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Agile - A Foreign Language Continued

Does agile feel like a foreign language? In our last blog, we focused specifically on "Scrum"

Today we will take a look at several other agile delivery approaches along with terminology to help you become more familiar with this strange world.

Let's start with other delivery mechanisms that you may come across at various organizations. Kanban is pretty popular and fits well in combination with other approaches. Often, teams that focus on "tickets", defect fixes, a system team, etc use Kanban as their chosen flow for delivery. In my opinion, Kanban may be more difficult for successful delivery versus Scrum - but we will save that topic for another time. Straight Kanban typically does not have the roles familiar in other frameworks, and also does not have time boundaries. It is a continuously prioritized backlog that a self-organized team works to deliver as efficiently and effectively as possible. There are various metrics to assess how a Kanban team is doing, the two primary one's being throughput and cycle time. We will talk about metrics in a future blog post.

Another approach, although less popular but effective, is Extreme Programming also known as "XP". Early adopters of agile typically used XP as their platform. The most notable items from XP that organizations use today and that other frameworks adopted are the daily standup (DSU) and "pair programming". There are 12 practices associated with XP. Two of the most used today are refactoring and continuous integration. For more information:

The final approach I wish to bring to your attention is Lean. While 'Lean' is not an agile development approach or framework, the lean principles are what drives agile. There is a strong connection between Agile and Lean. Some examples are: 1) Short continuous feedback loops in agile are powered by Lean's principle of eliminate waste 2) Continuous integration and frequent reviews in agile are empowered by the Lean principle of "Build Quality In".

A few others you may hear or come across are Crystal, "ScrumBan" - which is a combination of Scrum and Kanban but not really an "official" agile methodology, Design Thinking, and DevOps. We will cover DevOps in a future blog as this warrants a topic all on its own. I personally am not aware of anyone using Crystal, but wanted you to be aware of some others that are talked about. Crystal is built on two core values:

  • Teams can find ways on their own to improve and optimize their workflows

  • Every project is unique and always changing, which is why that project’s team is best suited to determine how it will tackle the work

Design thinking, to me, is really a concept that is integrated into agile development and delivery and typically is not one by itself.

Most importantly, Agile is a mindset. Teams deliver software and products in a manner that allows for short, continuous, feedback, improved quality, continuous integration, and more. However, it is important for everyone to have an agile mindset to be successful - think about the agile manifesto and agile principles while delivering a product for your customer.

Next up: Scaled Agile. Until then - "Sprint Ahead"

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