Of course, the Agile methodology existed long before the Agile manifesto. You can see glimpses of the Agile framework in innovations such as Henry Ford’s assembly line, the invention of the internet, or even, the recent rise in popularity of “citizen scientists.”
What this means is that Agile principles can be applied to any number of developmental models. Let’s look at two areas in particular where teams have taken Agile methodologies and run with them:
Agile scrum is a framework designed specifically for keeping complex product development and project management on track. Primarily used for agile software development, but applicable to any activity requiring teamwork, the scrum framework guides cross-functional teams to communicate, hold each other accountable, and iterate to deliver results.
Like a Rugby team (where scrum gets its name) trying to take possession of the ball, scrum encourages teams to work together and learn from their experiences to improve. Essentially, it is a set of tools, resources, and well-defined roles that help teams manage their work.
The Agile scrum framework is structured around roles, events, and artifacts.
- Product owner
- Scrum master
- Scrum development team
- Daily scrum
- Sprint planning
- Sprint review
- Sprint retrospective
- Product backlog
- Sprint backlog
As you can see, the Agile scrum process is very simple. You can think of the Scrum Master as the glue that holds the team together. A Scrum Master’s main job is to nurture an environment where teams can develop micro-alignment within Agile. The Product Owner looks over the Product backlog and orders the work to be done. The Scrum Development Team then turns part of that work into an Increment of value (or goal) during a Sprint planning session (e.g., in two weeks, we will complete the build out of the onboarding application). The scrum team and its stakeholders then analyze the results and make any adjustments for the next Sprint. And they iterate the process until the project is complete.
Scrum teams use tools like Mural for product teams to map out Sprints, plan individualized goals, and help team members visualize the big picture.
Another popular Agile framework is Kanban. Similar to Scrum, Kanban is a model designed to help teams work more effectively together. Whereas short, structured work timeframes (i.e., Sprints) and well-defined roles are the heart and soul of Scrum, Kanban offers a more fluid and continuous workflow.
Kanban is all about helping teams visualize their work and maximizing efficiency. Kanban teams aim to reduce the time it takes to complete a project and they do this by constantly considering how to improve their flow of work. Using Kanban boards, teams create their own columns to organize how projects flow through the necessary stages.
A marketing team might, for example, take a blog article from Backlog, to Prioritized, to Outlines Ready, to Drafting, to Editing, to Designing, to Published. Looking at their Kanban board, the team can then determine that it takes one week to create a piece of content and determine where they can eliminate bottlenecks to become more efficient.