Introduction to Agile Project Management Frameworks
Agile project management in today’s digital age continues to be a best choice for project managers across all industries. It is just not enough that deciding the agile project management, the way forward for project management but you also need to take a closer look at the different agile frameworks and then decide which one suits best for your project. Agile is an extensive concept which involves plenty of project management methodologies or frameworks.
In this article, we will have a look at two of the most common frameworks or methodologies used in the industry,
Agile Project Management Frameworks: Scrum & Kanban
A project management framework is a set of tools, techniques, templates, checklists, and processes that are used to organize and manage a project from the beginning to the end. Agile frameworks are all designed to provide you anything you need while performing each phase of your project’s life cycle.
One of the most popular and leading frameworks in the industry is called as Scrum Framework. The word “Scrum,” takes its origins from Scrummage and it became attached to project management came shortly after the profound and large-scale usage of it.
The scrum framework is used in most industry projects where the team heads together to solve adaptive complex problems.
There are only three roles present in the scrum framework. These roles are Scrum Master, the Product Owner, and the development team.
The Scrum Master is the facilitator, systems thinker, coach, and guide and reinforces the responsibility of the team members and eliminating impediments.
The Product owner is the domain expert for the particular project or product. The product owner guarantees that the team members understand the vision of the product. The product owner is also the communication line between the end-users, stakeholders, and the development team and sets the expectations.
The development team members comprise of different roles, including designers, engineers, and technical architects making it highly cross-functional.
The steps present in the scrum framework are not very complex, but rather are methodical. Product development using the Scrum framework begins with a to-do list from the product owner. The Scrum framework calls it a product backlog. The product backlog is a list of features, stories, epics, defects, NFRs, and everything that will need to be developed to fulfill the product vision.
The actual development of the product happens in a duration of time-boxed events are called sprints or iterations. A subset of product backlog items is pulled to form a sprint backlog based on priority. Those sprint backlog items become the input to the sprint or iteration.
A Sprint can last anywhere from a week to a month, depending on the iteration length decided by the team in conjunction with the product owner and stakeholders. Towards the end of the sprint or iteration, there will be a demo or sprint review, and then the development team will move on to subsequent sprints until the full product is completed.
The development team will meet daily to review their progress of the development. These meetings are usually quick huddles, lasting a maximum of fifteen minutes. Project managers comprehend that by decomposing larger epics, themes, and features into smaller timeboxed iterations or sprints, bugs are caught and addressed earlier.
Kanban Methodology is another iterative and incremental approach in agile development that project managers find extremely beneficial. Unlike Scrum, Kanban does not have designated roles. However, Kanban team members have their explicit strengths and real-time communication is a mandatory requirement of Kanban. Tasks or activities in the project are represented on a Kanban board. Kanban board is used to visualize work and optimize the flow of the work activities among the team members.
Difference Between Scrum and Kanban
Kanban differs from Scrum in a couple of ways. Kanban removes the timeboxed sprints or iterations and allows for continuous development of the product. The changes can be made at any point in development, whereas there is no change allowed during the execution of sprint in the Scrum framework to avoid throwing off the schedule. Another big difference in leveraging the Kanban method of development is the usage of cycle time. Cycle time is the amount of time it takes for a unit of work to travel through the team’s development process workflow i.e. from the moment the development of the work starts to the moment it goes into the customer’s end or end-users machine. Because in the Kanban method of development, roles are not defined and skills are shared between the team members, the cycle time is shortened thereby allowing optimization of the development process.
Kanban is certainly less organized than the Scrum framework, which can be difficult for project managers at the beginning, but allows for more flexibility while planning.
Like Scrum framework, Kanban method also has desirable benefits. In Kanban, work is visualized on the board allowing continuous development, therefore the opportunities for wait time are minimized. Kanban is the perfect approach for projects when change happens frequently and rapidly.
Both Scrum and Kanban are lightweight frameworks with minimal sets of rules thus allowing more autonomy for the development team. Since Scrum and Kanban have some parallel concepts, project managers today are customizing the principles and practices of each framework to form a combined framework sometimes like Scrumban. Note that different project management methodologies have different strategies that help your team to overcome problems that may arise during the project’s delivery.
In this article, we discussed Agile Project Management Frameworks. What agile project management methodology do you follow in your team? Do you have your own frameworks or have tailor existing frameworks to suit your needs?
Ramkumar Arumugam is working as a Sr. Program Manager with 15+ years of success in leading all phases of diverse technology IT Projects in retail, e-commerce, insurance and pharma market research industries. He is a regular contributor to projectcubicle.com