For the last year, Agile continues staying as a “hot trend” that gathering pace and we can already easily talk about Agile that is implemented not only in a software development, but in all departments of absolutely different companies that follow the latest progress and resources to be on top; that’s why today’s article will be dedicated to the hottest and top agile methodologies that you can use for many occasions.
Agile methodology implies an iterated and cumulative method of management. It focuses on helping teams in an evolving landscape and maintaining a focus on the rapid delivery of business value. As an example of frameworks used in Agile project management could be named Scrum, XP, Kanban and others; all follow the Agile Manifesto that is based on continuous improvement, flexibility, input of the team, and the delivery of results with high quality.
Actually, It’s important to underline what are the key benefits, characteristics of each of these top methodologies and highlight the reasons why Agile makes companies successful:
- Be first, Be innovative;
- Faster ROI;
- Lower risk;
- A strength to quickly respond to changes;
- Involves your customers;
- Motivates the Team;
And now, let’s take a look at the most popular Agile methodologies for Project Management: Scrum, Extreme Programming (XP) and Kanban.
Three top agile methodologies to work with
Scrum, as one of the top agile methodologies, is used to work on complex projeсts and is focused on the faster delivery of high-quality software. We use At Apiumhub, we are Scrum’s very active users. By using it on a daily basis, it helps us to manage every single project and break each complex initiative into feasible small tasks divided between each of the team’s member.
Basically, we use the main principles of Scrum: 2 weeks sprints that start with a sprint planning meeting and has its sprint backlog; while this process team has to choose items that will be worked on and how it will be done. Once the sprint has started, there will be daily stand-up meetings to inform about the progress of the project, short user stories; tasks, retrospective and public “to-do” lists.
Usually, there should be a Scrum master, that manage and control the process. He has to be sure that team is on its right way to reach the goal. In the end of an each sprint, team goes through a sprint review and retrospective.
The next framework used in agile is Kanban. It helps teams work more efficiently together. Mainly, it is the main tool to organise tasks and a team. First of all, it helps to see your daily workload. By working on small tasks, it gives you a wonderful feeling of putting each task to a section “done”. Moreover, Kanban is perfect in measuring the efficiency of every employee and a team overall.
The framework is based on three basic principles: to visualize what you plan to do today (workflow), to limit the number of tasks in progress for balance the flow-based approach & not to forget to enhance flow. Let’s shortly take a look at each principle.
The fundamental concept of Kanban is prioritising the tasks. However, the planning is quite flexible here and team members can regularly change the work in progress without having an impact on the rest of the team. What is important here is that each team member can have only 1 task in the process, no more.
Use Kanban board to visualise what has to be done by ‘visual cards’. The board has columns that represent the different “status” of a task and every user story, every task has to pass through different stages. For example, going from to do, to “ in progress”, to testing, and finally to the released, done column.
Once a task is in “done” column, we move the next prioritized item from the backlog ( to do) into the work in progress. In Kanban retrospectives are always needed after each project, sprint to constantly improve the workflow and efficiency of the team.
Kanban board could look anyway, hand-made on walls or even windows, or online like Trello, for example. It is one of the most common tools representing Kanban concepts, at Apiumhub, we use if for different departments and cases.
Extreme Programming (XP)
The third top agile framework I would like to underline in the article is Extreme Programming (XP), another agile project management methodology, a framework which is set to improve software quality and responsiveness to changing customer requirements. Another advantage of XP is in simplifying and speeding up the process of developing new software, so the product would be launched promptly with a solid MVP.
The essential part of XP is planning and it covers four basic phases in XP life cycle: designing, coding, testing and listening.
XP is very known for working with CI and TDD, Unit testing. XP’s objective is that code should be written by pairs of programmers, forcing the main programmer to describe the code to the other programmer and perhaps to stimulate further ideas. Normally XP is for teams between 2 and 12, however larger teams of 30 people have achieved the success as well.
Extreme programming stands for simply starting, building something real that works in its limited way, and then fit it into a design structure that is built for further code building.
I believe that all the three top agile methodologies that were covered in the article are great to use for your next project. Even though, I would like to notice that Extreme Programming framework is more for software development projects thanks to Pair Programming and TDD – main activities differentiating this methodology from other ones and proving to give excellent results in software architecture and software development.
As for Scrum & Kanban, they can be used both as in Software development projects as in any other industry (Marketing, HR or Design). Here it’s just the time for your initial goals, preferences and deadlines. For example, Scrum is used when teams work with third parties and have tight deadlines or when they work on external projects for someone else, while Kanban is more for the internal teams & organisation. Talking about Apiumhub, we work with every of these 3 top agile methodologies, depending on strategies, objectives, projects and needs.