Agile frameworks&tools - summary


You may be confused why the same aspects are constantly mentioned as both positives and negatives during summary at the end of every article about Scrum, KanBan & Scrum-Ban (you can find those articles in "Konwladge Base"). There is a purpose to it and that purpose is to always consider “it depends'' as the best possible FIRST answer to every question.

Which framework/tool is THE BEST !? (and Why it is not possible to answer that question)

Answer: “It depends on: “

1) What are you trying to achieve by applying a certain framework ?

Maybe you just need a next round of “organizational changes” that will excuse the current not-so-good state of a certain product? I hope not :D
It will be way better to fully commit to a certain framework after careful analysis (please engage your developers into that analysys!) & live test on existing project.

2) What is the current structure of your product development ?

Maybe you are already developing a product in a more-or-less agile way  but you didn't even consider to name it that way. If there are only few things that need to change to adapt your current production/workflow to for example KanBan why to go around and force for example Scrum ? 

The less changes you will force on the whole organization at once the better.  

3) What is Your product and why do you even want to consider Agile as a valuable approach to that product development ?

As mentioned at the very beginning there are products (a bridge for example) that need to be developed in the waterfall approach. You simply will not benefit from applying Agile frameworks into bridge development. Maybe your product is not exactly a bridge but follows the same rule ? If yes then organizational effort to impose “Agile” will be a clear waste.

4) Do you have a vision for your product ? 

It’s almost impossible to imagine a product that will not benefit from having a clearly stated future plan for development. Even if those plans will change (and the truth is that they will change a lot) you are creating a common sense through the whole company that You as a product owner/CEO/product manager/project manager (choose which name you want) care about the product.

This is a very important signal to:

a) developers - it gives them a purpose to focus on what they are best at - development! If they see that you have a clear product goal and plan to deliver it they will follow you!

b) future employees - do you want it or not current team members are sharing opinion about your company/team all the time. Creating a product vision is partially giving you also a good PR on the job market.

c) current & future business partners - if you are clear in expressing vision for your product you will be able to maintain those partnerships that are valuable to your organization.

5) Are you sure that the culture of your organization will align with Agile’s principles

As stated a few times in this document changing culture of the whole organization is very difficult. Implementing any agile framework it’s pointless if your organization it’s not already at least a bit transparent and ready to inspect & adapt (thus ready to accept failure as a natural outcome of changing “how we work”). Even the best possible product to implement an agile framework will not benefit from it without proper values as foundations.

If you are running a small company (or one team or division of teams inside a bigger company) you have the biggest influence to impose cultural changes by clearly expressing by yourself all those values that you want to impose on your team members. If that will work out and you will find team members eager to follow those values (sometimes you will have to fire someone who is not willing to adapt) AND those values are in line with Agile’s values you should try to use an agile framework. Then it’s almost guaranteed that your team/small company will benefit from using a certain framework thus it will grow and create curiosity on the market/inside of a bigger company.

 At this point you are:

a)  running a small company and you just have a hard task to maintain this “proper culture” through a period of painful company growth; 

b) running a team or division in a bigger company and you have a very very hard task of convincing upper management/CEO/board to apply your team’s culture upon the whole company.

How to define which framework/tool should i use then?

Knowing that there is no clear answer to the question “which framework is the best” we have to ask yourself a different one “Which framework / tool suits best for my product ?

Important similarities of Scrum, ScrumBan & KanBan:

  • relatively easy to implement but hard to master due to perfection as an end goal;
  • they focus on reducing waste, continuous value delivery and creating a feedback loop;
  • demand developers team to be cross functional ;
  • demand proper organizational culture to bring any benefits;

What may be tricky during choosing proper framework/tool:

  • some aspects of each framework/tool could bring either a benefit or a harm to your product development process so choose wisely;
  • be careful with implementing top-down one framework/tool to all of the processes connected to product management (support department may need a different approach then R&D) .
  • If your product is big and complicated it’s almost always better to fit a certain framework/tool bottom-up; ;
  • always gather feedback from developers about direction of ongoing changes during agile transformation;
  • remember that the character of your product can change in time so no solution will last forever;

Differences & probable best applications table

Want more? Read whole "How To Agile?" script! 
You can find it in "Konowledge Base"  

Useful knowledge sources - books/essays/websites/YT channels etc.
(not only about Agile etc)  

About frameworks/tools: 

Scrum Guide - version 2020
“Scrum with CanBan” guide - version 2021 
Labirynty Scruma - Jacek Wieczorek
Scrumban: Essays on Kanban Systems for Lean Software Development, Corey Ladas
Kan-Ban - Agile Project Management with Kanban, Eric Brechner
Succeeding with Agile: Software Development Using Scrum

Inspirations :
Zainspiruj mnie kuba - PL YT channel
Atlassian - YT channel 
Development that pays - YT channel

Books that are loosely connected with Agile/organization/management topics: 

Cargo Cult Programming - Richard P. Feynman 

The Machine That Changed The World - James P. Womack, Daniel T. Jones, Daniel Roos
It’s Not Luck - Eliyahu M. Goldratt (TOC)
THE GOAL - Eliyahu M. Goldratt (TOC)
Slack - Tom DeMarco
Project Phoenix - Gene Kim & Kevin Behr, George Spafford
Elegant Puzzle - An Elegant Puzzle, Systems Of Engineering Management - WIlliam Larsson
Five dysfunctions of a team - Patric Lencioni  
Extreme Ownership - Jocko Willink  & Leif Babin



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