Agile Framework: All You Need To Know in 2021

You may have heard several buzzwords and terminologies being used in product development these days, like Agile, Scrum, Waterfall, Lean, Kanban, and more. Although these terminologies are widespread, the buzzwords are hardly leveraged rightly in most product companies.

But with the right implementation, agile framework and all other popular frameworks can add massive value to the organization while creating a product development process that is quick to mitigate any potential risks and changes in requirements. 

So, here is a quick overview of all you need to know about Agile Framework:

What is the Agile Framework?

Before we dive into understanding Agile Framework, let’s quickly look at how it came into being. Agile methodologies have been around for years, and the most popular framework today, Scrum, was developed as early as 1993. Meanwhile, Rapid Action Development has been around since the 1980s and has been defined as a response to the rapid development in the world of personal computing.

With changing business requirements, rapidly evolving technologies, and the need to adapt to these developments, the Agile Framework was introduced and formalized as an Agile Manifesto in 2001.

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Agile is the umbrella term for several iterative and incremental software development approaches, and encompass each of these frameworks. The Agile Framework is a process that involves continuous planning, testing, integration, and development, along with other procedures for both the project and the application.

Due to its nature, the Agile framework enables most of the software development lifecycle processes to be done simultaneously with minimum dependencies on each other. This helps create a faster go-to-market for product development and create strategies that collaborate and make decisions quickly with set outcomes.

Overall, the Agile Manifesto states four values:

  1. Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  2. Working software over comprehensive documentation
  3. Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  4. Responding to change over following a plan

These processes ensure that the product is built in small increments. Each product’s life cycle is broken down into individual increments to be completed standalone, i.e., with minimal or no dependencies.

It creates a product built with all the quality checks while ensuring each process happens faster than traditional development processes. Since development, testing, and implementation requirements happen in collaboration, there are faster results and quick communication of any risks or bugs.

Types of Agile Frameworks

As we covered in the Agile framework, Agile is an umbrella term that covers several frameworks. Some of the most popular frameworks are as below:

Scrum

The Scrum, also popularly termed ‘The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time,’ was coined by Harvard Business Review in 1986. The framework is used to help develop software and applications built in quick speed but with a focus on ensuring all the required quality audits are done. 

The Scrum primarily relies on two key stakeholders; the Scrum Master and the Product Owner. The role of the Scrum Master is to act as a referee or gatekeeper, who is in charge of establishing responsibility and providing guidance wherever necessary. Scrum Master is responsible for quality audits, removing impediments, and ensuring that the tasks are completed as per the action plan.

On the other hand, the product owner keeps track of all your project’s stakeholders and is responsible for the tools, techniques, and resources that need to be allocated to the Scrum team’s needs. Product Owners set the vision and communicate it with the team.

Besides, the product owner also speaks with subject matter experts to ensure the project is in-line with industry standards. The development team, engineers, architects, and testers are all part of the team that reports to the Scrum Master but are helped by the Product Owner.

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Kanban

Kanban is one of the lightest Agile frameworks and one of the fastest-growing methods. The Kanban is made up of four Foundational Principles:

  1. Start With What you Do Now
  2. Agree to Pursue Incremental, Evolutionary Change
  3. Respect the Current Process, Roles & Responsibilities
  4. Encourage Acts of Leadership at All Levels

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Kanban helps the product owners identify and break down tasks into small pieces and focus on increasing efficiency while stating the processes in three primary columns, Requested, In Progress, and Done! This helps each team member get a real-time estimate and understanding of the system’s bottlenecks and creates a smooth, agile process.

Extreme Programming

Extreme Programming or XP is all about encouraging best practices and high-quality output by creating an environment of collaboration in short development cycles. Since frameworks communication and teamwork are prioritized, XP works best in shared workspaces and is flexible and adaptable to change. It creates short, planned releases of the product while relying on code refactoring, and pair programming at the fundamental pillars.

The Crystal Method

A combination of several other Agile frameworks and methodologies, the Crystal method uses the best practices to focus on creating an adaptable environment. This helps the framework be used for teams of all sizes or projects, as the framework is super-adaptive.

For organizations where resource allocation is time-bound and often keeps changing, the Crystal Method works best to speed up and boost processes when resource allocation is high and go slow when the team size changes.

Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe)

SAFe or Scaled Agile Framework is another combination of other Agile frameworks, primarily Scrum, Kanban, and XP. The methodology uses the best of these frameworks while incorporating elements of the Lean as well as DevOps philosophies, working best for larger Agile teams.

Lean Software Development (LSD)

Lean Software Development is another trendy Agile Framework, as is more of a guiding principle that complements the values prescribed in the Agile Manifesto. The 7 guiding principles of LSD are:

  1. Eliminate Waste
  2. Keep Learning
  3. Defer Decisions
  4. Deliver Fast
  5. Empower The Team
  6. Build Integrity In
  7. See The Whole 

Rapid Application Development (RAD)

Rapid Action Development has been around since the 1980s and is one of the oldest Agile frameworks. As the name suggests, RAD leverages a method that discards planning and instead focuses on prototyping, meaning each iteration of the product is prioritized. Thus, it creates a fast delivery and uses continuous delivery or sprints. 

Feature Driven Development (FDD)

Feature Driven Development focuses on combining the model-driven approach with Agile methodologies to scale up operations from a smaller team to a much larger project. FDD has five working stages which are:

  1. Development
  2. Listing
  3. Planning
  4. Designing
  5. Building

Which Agile Framework Is Ideal for You?

With so many options to choose from, isn’t it confusing to select one for your purposes? Although there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, choosing the right framework is all about knowing what you wish to achieve and how to do that. Agile frameworks have their purpose and can come in use depending on several factors, such as:

  • The size of the company
  • The structure of the team
  • The end goal of the product development strategy
  • Number of resources and stakeholders

While each agile framework has its own set of strengths and weaknesses, Scrum and Kanban are the most common and popular frameworks. However, that doesn’t mean they are always relevant. It is all about experimenting and using a thorough understanding of the means to achieve the goal that matters most.

Make sure you choose a framework that your team and you are most comfortable with and make a wise decision. Changing or shifting frameworks is highly risky and can be detrimental to a project development plan.

Also Read: Difference Between Agile Methodology and Scrum Methodology

Learn More about the Agile Framework

Agile Framework adds enormous value to a product company, for it keeps rolling out updates after each product release using the MVP (Minimum Viable Product) principle. This ensures that each version can be used for addressing a particular business problem. Simultaneously, the add-ons or next iterations of the product add more features and address additional challenges. 

If you want to learn Agile Frameworks and get an in-depth understanding of the world of product development and project management, check out the program offered by upGrad and IIIT-B. The PG Diploma in Full-stack Software Development is designed for working professionals and students looking to scale up their skill sets and impact the world of product development.

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