 15-minute meetings held before the workday begins. These meetings, known as the daily scrum, organize tasks and find the best way to plan the workday.

The Scrum methodology addresses possible changes to client requirements by allowing active client participation at each stage.

After the end of each iteration, any requested change(s) by the client are addressed immediately and acted upon. 

These measures ensure that the client’s demands are met and that the project is delivered timeously.

Kanban

This methodology is linked to a business practice known as “just-in-time” used in Toyota automobile plants to track production and order materials.

The Kanban methodology was developed by Taiichi Ohno, an engineer at Toyota, and it uses visual cues to trigger the action needed to keep a process flowing. Little wonder then that the word “Kanban” derives from the Japanese word meaning “Sign.”

The Kanban methodology is based on the principle that project execution teams can continuously deliver without getting overwhelmed.

This approach necessitates communication and transparency so that team members may always know where the project stands and view it at a moment’s notice.

In practice, the kanban method is implemented by divvying up every part of a project’s phases into columns presented on a table known as the Kanban board.

The information the table contains continually evolves in sync with the project’s execution. Thus, a new “card” is created when a new task comes into play.

The Kanban method ensures that the teams do not commit to more than they can accomplish in a day, that work in progress is displayed and evaluated each day, and that when a task is completed ahead of schedule, the next task in line is immediately taken up.

Teams that use this type of structure can plan activities daily and expect to see results every day.

Lean-Agile Process

The concept of Lean arose in Japan’s manufacturing industry in the 1950s when production processes were planned to minimize waste and expense.

To increase profits, manufacturers began using the concept to cut costs rather than relying only on higher sales. If a firm can reduce waste and become more efficient, it may save money, resulting in increased overall earnings.

In contrast to traditional waterfall project management, which requires a pre-determined plan by a project manager, lean agile aims to minimize all non-critical work that provides little or no returns.

It also helps guarantee that everyone working on a project or product development operates at peak efficiency.

Scrumban

Scrumban is a project management method that incorporates elements of Scrum and Kanban and was created as a technique to transition from Scrum to Kanban. This makes it easier for teams using Scrum to adopt Lean and Kanban approaches and get the best of both worlds.

In Scrumban, the collaboration is conducted in short cycles and managed with a visual board similar to Scrum and Kanban boards.

Teams working close frequently employ post-it notes or a large whiteboard to illustrate each process step, while decentralized teams use visual management software.

Planning meetings decide which User Stories should be completed in the next iteration. The User Stories are recorded on the board and completed by the team, working on only a few at once (work-in-progress, or WIP).

WIP limits are employed to keep iterations brief, and a planning trigger is set to signal when to plan next, i.e. when WIP falls below a certain threshold.

There are no defined positions in Scrumban; the team members continue to hold their current roles.

The Scrumban board has three columns: To-Do, Doing, and Done.

The activities are entered in the To-Do column at the meeting. When a team member is ready to work on an item, it is placed in the Doing column. And once they have finished it, it moves to the Done column.

The Scrumban board depicts the team’s progress visually.

The team’s work development is reflected in the task board columns, modified and expanded as required. The most popular extras include priority columns in the To-Do area and Design, Manufacturing, and Testing in the Doing section.

Spotify Model

The Spotify model is a people-driven, self-directed approach to scaling agile that emphasizes the value of culture and network.

It has aided Spotify, and other businesses enhance invention and output by concentrating on accountability, autonomy, quality, and communication.

Spotify’s approach to agile development was first expressed in 2012 when Henrik Kniberg and Anders Ivarsson released the whitepaper Scaling Agile at Spotify, detailing the easy method Spotify utilised to scale agile. 

Since then, the model has gathered a lot of steam and gained traction among agile transformation experts.

On the other hand, the process emphasises team autonomy and allows each group (or Squad) to choose their framework (e.g., Scrum, Kanban, Scrumban, etc.). Tribes and Guilds are established to assist people in staying aligned and sharing knowledge across teams.

At the core of the Spotify methodology lies an emphasis on less formal processes and ceremonies to enable organisations to be more adaptable to how Squads operate.

Instead of telling Squads that they must change how they operate (“you must do Kanban,” for example), this focuses on aligning them with one another and achieving team goals.

It also prioritizes self-management and creativity by trusting people to complete their work as they see fit.

Who can say this method has not worked? After all, it has helped Spotify become the most prominent music service globally.

However, note that adopting the Spotify model is not about changing names and calling teams “Tribes” or “Clans.” Instead, it’s about the connection between them and the organizational culture. To focus on nomenclature would amount to calling a fly a dragon —  that won’t make it spit fire.

Conclusion

Adopting an agile execution methodology is not as simple as going to a grocery store to select from a list of shopping items. It requires a critical understanding of how they work, how they are suited to the existing business practice and culture, and how one can be modified to suit the other.

The good news is that with Uppwise, you can be assured of a management tool that guides you every step of the way with whatever Agile methodology is best for your business.

Get in touch with us today to learn how we can partner and help your business become Agile.

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