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What are the Different Types of Agile Methodologies?

Agile refers to the methods and best practices for organizing projects based on the values and principles documented in the Agile Manifesto. However, there’s no one right way to implement Agile and many different types of methodologies from which to choose. Here are some of the most common Agile frameworks. 

Kanban

Kanban is a simple, visual means of managing projects that enables teams to see the progress so far and what’s coming up next. Kanban projects are primarily managed through a Kanban board, which segments tasks into three columns: “To Do,” “Doing,” and “Done.”

Scrum

Scrum is similar to Kanban in many ways. Scrum typically uses a Scrum board, similar to a Kanban board, and groups tasks into columns based on progress. Unlike Kanban, Scrum focuses on breaking a project down into sprints and only planning and managing one sprint at a time. Scrum also has unique project roles: Scrum master and product owner. 

Extreme Programming (XP)

Extreme Programming (XP) was designed for Agile software development projects. It focuses on continuous development and customer delivery and uses intervals or sprints, similar to a Scrum methodology. However, XP also has 12 supporting processes specific to the world of software development:

  • Planning game
  • Small releases
  • Customer acceptance tests
  • Simple design
  • Pair programming
  • Test-driven development
  • Refactoring
  • Continuous integration
  • Collective code ownership
  • Coding standards
  • Metaphor
  • Sustainable pace

Feature-driven development (FDD)

Feature-driven development is another software-specific Agile framework. This methodology involves creating software models every two weeks and requires a development and design plan for every model feature. It has more rigorous documentation requirements than XP, so it’s better for teams with advanced design and planning abilities. FDD breaks projects down into five basic activities:

  • Develop an overall model
  • Build a feature list
  • Plan by feature
  • Design by feature
  • Build by feature

Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM)

The Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM) was born of the need for a common industry framework for rapid software delivery. Rework is to be expected, and any development changes that occur must be reversible. Like Scrum, XP, and FDD, DSDM uses sprints. This framework is based on eight fundamental principles:

  • Focus on the business need
  • Deliver on time
  • Collaborate
  • Never compromise quality
  • Build incrementally from firm foundations
  • Develop iteratively
  • Communicate continuously and clearly
  • Demonstrate control

Crystal

Crystal is a family of Agile methodologies that includes Crystal Clear, Crystal Yellow, Crystal Orange, Crystal Red, etc. Each has a unique framework. Your choice depends on several project factors, such as your team size, priorities, and project criticality. 

Lean

Lean development is often grouped with Agile, but it’s an entirely different methodology that happens to share many of the same values. The main principles of the Lean methodology include:

  • Eliminating waste
  • Build quality in
  • Create knowledge
  • Defer commitment
  • Deliver fast
  • Respect people
  • Optimize the whole
Further Reading
blog post

Is Your Enterprise Struggling to Be Agile? 4 Tips to Get You There

blog post

Scrum vs. Kanban Board: Which One Is Better for Building a Project Plan?

blog post

Project Management Methodologies Review (Part 1)