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How To Choose a Suitable Agile Methodology for Your Next Project

Since there are so many different agile methodologies, it's not easy to decide which one is best both for the project and the team. Because of that we’ve reviewed the most important ones below. 
Daniel Zacharias

Matt Van Veenendal

September 7, 2022
agile methodologies

Agile methodology is a project management framework representing various project management approaches mainly used in software development. Requirements and solutions are defined through the collaborative work of self-organized and cross-functional teams and their users. 

The Agile framework is an iterative methodology. Projects are divided into various dynamic phases, called sprints.  After the end of each sprint, teams straightaway reflect on the past work trying to find room for improvement in the next sprint. The strategy is constantly updated and adjusted to the current needs of the project and the teams.

Agile’s application has been extended to marketing, finance, sales, and other departments.

Why companies decide on Agile methodology?

Agile methods are adaptable, meaning that strategies can be changed quickly if needed without disrupting the project’s flow.

Agile fosters teamwork meaning that team members will communicate daily (either in person or online). Communication across teams is also encouraged in agile.

Agile methods focus on customer needs meaning that teams get constant feedback from customers, which they use for prioritizing features and overall improvement.

There are already more than 50 agile approaches, frameworks, and methods, nevertheless Agile hasn’t stopped developing and growing. Since there are so many different agile methodologies, it’s not easy to decide which one is best both for the project and the team. Because of that we’ve reviewed the most important ones below. 

AGILE SCRUM METHODOLOGY

Scrum is an Agile framework created to help teams cooperate and execute high-impact work. The Scrum framework delivers a blueprint of values, roles, and guidelines to help the team concentrate on iteration and ongoing improvement.

Scrum is typically run in sprints, usually two-week-long working sessions with precise deliverables expected at the end. 

There are two additional Scrum events: 

The first one is the daily standups, which happen once a day, and that are an opportunity for the Scrum team to unite for 15 minutes and coordinate daily tasks. 

Meanwhile, the second event, the sprint retrospective, happens after the end of each sprint. During the sprint retrospective, the Scrum Master leads the team in reflecting on the sprint and in making necessary adjustments for future sprints.

Scrum framework relies on a strategy of ongoing improvement. It is recognized in Scrum that some information might be missing at the start of a sprint, and the processes and requirements can later be adjusted as needed based on the knowledge you gain during the sprint process.

KANBAN

Kanban is a visual method famous among Lean teams. It was created to help teams manage workflows by providing them with a kanban board, allowing them to see where specific tasks are in the development process.

Cards on a board represent tasks, and columns represent stages. As the work of the team members progresses, at this point cards are moved from the backlog column to the current stage of the task column. This approach is helpful for teams to identify roadblocks and visualize how much work is getting done. 

Kanban is a concise yet practical method for developing software products. It started as the card system with a visual used during Toyota manufacturing to control production. Therefore, the word Kanban translates to “visual signals” in Japanese. 

It focuses on the continual delivery of the product but without causing stress to the entire software development life cycle. The goal is lead time reduction, achieved by optimizing the workflow and limiting the quantity of work in progress. Consequently, Kanban is favored by many types of agile development teams as well as product and project teams.

LEAN SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT (LSD)

Lean software development encourages a minimalist method, eliminating waste and ensuring quality and quick delivery. Many growing teams rely on Lean practices to help them increase functionality faster.

In the original Lean manufacturing model, a bottleneck might be resolved by establishing routine preventative maintenance for a piece of equipment. In Lean software development, the bottleneck will likely involve task management and hand-offs between teams. The development team completes 10 new features, but your quality assurance (QA) team can only review two. A lean approach will help you spot bottlenecks and adjust workloads and team capacity accordingly.

In software development, in general, this could look like team members spotting a bug and pausing deployment to fix the code without getting approval from a manager.

EXTREME PROGRAMMING (XP)

Extreme programming (XP) is all about teamwork and transparency. It is based on five simple values: uniformity, simplicity, communication, feedback, and endurance. Basically, XP is concentrated on regular advancement and precise development cycles. In addition, it implements code review, pair programming, and regular communication with customers.

Generally used with Scrum, it can focus on how Agile can increase customer satisfaction. Instead of delivering the full product as the customer would usually ask the development team to do, XP provides all of them with what they demand at that specific moment.

Extreme Programming emphasizes the specific components of developing software, including high-quality code. It chiefly unites the most crucial of the tools, practices and principles, providing Agile team members with different assets to improve the engineering process. It consists of strategies that are used in software engineering for efficiency enhancement and adaptability to changing demands.

