This blog post is the second installment of our two-part series guide titled,"Choose the right Agile Framework". This comprehensive roadmap is designed to help teams and organizations adopt Agile methodologies that best match their specific needs and processes.
Agile methodologies are not limited to the tech world and can be effectively used across different teams, and fields. The key objective is to find the right framework that suits your team's needs by carefully considering the pros and cons of each Agile framework. Join us on this educational journey as we help you make an enlightened decision that aligns with your team's objectives and culture.

In our previous article, we discussed two other Agile frameworks: revisit our overview of Scrum and Kanban.

Welcome to part two of our two-part series guide on agile frameworks! In this installment, we will explore two agile frameworks that offer unique advantages: Scrumban, a fusion of Scrum and Kanban, and the Lean framework. By examining their pros and cons, we aim to provide you with valuable insights to help you choose the best framework for your team. Additionally, we will conclude the series by discussing other important factors to consider when selecting an agile framework.

So, let's dive into the world of Scrumban and Lean frameworks!

Overview: Scrumban framework

Scrumban was initially created to help teams transition between Scrum and Kanban methods and vice-versa but has since been found useful on its own. It's ideal for teams with prior experience in either Scrum or Kanban. Scrumban was developed to cover gaps in Scrum and Kanban methodologies, it combines Kanban's pull-based system with Scrum's structural components for a customizable framework suitable for mature agile teams working in unpredictable environments or supporting existing products.

The role of Scrum and Kanban in Scrumban

The role of Scrum in Scrumban Exclusive features of Scrumban The role of Kanban in Scrumban
Sprint planning, standing ups, and retrospectives: These are classic Scrum ceremonies that Scrumban fully incorporates.

Process iteration: This happens at constant intervals, usually at the end of sprints in retrospective and sprint review meetings.

Work prioritization: Work is ranked based on a combination of task complexity and the demands of the product.

Team alignment on 'done' work: The entire team gets to define what "done" means. This mutual agreement ensures clear definitions and documentation of final results.
No hierarchies: It allows all team members an equal chance at decision-making. There isn't a distinct leader as the entire team takes up the mantle of self-management.

Flexible Deadline: Scrumban projects don't necessarily operate on strict deadlines. Usually, the team focuses on two-week incremental sprints at a time. This setup allows team members to concentrate exclusively on certain tasks until it's time to review and iterate. Thus, Scrumban proves to be an excellent fit for prolonged projects or projects with an undefined objective.
A clear set of tasks: These are the tasks to be executed by the team. As soon as a team member commences work on a task, they shift it from the backlog to their personal current workload.

Limits on the number of tasks in progress: The system imposes strict limits on the number of tasks that can be in progress simultaneously.
The purpose of this limitation is to avoid team overload and ensure optimal productivity.

Task representation: Traditionally, tasks are depicted by cards. These cards then shift through various stages of the process on a Kanban board, making the progression of work visually clear and easily understandable.

Pros and cons of Scrumban

Streamlining ongoing work: By preventing duplication and unnecessary tasks, saving time. Shift in managerial power: Scrumban does not provide set roles. Equal decision-making power might not sit well with managers who prefer to take charge.
Ideal for long-term projects: Its adaptability accommodates gradual changes, aligning with evolving project needs over time. May not suit all teams: The hybrid approach may not be suitable for all teams or projects, depending on their specific needs.
Empowering team autonomy: Encouraging members to make independent decisions and prioritize tasks based on their judgment. Managing autonomy: Too much freedom can create confusion. The goal is to find what specifically benefits your team.
Fostering a thriving environment: Promoting openness, collaboration, and transparency to establish a clear vision of project goals and progress. Complexity: The integration of two methodologies can introduce complexity, especially for teams unfamiliar with both Scrum and Kanban.
Efficient goal management: Facilitating goal setting, prioritization, and task assignment to reduce confusion and enhance objective achievement. Lacks concrete procedures: As a recent methodology, Scrumban lacks concrete procedures. It's less defined compared to Scrum or Lean.
Breaking down tasks: It breaks down large, complex projects into manageable iterations, making them less daunting.
Balanced flexibility: It combines Kanban's flexibility with Scrum's structure, offering a balance between adaptability and defined processes.
Continuous enhancement: Through regular inspection and adaptation cycles from Scrum, combined with Kanban's flow optimization.
Rapid adaptation: Enables teams to swiftly adapt to shifting priorities and requirements, a key characteristic shared by Scrum and Kanban.
Visualizing project bottlenecks: Scrumban's emphasis on visualization helps identify project bottlenecks more rapidly.

Is Scrumban the right fit for your company or team?

Grab your team and dive into these crucial questions. If the majority of your answers are positive, Scrumban may just be the perfect agile framework that your team is looking for:

  1. Does your team have prior knowledge of Agile and Agile methodologies?
  2. Was your team using Scrum, but is contemplating a transition to Kanban?
  3. Are you interested in adopting Agile but find it challenging to choose between Scrum and Kanban principles?
  4. Does the approach of having different processes for different projects feel more comfortable than a one-size-fits-all method?
  5. Is your team self-motivated with strong communication skills?
  6. Is your team involved in a long-term project or one with an unclear end goal?

Overview: Lean framework

Lean, often associated with Lean Manufacturing, from which Kanban was derived, is another Agile framework that your team might want to explore. Initially developed in Japan as a management technique to streamline manufacturing, Lean's adaptability has enabled its successful implementation in other domains, such as IT, software development, and marketing.

