Born out of the Agile Manifesto, the Agile approach to software development empowers teams to build products faster, speed up their time to market, and produce less waste doing it. In fact, 98% of businesses that have adopted Agile methodologies have reported that it has benefitted their operations and 60% of users have yielded higher profits because of it.
In our previous blog on Agile software development, we discussed the origins of the approach, its improvements over the outdated waterfall methodology, and its successes for enterprise teams. Now, let’s discuss some of the software development frameworks that have grown out of the Agile methodology. From Scrum and Kanban to Lean and Extreme Programming, these strategies are helping Agile teams build the next generation of digital tools — and reduce costs and time to market while doing it.
One of the most popular frameworks in the software development community, scrum excels at developing complex applications and products. While scrum can be difficult to master, it allows teams to work at a high velocity while prioritizing value-laden opportunities for clients.
- Team members have designated roles and complete frequent sprints
- Artifacts encourage feedback loops that integrate key changes
- Tasks are prioritized before being scheduled for development
- Stakeholders weed out risky or low-value product components
With its roots in the Toyota Product System, kanban focuses on visualizing tasks to provide complete workflow visibility. Kanban prizes a continuous delivery flow and reducing the time it takes to deliver user stories.
- Team members don’t have strictly defined roles outside of normal workflows
- Workflow, tasks, and priorities are constantly added and could change at any moment
- A “pull system” focusing on customer demand rather than pushing goods to market
Lean Software Development
Like kanban, lean is also inspired by Toyota’s manufacturing principles. This methodology — also known as the Minimal Viable Product strategy, or MVP — aims to eliminate wasted resources by maximizing product value and soliciting user feedback.
- Teams release stripped-down software, then add features based on user feedback
- Focuses on reducing waste through value-stream mapping and system-level workflows
- Utilizes value stream mapping to map out processes and workflows at a system-level
Similar to Lean, Extreme Programming (XP) aims for manageable, iterative releases that enable ongoing feedback. The XP framework is built on five key values, including communication, simplicity, feedback, courage, and respect.
- Team members should perform their key functions as best they can — to the “extreme”
- Features pair programming, continuous integration, and incremental design
- Works best with colocated teams for maximum collaboration
- Focuses on customer satisfaction, simplicity, and quality
Crystal, DSDM, and FDD
While scrum, kanban, lean, and XP are the most popular Agile methodologies, they’re not the only ones that teams follow. The following frameworks have also proven helpful for teams looking to improve time to market and reduce operational waste:
- Crystal focuses on interactions between individuals. More of an “approach” than a framework, crystal develops unique workflows and processes for each project depending on team member skills and responsibilities.
- Dynamic System Development Method (DSDM) focuses on the full project lifecycle. Its core philosophy aims to align all projects to clearly defined strategic goals to deliver real benefits to the business.
- Feature-Driven Development (FFD) was initially created to support larger team sizes and to help them become more agile. It starts with establishing a full model, building a feature list, and then planning, designing, and building by those features.
The Importance of Agile Development
While these frameworks are popular, every organization that adopts the Agile mindset should do so in a way that fits its unique needs. Rather than a strict roadmap for product development, Agile is a set of principles that should empower teams to communicate more substantively, build more quickly, and adapt to change more strategically than bureaucratic alternatives.
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