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How to implement agile working

There are multiple ways that you can implement Agile and in this article, we’ll tackle two different approaches: Kanban and Scrum.
© Torrens University

The agile methodology

Agile is a methodology therefore, it can be thought of as a set of methods.

Let’s take a look at the first approach.

Kaban

Kanban was originally based on two principles: reducing waste and increasing production with the same resources. With each of these goals in mind, Kanban sets up systems that allow for this to occur efficiently and easily. The most well-known (and the namesake) component of Kanban is the card system, which is used to display to other workers the current state (or demand) of particular tasks.

Each card signals a particular task that a team needs to accomplish, and they place each card in a particular column, each column representing a different state (To do, In progress, or Done). As the card’s state changes, they move the card to a different column. Unlike Scrum, Kanban doesn’t assign time limits to tasks. This means a team works on the task until it is complete, rather than until they have met a time limit.

Diagram of a Kamban board in sections To Do, Doing, and Done, with 3 stylized hands making changes

Compare this with a Scrum Task Board:

Scrum Task Board showing columns To Do, In Progress, and Done

Scrum

Scrum focuses on the idea that constant feedback is beneficial, so it requires each team member to take part in a daily ‘Stand-Up’ session. In these sessions, team members briefly highlight their progress since the previous session. They also talk about their goals for the day ahead.

Sprints

Each of these stand-up sessions takes place for each day within the ‘Sprint’. A ‘Sprint’ is a set period (usually 1-4 weeks) where the team has goals that they need to accomplish by the end of the sprint. Within a sprint, a selection of tasks from a product backlog (the backlog is all tasks that need to be accomplished across the product) are selected and put into the sprint backlogs.

The sprint backlog is now the ‘Sprint’ goal and all the tasks in the sprint backlog will be completed by the end of the sprint. Once complete, the scrum team will perform a sprint review and a sprint retrospective. These are feedback sessions where the team can understand how well the sprint went and any improvements they can make (we can think of this as lessons learnt).

Scrum Development Process diagram show a 30-day sprint which briefly cycles back, takes input from daily scrum meetings, and results in a product increment moving forward

There is no ‘one size fits all’ for product development and project management. Below you will see that there are always elements of Agile that can be adapted to fit various project needs.

Construction field. With two men, number 1 is working on a table and number 2 is looking at the site

In the above picture, you can see two individuals. The first one, who is working on the table represents Kaban, the second one who is standing represents Scrum.

If you’d like to learn more about agile working, check out the full online course from Media Design School, below.

Quote from Marvin Minsky. "You don't understand anything until you learn it more than one way"

© Torrens University
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