CRYSTAL

The Crystal Agile methodology mainly concentrates on the interactions of the people involved in a project instead of the tools and techniques of development. A lightweight model, Crystal emphasizes interaction, people, community, skills, communications, and talents.

Crystal feels like it’s a natural way of doing things, making it very flexible and easy to use. It also categorizes projects based on team size, system criticality, and priorities. 

Depending on the length and importance of projects, different teams work separately. Smaller teams tend to be collaborative and more autonomous, and larger teams need a high level of communication organization to ensure everybody works with one another. 

There are seven essential principles in Crystal Agile methodology:

  1. Regular and frequent delivery
  2. Advancement in reflection
  3. Osmotic communication
  4. Personal security
  5. Focus on work
  6. Access to specialists on the matter and users
  7. Utilization of the technical setting

As in other Agile methodologies, it focuses on early delivery of software, high involvement of users, and removal of red tape. Crystal, one of the most flexible Agile methodologies, also asserts that every project is unique.

Crystal concentrates on customization, so it empowers agile teams to define the most helpful way of cooperating. It’s based on details such as the number of team members and the specific type of project on which they work. As a developer, you have the freedom not only to modify processes but also to optimize workflows to suit your needs.

DYNAMIC SYSTEMS DEVELOPMENT MODEL (DSDM)

DSDM provides a broad, outlined work frame that helps plan, manage, implement, and scale the entire cycle of developing software. It runs on a business-driven strategy and doesn’t negotiate on quality and punctuality. 

The framework includes feasibility and business studies, prototype iteration and operating model, design and development iteration, and deployment. DSDM has a more strict form and foundation than other Agile methods. 

There are four main phases of DSDM: 

  1. feasibility and business study
  2. operating mode or prototype iteration
  3. design and build iteration
  4. implementation

DSDM works on 8 principles that guide the team and build a mindset for delivering a product on time and under budget:

  1. To converge on the business requirement
  2. Deliver on time
  3. Collaborate
  4. Never compromise on quality
  5. Create incrementally from firm associations
  6. Expand iteratively
  7. Communicate frequently and clearly 
  8. Manifest control

Dynamic systems development methodology (DSDM) combines the principles of time-boxing and collaboration, emphasizing goals and business impact. It lays out distinct phases for tackling projects, from evaluating feasibility to creating prototypes to implementation. Because of this larger organizations and governments typically select DSDM with the budget to cover overhead and implementation.

FEATURE-DRIVEN DEVELOPMENT (FDD)

FDD represents an iterative and accumulative development process. A lightweight, agile methodology for developing software, it mixes various industry-established best practices into a whole. These practices are encouraged through a feature-first perspective that aims to create value for the client. 

However, the primary purpose lies in delivering stable, working software frequently on time. The five core activities under FDD involve:

  1. Designing an entire model
  2. Making features lists
  3. Designing
  4. Developing 
  5. Building through features

FDD is a constructive, arranged, centered method for the entire software workflow management and a reliable choice for software-focused teams and organizations.

Feature-driven development (FDD) approximates a customer-centric view of software development. It prioritizes user stories, helping teams deliver more features that customers desire. As a result, work advances fast. Developers commonly produce individual features in two weeks. FDD can be helpful for businesses with a more strict or hierarchical system, where lead developers make decisions impacting the rest of the team.

HYBRID

Blending the traditional Waterfall method with Agile is known as Hybrid.

Nearly one-third of organizations found out that applying the strategies from both could be more practical than choosing one or the other. 

Waterfall and Agile are two separate viewpoints of managing software development. Agile is concentrated on the idea of rapid development, flexibility, and adaptability. At the same time, the Waterfall enables development in steps, which requires planning and is against making adjustments during the process.

Experts use the advantages associated with the Agile software development method. In terms of planning, evaluating, and structuring hardware, Waterfall functions well. However, when you incorporate Agile techniques into a conventional Waterfall workflow, businesses can improve the chances of executing successful projects.

RAPID APPLICATION DEVELOPMENT (RAD)

Rapid Application Development (RAD) is a model that prioritizes rapid prototyping and quick feedback over long, drawn-out development and testing cycles. 

RAD is perfect for highly experienced teams that need to develop a product fast (within a few months) and can collaborate with customers throughout the process.

One of the meaningful benefits of rapid application development is that you can modify the layout, add functionality, and keep reiterating as often as possible without starting from scratch each time.

With rapid application development, developers can make multiple iterations and updates to software quickly without starting from scratch each time. This in fact helps ensure that the outcome is more quality-focused and aligns with the end-users’ requirements.

Conclusion

Agile is a mindset that aids more rapid, more lightweight, and more efficient development processes. The process delivers creations and services that customers look for, and the product development process is therefore faster in response to changes.

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