Once successfully implemented, Agile will provide teams and organisations with “the ability to create and respond to change in order to succeed in an uncertain and turbulent environment” (agilealliance.org).
However, with many different Agile methods available, each offering a slightly different focus and approach, it can at times be difficult to know which flavour is best suited to the unique needs of your team and/or organisation.
So, let’s take a look at some of the most popular approaches.
Created in 1993 by Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber, Scrum is widely considered to be the brightest star in the Agile galaxy – and is by far the most popular of all Agile approaches.
Centred around the Development Team, and ScrumMaster and Product Owner roles. Scrum was initially created for software product development but is now being used more and more across a whole range of business activities from business change to marketing to hardware and infrastructure.
Utilising Sprint cycles and incremental releases against an evolving Product Backlog, Scrum transforms the way complex projects are delivered and produces more effective results, much faster.
“The Scrum framework itself organises work into short iterative Sprint cycles of no more than one month each. Each Sprint should have an agreed Sprint Goal to create an Increment of functionality to production quality, so that it could, if desired, be released.” The Scrum Alliance
While the term Kanban is often used as a general reference to the large visible boards and wall charts utilised by Agile Teams – it is also an increasingly popular Agile method in its own right.
The Kanban methodology is neither a management framework nor a development process. Unlike Scrum, it mandates no dramatically new ways of working. Instead it implements a ‘pull system’ of managing work that drives gradual evolutionary change.
Rather than planning work to be done in advance, it places a limit on work-in-progress based on capacity – creating a continuous flow of delivery by focusing on a ‘Just in Time’ approach, where new work is picked from the queue only when another task is finished.
“Kanban is a method of organizing and managing professional services work. It uses Lean concepts such as limiting work in progress to improve results.” Lean Kanban University
SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework)
Building upon the use of Scrum, Extreme Programming and concepts from Lean Thinking and Kanban, SAFe is the most popular framework for enabling organisations to successfully scale Agile beyond the single team, up to enterprise level.
At the multi-team Program and Large Solution levels, SAFe helps Agile teams-of-teams coordinate through joint Planning sessions and Inspect and Adapt review cycles. It includes overall Product Management and Architectural functions to help agile teams stay aligned against an overall Product Roadmap, Backlog and Architectural Runway.
For the largest organisations with many large products, the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) also provides an approach for managing the portfolio pipeline of potential investments through a Lightweight Business Case process. Large Epic initiatives are assessed for strategic fit and return on investment through a lean, lightweight Kanban process so that they can be initiated quickly and a smooth flow of delivery can be maintained.
LeSS (Large-Scale Scrum)
Large-Scale Scrum (LeSS) is another scaling Agile framework – and a simpler alternative to SAFe.
The LeSS framework provides simple guidelines, rules and direction on how to apply Scrum with multiple teams working together on the same product.
The principles of Scrum are maintained intact (empiricism, empowerment, self-organisation and cross-functional team-workings etc.), with LeSS providing guidance on how to successfully extend proven Scrum practices such as Product Backlog Refinement, Sprint Planning, Reviews and Retrospectives into a multi-team environment, even for huge products where multiple Area Product Owners are required with an overall Product Owner as the ultimate authority.
“Large-Scale Scrum (LeSS) isn’t new and improved Scrum. And it’s not Scrum at the bottom for each team, and something different layered on top. Rather, it’s about figuring out how to apply the principles, purpose, elements, and elegance of Scrum in a large-scale context, as simply as possible.” LeSS
Agil8’s comprehensive suite of fully accredited training covers each of these Agile methods in detail.
To explore these approaches further, take a look at our training portfolio with a wide range of courses available as both tailored in-house courses, and on our public schedule – all delivered by highly experienced Agile practitioners.