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Should You Go Agile, Waterfall or Leverage a Combined Approach?

By this article, I wanted to take a closer look at a struggle that most companies face. In the field of project management, there is a debate concerning the ideal approach for the organization to do project management. On one hand, we have a “free” format of Agile and on the other side of the spectrum, we have the traditional Waterfall approach. In this article, I’d like to take a close look at pro’s and con’s for these methodologies and describe how a PM could even use a best of both worlds approach.Traditional/Waterfall methodologyIn a traditional waterfall project, the project manager has given a (somewhat) fixed budget and he or she should accomplish a task within a deadline, which most of the time has resulted into a finished product or service. This is a time-honored traditional way of approaching projects. Where there is a goal, a timespan and a number of resources that should be utilized to achieve that goal.                                                                                           Do You Know?                                                           Waterfall approach is used where the end result is fixed. This approach is particularly useful in situations where the outcome is fixed. Such as the construction of a building or car or even a phone. These products have a physical footprint and changes to these products can almost always be labeled as a completely new project. For example, adding a new floor to the building. The waterfall approach tools of choice are Excel, Microsoft Project (or server) and Primavera. As well as some tools that are highly focused on a specific niche. A traditional project could look something like this (example in Microsoft Project):Pro’s for the traditional/waterfall modelClearly defined resultTime, resources and quality are budgeted up frontCon’s for the traditional/waterfall modelProduct or service is only finished at the end of the projectWhen the end product is ready, it is done. There are no further iterationsThere is a need for a lot of documentationScope creep can be very costly due to late response to changesAgile MethodologyThe completely opposite to the traditional/waterfall approach.  Its origin is found in software development. The Agile Manifesto is the document that describes the Agile methodology and the core values:Individuals and Interactions over processes and toolsWorking Software over comprehensive documentationCustomer Collaboration over contract negotiationResponding to Change over following a plan Organizations are struggling to find a suitable approach for Agile in all departments of the organization. This, in my opinion, is mainly due to the fact that it is found rooted in the software development departments. And therefore wasn’t designed for all types of organizational projects.The Agile approach tools of choice are Excel, Jira, VSTS (or Azure DevOps as it’s now called) Basecamp and Trello. As well as some tools that are highly focused on a specific niche. An Agile “project” could look something like this (example in Microsoft Project):Pros for working AgileFast time to market for a first iteration and working product/serviceHigh focus on quality deliveryCons for working AgileNot all products seem suitable for this approachNo clear end in sightIt requires a team to be fully assigned to the product/serviceDifficult to negotiate budgets to upper managementMaking Agile and Waterfall model work together 1. Agifall approach.As the hype for Agile Project Management is slowly subsiding, there are more and more people that believe that Agile is not the holy grail of project management. We are coming to a more mature understanding of the overall complexity of projects in general. There are so many factors that come into play among others: politics, resource availability, budget, client’s needs, communication difficulties.Maybe we should look for a solution that is best of both worlds. Maybe we can find a way to combine the Agile and traditional Waterfall methodologies. There are multiple sources that advocate a Water–Agile–fall approach. This approach will help to reach a finished product if followed properly. This includes ample documentation and clear goals from the start. But, it also includes an Agile part where a team will have sprints to improve the product in the phase where real development is done. This enforces fast delivery and high quality with a lot of client interaction. In any case; pure Agile and pure Waterfall companies are hard to come by. So, most organizations are pushed to integrate Agile into a Waterfall world, mainly because of certain departments in the organization work more towards Agile than Waterfall and the other way around. Now, let’s see the two popular hybrid methodologies-Water-Scrum-Fall approach Water-Scrum-Fall ApproachWater-Scrum-fall model is the one model which allows the blending of Agile and Waterfall methodologies. The teams like Business analysis and Release management teams conform to the traditional Waterfall model, whereas the Development team and testing team adheres to the Scrum method in a limited way. In Water-Scrum-Fall approach, the processes in the traditional Waterfall model are mixed with the processes of Scrum framework model. The Waterfall processes like planning, requirements gathering, budgeting and documenting the project’s progress are integrated with the timeboxed, iterative version of Scrum during the product development. The mixing of Agile and Traditional Waterfall strategies is done if there are enough details to start the development phase.Water-Scrum-Fall model UsageOrganizations use this approach in the following conditions-When the project needs in-depth details in the planning phase to make a precise budget estimation. Because, if the project processes are well-planned, then the management can also feel secure to portion out the funds for the project implementation.  The natural tendency of the developers and testers to look at the Agile practices during the development phase. This happens because the Agile methodology provides them the chance to collaborate as per the needs of the project. AgiFall methodology The motto of getting the best of Agile and Waterfall gives birth to the concept called AgiFall. This approach was first presented at Vancouver Digital Project Managers Meetup Group. It consists of the mixture of Waterfall and Agile principles. The aim is to increase the speed, decrease the cost, and most importantly improve the quality of the end-product.  The AgiFall approach carries out the Waterfall processes like planning and requirements phases activities in an Agile manner. These activities are broken into the user stories and prioritized them in the Sprint. In this method, you don’t need to wait for one phase to finish to begin the next one. This means that you can carry on with the development process while the planning phase is going on. in AgiFall model, the development phase implements the Agile principles.Can Agile and Waterfall Hybrid go with each other?Today, backlog management replaced the comprehensive documentation due to the evolution of techniques. This can be the best example of successful adoption of the hybrid model. The Waterfall-Agile hybrid model is most suitable for the projects which expect that the team should address and deliver the constantly changing requirements within a limited period of time.When the Manager has to implement a particular methodology during the Planning phase, the best way is to select that methodology which matches the project needs. Additionally, the team should have crystal clear understanding of the hybrid model and its implementation knowledge. Otherwise, it will result in a failure spreading a mess with no benefits.Final notesI hope you liked reading my first article on the Knowledgehut. The screenshots I took came from the Office Insider version of Microsoft Project Pro for Office 365. I’ve done a video on how to get the office insider version. This is the version that includes the newest features released by Microsoft. Such as the Agile board I’ve used in the example of Agile.Keep Planning with Waterfall, Executing with Agile, and Speed up the Product Development process!If you like to read more about Agile and Waterfall, here are some great articles I found interesting to read. Click to read a relevant article which I found interesting.
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Should You Go Agile, Waterfall or Leverage a Combined Approach?

