Introduction to Agile methodology
Back in 2001, when a community of developers that had grown tired of using a traditional heavy development method called “the waterfall model” decided to set out a manifesto: The Agile Manifesto. The important document had so much impact that it has worked as a bible for Agile development even until today, laying out all principles and good practices.
Whereas the Waterfall approach has one discipline contribute to the project, then "throw it over the wall" to the next contributor like betting everything on a "big bang" launch, agile calls for collaborative cross-functional teams. Requirements, plans, and results are evaluated continuously so teams have a natural mechanism for responding to change quickly.
5 popular Agile frameworks
There are countless frameworks that follow this Agile mindset. In this blog post, I would like to introduce five frameworks that represent Agile methodology. Speaking of which, the phrase "Agile project management" is not a singular framework — rather, it can be used as an umbrella term to include many different frameworks.
Scrum is, undoubtedly, the most used of the many frameworks underpinning Agile methodology. Scrum is used by separating the development process into cycles or phases, known as "sprints". In Scrum, a team includes ten or fewer members sharing the work toward goals to be achieved during each sprint. The duration for each “sprint” lasts no more than a month, the most common being two weeks.
Every day starts with a small event called "Daily Scrum" 15-minute meeting, which takes the role of synchronizing activities and finding the best way to plan out the working day, and allows for a check on sprint “health” and product progress.
A type of Agile framework that has originated from the Japanese language, the word ‘Kanban’ means a signboard or a visual board. The Kanban concept is linked to the concept of “just in time”. The Kanban framework uses visual elements illustrated throughout the Kanban Board for managing & developing projects.
The Kanban Board is divided into multiple columns to properly depict the process flow for the development of software. Such a process helps in enhancing the visibility among the team members because each team member can see what is happening and what isn't so that they prepare themselves for the upcoming task for the final delivery of the product. This means it requires thorough transparency as well as the interaction between the team members to know exactly what stage development is at and can see the status of a project at any time. It primarily focused on team capacity and is best for processes that undergo small changes.
3. Extreme Programming (XP)
XP is one of the foremost Agile frameworks out there, developed by Kent Beck, and can be adapted to development companies of various dimensions.
This approach emphasizes values such as Communication, Simplicity, Feedback, Courage, and Respect. Moreover, it prioritizes customer satisfaction over everything else; therefore, XP motivates software developers to accept customer-required change, even at very late stages of development.
Teamwork is extremely important in XP, since, when there is a problem, it is solved by the whole team of managers, developers or customers, bringing them together to promote conversation and engagement and break down barriers to communication. They all become essential pieces of the same puzzle, creating a fertile environment for high productivity and efficiency within teams. In Extreme Programming, the software is tested from day one, collecting feedback to improve development. XP promotes activities such as pair programming, and with a strong testing component, it’s an excellent engineering methodology.
4. Lean Development
Most people out there tend to mistake Lean with Agile (and vice versa), but it should be known that Lean is one of the many Agile framework types. Lean is an abbreviation for Lean Manufacturing, created by Toyota, and applied to software development. This method offers a conceptual framework and follows values, principles, and good development practices that can be applied to an Agile development approach.
As its name suggests, Lean development forces the team to ruthlessly remove any activity that does not bring ultimate value to the product. From there, developers can speed up the development of the project. The value of the product is maximized and the waste is minimized.
There are seven essential principles: eliminate waste, build quality in, create knowledge, defer commitment, deliver fast, respect people, optimize the whole.
Crystal is actually a group of variants and one of the most flexible frameworks, giving tremendous freedom to the team to develop their own processes.
· Crystal Clear (up to an 8-person team)
· Crystal Yellow (up to a 10 to 20-person team)
· Crystal Orange (up to a 20 to 50-person team)
· Crystal Red (for big teams with 50 to 1000 people)
It focuses on principles such as People, Interactions, Community, Skills, Talent, and Communication, aiming to deliver the best possible software development process. The core of this development process is interaction and symbiosis, which have to exist between the people allocated to the projects and processes in order to bring efficiency to the project.
Alistair Cockburn, its founder, said “Crystal is a family of software development methodologies, which works with the power invested by people, and is extremely light and stretch-to-fit”. Basically, Cockburn believes that talent and the way team members interact bring benefits to the whole project.