Lean's core belief is to navigate fluidly through a constantly changing marketplace by constructing, gauging, and acknowledging uncertainty. The Lean philosophy acknowledges that predicting everything is impossible, but by adhering to a set of principles, even unpredictable work can be managed efficiently.

Key principles of Lean
1.  Defining value from the end customer perspective.
2. Identifying and eliminating non-value-adding steps in a business process.
3.  Ensuring that value-creating steps occur in a streamlined sequence.
4. Continuously repeat these previous steps until all waste has been eliminated.
5. Empower employees by involving them in process planning and allowing them to adapt the process within
     defined constraints.

These lean principles are essential for maintaining cost-effective production and successful market launches.

The Lean approach recommends that teams strive to eradicate any processes or procedures that thwart workflow efficiency. This could encompass unproductive gatherings or duties that absorb a disproportionately larger portion of time as compared to their resultant outcomes. Consequently, advocates of Lean identify three primary categories of waste that ought to be eliminated:

  • Muri (”overburden”)—This term represents waste that arises due to inconsistencies in workflow patterns. Essentially, it's the clutter generated by the uneven distribution of tasks.
  • Mura (”unevenness”)—In the world of agile frameworks, Mura refers to the waste created when machinery or team members are overburdened with work. It emphasizes the imperative need for equitable division of tasks.
  • Muda (”non-value-adding work”) —This represents the waste generated from executing tasks that add no real value to the overall project. It's all about identifying and eliminating non-essential activities.

The Lean management tools

The following tools are specific methods within the concept of lean that aid in achieving its principles and goals.

The following tools are specific methods within the concept of lean that aid in achieving its principles and goals.

Some of these methods, like kaizen and kanban, have evolved into independent production concepts.

The fishbone diagram example
The fishbone diagram example

Pros and cons of Lean

Quality improvement: Focuses on improving quality by identifying and addressing root causes of issues. Unplanned demands: Lean struggles with unexpected demand. Contingency planning is challenging.
Simplify processes: Streamlines workflow by reducing complex processes into simpler tasks. It removes less valuable activities, leading to efficient processes. Require cultural change: Giving high value and eliminating waste requires major cultural shifts, often resisted by employees.
Reduce costs: Enhances process efficiency and cuts waste, leading to significant operational cost reductions. It allows for optimal resource utilization, which curbs expenditure and boosts profit. High initial costs: Initial costs of training, re-engineering, and system setup can be high.
Employee empowerment: Empowers employees by involving them in problem-solving and decision-making processes. This inclusivity triggers employees' feelings of value and boosts their motivation. Reliance on suppliers: Lean heavily relies on suppliers, exposing the company to risks if suppliers fail.
High value for customers: Focuses on delivering maximum customer value. It strives to meet customer expectations and enhance satisfaction levels, fostering solid customer relationships. Staff burnout: The continuous cycle can tax staff and lead to burnout if not handled rightly.
No waste: Whether it's time, resources, or efforts, Lean identifies and removes waste to augment overall efficiency, leading to a streamlined workflow. Complexity in large organizations: May face challenges in large organizations with complex structures and processes.

Is Lean the right fit for your company or team?

Grab your team and dive into these crucial questions. If the majority of your answers are positive, Lean may just be the perfect agile framework that your team is looking for:

  1. Is your team or company dedicated to continuous improvement and the elimination of process waste?
  2. Do you regularly engage employees at all levels in problem-solving and decision-making?
  3. Is there a culture of respect for people, including acknowledging and valuing their contributions and ideas?
  4. Do you actively seek and act on feedback from customers and employees to drive improvement?
  5. Is there a willingness to embrace change and adjust processes for increased efficiency and effectiveness?
  6. Are you open to reducing unnecessary processes and streamlining workflows to enhance productivity?
  7. Is there a culture that encourages cross-functional teams to collaborate on projects and share knowledge?

Choosing the right Agile framework

Understanding the varied terrain of Agile frameworks is key to your selection process. Each Agile framework brings to the table its unique processes, tactics, prerequisites, implications, and benefits. Your choice, as such, should be driven by your goals and the dynamics particular to your situation.

Agile primarily aims to speed up workflows and empower teams. However, a misfit framework can ironically slow you down.

Before committing to a choice, delve into the variables shaping your organization:

  • Start by assessing the size of your team, contemplating whether they operate in a shared space or span the globe working remotely.
  • Consider the experience levels and work routine preferences of your team members.
  • Align your agile strategy with customer expectations for a mutually beneficial outcome.
  • Finally, examine your financial well-being and the adaptability of your organization to agile frameworks a pivotal element that can shape the success of your agile journey.
It's critical to understand why your organization is making the shift towards Agile. Recognize which framework aligns with your needs most optimally.

Your choice of agile framework depends heavily on the unique needs and context of your team. Whether it's Scrum for its simplicity and transparency or Kanban if you need flexibility, the right choice always depends on your team's dynamics.

Remember that the aim of using an agile framework is not to do 'Agile' for the sake of it. It's about achieving incremental value delivery, increased customer satisfaction, and a workplace environment that fosters creativity, innovation, and job satisfaction. So, take the time to understand the needs of your team and the requirements of your projects before settling on a framework.

With this insightful blog post, we are bringing our comprehensive series on Agile frameworks to a satisfying conclusion.

At the end of the day, the agile philosophy is rooted in continuous learning and improvement. Don't be afraid to experiment and adapt the framework to suit your team's unique needs.

And remember, agile is a journey, not a destination. Enjoy the ride!