We can widely find LEAN and AGILE concepts in practice by teams and corporations all over the world; however, there is a lot of confusion about the real meaning of each one of them individually.
Many companies and developers use the term AGILE and SCRUM as if they were the same, but this is a mistake.
Respectively, these concepts serve different objectives and duties, and it is essential to understand the difference between them.
In this article, Evotek dives into the basic concepts of Lean, Agile, and Scrum, and how to distinguish them.
Definition of Lean, Agile and Scrum
To start, Agile and Lean are not methodologies; they are philosophies with basic principles that apply to different methods such as SCRUM or KANBAN.
Managers who know this can better choose the adequate methodology for their company’s profile.
Lean is a management philosophy characterized by the focus on minimizing risks and waste, maximizing customer value. Lean is the foundation of many other philosophies, i.e., Agile.
Agile is a philosophy focused on time constraints to develop a product piece by piece, delivering small results within the implementation of the whole. When working “Agile,” processes are more flexible and capable of quickly adapting to changes and turnaround. Therefore, the results are perceived quicker and communicated in simple ways.
One of the remarkable characteristics of this philosophy is the value given to prioritization; decision-making routines structure teams in simple ways giving them autonomy and allowing them to work in small groups.
Scrum is a framework of incremental and iterative development methods, documented as a set of practices, roles, rules, artifacts, and events. Scrum is architectured to aid teams in the execution of any project.
Today, Scrum is the most widely known and used methodology in the software development environment. Well-applied, this process gives more “agility” to the execution of design, development, and testing tasks, at the same time preventing problems coming from conflict, lack of integration, or idle times.
Scrum methodology has a rigorous definition of roles, where each participant has a set of tasks and responsibilities to comply.
The most heard positions are:
- Scrum Master: managing routines for the different teams;
- Product Owner: working as the nexus between the clients and the development units; or,
- Team Member: any of the members of the created groups.
Why use Lean based methodologies?
This philosophy’s focus has been to achieve efficiency and effectiveness; it was born in Japan in automobile factories looking for automation and cost reduction.
As we mentioned before, Lean is all about avoiding risks and waste. The philosophy identifies eight basic types of waste:
- Unused talent;
- Unnecessary processing;
- Excess production;
- Excess inventory;
- Defect; and,
When we focus on diminishing this wastes, any process becomes automatically cleaner and fast.
Why use Agile methodologies?
Agile, as we said, is a philosophy, a way of living and thinking, and is based on three key aspects:
- progress with small and incremental tasks called iterations;
- focus on the customer, consulting him regularly; and,
- do testing and validation before the next iteration.
The philosophy encourages us to organize the team efforts to generate some value in each stage, facilitating the product’s growth and validating it with the client to avoid rework and deviation. Thus, the team keeps a constant pace, excellent visibility, and confidence during a project’s development.
The four keys of Agile development value proposition are:
- Keep constant visibility;
- Maintain a reasonable rate of adaptability;
- Create incrementally business value; and,
- Diminish the risk of deviation and rework since the beginning.
An Agile Manifesto, created by different software developers, guides the teams around four premises that should be valued:
- React to changes more than following a plan;
- Collaboration with the client rather than negotiating the contract;
- The software in operation is more important than comprehensive documentation; and,
- Individuals and interactions are first against processes and tools.
When we say different software developers created it, we want to remark that the first industry using it was software development. However, the concepts adapted and evolved to apply in any product or service.
Why use the Scrum framework?
Widely used in the software development industry, Scrum is a tested framework that structure Agile development teams.
We can identify in Scrum a set of particular characteristics that revolutionized the industry:
- Development plans organized in “sprints” of work, with regular deadlines;
- Regular and daily feedback routines;
- Definition of a list of tasks to perform (called the “backlog”);
- Work as a TEAM!; and,
- Having multidisciplinary teams.
As mentioned earlier, the roles make Scrum quite rigorous and well structured and can help your business very much. However, it is crucial for the workflow of your company to choose the appropriate methodology.
Using Lean, Agile, and Scrum can help you assure the success of your project and help you reduce development times, consequently reducing the costs associated with them.
To recapitulate, some of the advantages of using them are:
- Continuous improvement;
- Better quality of the final product;
- Less uncertainty;
- Greater assertiveness and adherence;
- Total control, visibility, and manageability of the development cycle;
- Higher productivity compared with traditional practices;
- Anticipate the return of the investment; and,
- Reduce development and maintenance costs.
If reading this article on what is Lean, Agile, and Scrum has awakened your interest, you may be looking to find the perfect software development company to help your next software decision.
Evotek, with their abundance of knowledge and experience around software development and consultancy efforts, is undoubtedly the first port of call.