Incorporating the Agile methodology into your everyday work routine can create more effective and efficient teams and help you get your work done faster, but you might not even be aware of what Agile has to offer. In this article, we’ll explore the three main forms of Agile methodology, and why they can be useful to your team.
The Three Main Forms of Agile
Scrum is recommended for Agile teams that are creative and enjoy being together in a dynamic, engaging environment.
Roles Within Scrum
Within a Scrum, there are generally three different roles:
- Scrum Master
The Scrum Master is someone who takes on the role of team lead — but unlike a normal leader or manager, the Scrum Master encourages and guides the team without strictly giving specific orders. They are there to make sure everything runs smoothly and to keep the team motivated during their sprints.
- Initiative Owner (or Product Owner)
This role is essential to keeping the business side of things running smoothly for the entire team. They represent the Agile team during meetings with clients and stakeholders, and they continuously strive to grow the business.
- Development Team
Finally, there is the multiple-person role of the Development Team. This small-medium sized team is made up of skilled individuals who excel both in their own discipline as well as others, and they can work easily with a group of people. They are the ones that do the bulk of the work during the sprint to produce the desired product. The Development Team’s most signifying quality is that they are self-organizing.
The Scrum Cycle
Scrum is a process, not just an idea to get you started. Within Scrum, there is typically a cycle of five different actions that you will repeat to get your team the ideal results. The steps (which sometimes vary) include Sprint planning, the Sprint, Daily meeting, Sprint Review, and finally the Sprint Retrospective.
- The first action is Sprint Planning. Before you can begin a Sprint, it should be somewhat planned out so that the entire team is on the same page.
- Next comes the Sprint. This is a set period of time (that the team decides on) where work gets done and the product (hopefully) moves towards completion.
- During the Sprint, teams are encouraged to hold Daily Stand-Up Meetings. This is a brief meeting, (with the entire team) to touch base and see if any unexpected issues have come up. If there are issues, the team (along with the Scrum Master) can decide how to fix these issues to keep the Sprint moving in a positive direction.
- Nearing the end of the Sprint is the Sprint Review. This is a meeting where everyone involved in the Scrum comes together to see what the team completed during the Sprint. Presenting what has been done to further the product is the most important aspect of the Sprint Review. The Product Owner needs the Sprint Review to know how to take the project to the next level, and the team needs it so they know what to anticipate in the next Sprint.
- Lastly, there is the Sprint Retrospective. The Retrospective differs from the Review because it’s a reflection of the entirety of the Sprint (including the review) that just finished. It gives everyone involved an opportunity to look back in order to understand what they did well, what may need some improvement, and what needs to be eliminated from their process.
The Three Artifacts (Deliverables)
For Scrum to be successful, three main Artifacts (or Deliverables) need to come out of it.
- The first is Product Backlog, which is a list that describes the product features (both current and those that are in progress). It’s usually the priority of the Product Owner to monitor this and update it.
- Sprint Backlog is second. To put it simply, this is a list of things that the team wants to get accomplished during the Sprint. This is most often decided during the Sprint Planning stage, and the team can alter it as the process goes along.
- The third Artifact of Scrum is the Product Increment. This is a tangible version of the product that is finished enough to be shown.
2. Lean Development
Lean Development can be summed up in one simple term: eliminate waste.
The ultimate goal of Lean Development is to cut out any part of a process that isn’t needed in order to get the work done. It’s not just about the current work but also looking ahead to anticipate future unnecessary work. Overall, it’s a proactive way of working in the Agile methodology framework.
As opposed to Scrum, Lean strives to be a more open-concept format with no specific roles or cycles, making it a more suitable format for those that want to work at their own pace and have flexibility.
Two people who incorporated Lean Development ideology into a business mindset are Mary and Tom Poppendieck (Source). Their principles have been widely circulated in relation to the Lean process, especially in blogs related to Lean and Agile (Source). These principles vary depending on the source and who is using them, but usually include:
- Eliminating Waste: Just as previously stated, Lean is utilized heavily to focus on the elimination of anything that doesn’t add to the work being completed.
- Deliver Work Quickly: According to Lean, getting work done faster will result in things moving faster overall. But this doesn’t mean just work on everything all at once — perform a few tasks quickly as to not overwhelm your workload.
- Deliver Late: No, this isn’t like handing your work in after deadline — that would just result in progress getting pushed back. Instead, it’s about taking time and using as many resources as possible before you hand in completed work. This will ensure quality in what you are doing.
- Build Quality In: Make sure issues and defects are caught early. Work to make things better as you go, instead of leaving problems until the last minute. Build the quality right away as you are working — because if you have to revise something when it’s all said and done, it can be frustrating.
- Optimize the Whole: Look at the big picture, not just small increments. Bring every part of the process together instead of separating and dividing.
- Learning and Knowledge: Encourage continual learning during the entire Agile process to ensure that your team is constantly gaining new and valuable knowledge.
- Encourage/Energize People: Make your team feel welcome, encouraged and excited to get their work done. This is always important for any Agile team to keep in mind.
These Lean principles have shifted and adapted over time, but they are the basic foundation for an Agile team to follow in order to stick to a Lean Development method.
Similar to Lean Development, Kanban is all about visualization and being able to anticipate what will be involved in the work process. There are no specific roles or artifacts, and its focus is to “limit the work in process at each development stage” (Source).
Both Kanban and Lean Development are ongoing processes that adapt as the work goes on, whereas Scrum has a set time process that has a beginning and end date (until a new process starts).
Along with limiting the amount of work, Kanban is also great for teams to prioritize what they are working on at any given time. This can be done using a physical or digital Kanban Board where teams can post ideas and visual aids to help improve workflow and productivity. It allows a team to visually understand what they are working on, what needs to be improved, and what will be the next priority after their current tasks.
Work cycles in Kanban are more flexible, and visualizing enables teams to continually enhance the way they work over time. Kanban is also great for teams who don’t want to change their current work styles and would like to be able to adapt easily to an Agile process.
How Stormboard can help you with Scrum, Lean Development, and Kanban
With hundreds of available templates, Stormboard has something for every form of Agile methodology that will suit the specific work style of your team.
When looking for a compatible template to the form of Agile methodology you are interested in, create a new Storm, and click on ‘Choose a Template’.
From there, type your desired keyword into the search bar. For example, typing in ‘Scrum’ will provide various template options such as ‘Daily Standup’ (see image below). If you want something basic, our original template is perfect for those using Scrum.
Some of our templates even incorporate multiple Agile forms into one, such as the ‘Agile Scrum Kanban’, and the ‘Scrum to Lean Kanban’. These let you apply different facets of the Agile methodology into your workplace, which is especially helpful for teams who work in varying styles.
Using Stormboard with your Agile teams will help you standardize your business process and allow you to keep track of and share information with your team members that work remotely. You can also use our powerful reporting options to create meeting minutes, presentations, and reports in seconds.
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No matter which form of Agile you decide is your best fit, Stormboard makes it easy for your team to make the most out of visual planning. Sign up for a free trial today!