Agile methods – which are they?

Agile methods – which are they?

Agile methods is a wide spectrum and is by now applied in many different contexts. The most widely recognized agile variants are Scrum, Kanban and hybrid combinations in the context of one or few teams.

In cases where 75+ people collaborate on a bigger programme, the most commonly used framework is SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework) although alternatives as Nexus and LESS are also applied.

A common denominator for all agile frameworks is that what is to be made first/ next is assessed on an ongoing basis and for that takes in the current state, that is the gained knowledge and the actual state of the project, as of right now (and not as we expected the state to be). This is also know as inspect and adapt. Another important term is that the team is equipped with the ressources and competencies needed, plus has the mandate act in accordance with the situation. Generally speaking the project will seek to make decisions as late as responsible to both maximise the amount of knowledge present and without delaying the project by lack of directions.

Who decides what to deliver?

The Customer has the money and as you might know, money talks! But, the customer can be an internal customer or an external customer. The external being the company you send an invoice to, while the internal customer can be the maintenance department, marketing or a combination of several departments inside to company. The customer is to be recognized as ‘the one you make the solution for’.

The customer is represented by one person, a Product Owner who is responsible for engaging his/her stakeholders in aligning expectations and priorities. Even if your customer is more than one internal department, they are represented by one person. Effectively speaking this person is key to success for your agile development.

All known requirements and wishes are continually compiled and prioritized on a Product Backlog, to ensure the team is always working on the highest priorities in each period of development (iteration). At the end of each iteration, the delivered product incement is assessed in relation to expectations, also  to enable prioritization of new product increments based on current state and actual knowledge in broad sense. In reality this assessment and planning is essential for effective and robust progression.

But, do we then ever get done?

Well, you might be right, but at any point the most important features are done. Or stated differently, when 50% of the budget is spent, you have received the most important and there is no pile of expensive change requests waiting for you. Just as any other project, agile project never hit the 100% complete mark – they close when someone deems that ‘the  project is complete enough to that something else is more important spending the ressources on’.

Read more on how we can improve the return of you agile method.