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Should You Go Agile, Waterfall or Leverage a Combined Approach?

By this article, I wanted to take a closer look at a struggle that most companies face. In the field of project management, there is a debate concerning the ideal approach for the organization to do project management. On one hand, we have a “free” format of Agile and on the other side of the spectrum, we have the traditional Waterfall approach. 

In this article, I’d like to take a close look at pro’s and con’s for these methodologies and describe how a PM could even use a best of both worlds approach.

Traditional/Waterfall methodology
Traditional/Waterfall methodology

In a traditional waterfall project, the project manager has given a (somewhat) fixed budget and he or she should accomplish a task within a deadline, which most of the time has resulted into a finished product or service. This is a time-honored traditional way of approaching projects. Where there is a goal, a timespan and a number of resources that should be utilized to achieve that goal. 

                                                                                          Do You Know?

                                                           Waterfall approach is used where the end result is fixed. 

This approach is particularly useful in situations where the outcome is fixed. Such as the construction of a building or car or even a phone. These products have a physical footprint and changes to these products can almost always be labeled as a completely new project. For example, adding a new floor to the building. 

The waterfall approach tools of choice are Excel, Microsoft Project (or server) and Primavera. As well as some tools that are highly focused on a specific niche. A traditional project could look something like this (example in Microsoft Project):

 Microsoft Project


Pro’s for the traditional/waterfall model

  • Clearly defined result
  • Time, resources and quality are budgeted up front

Con’s for the traditional/waterfall model

  • Product or service is only finished at the end of the project
  • When the end product is ready, it is done. There are no further iterations
  • There is a need for a lot of documentation
  • Scope creep can be very costly due to late response to changes

Agile Methodology

Agile Methodology

The completely opposite to the traditional/waterfall approach.  Its origin is found in software development. The Agile Manifesto is the document that describes the Agile methodology and the core values:

Individuals and Interactions over processes and tools

Working Software over comprehensive documentation

Customer Collaboration over contract negotiation

Responding to Change over following a plan 

Organizations are struggling to find a suitable approach for Agile in all departments of the organization. This, in my opinion, is mainly due to the fact that it is found rooted in the software development departments. And therefore wasn’t designed for all types of organizational projects.

The Agile approach tools of choice are Excel, Jira, VSTS (or Azure DevOps as it’s now called) Basecamp and Trello. As well as some tools that are highly focused on a specific niche. An Agile “project” could look something like this (example in Microsoft Project):

Agile project
Pros for working Agile

  • Fast time to market for a first iteration and working product/service
  • High focus on quality delivery

Cons for working Agile

  • Not all products seem suitable for this approach
  • No clear end in sight
  • It requires a team to be fully assigned to the product/service
  • Difficult to negotiate budgets to upper management

    Cons for working Agile

Making Agile and Waterfall model work together 

1. Agifall approach.

As the hype for Agile Project Management is slowly subsiding, there are more and more people that believe that Agile is not the holy grail of project management. We are coming to a more mature understanding of the overall complexity of projects in general. There are so many factors that come into play among others: politics, resource availability, budget, client’s needs, communication difficulties.

Maybe we should look for a solution that is best of both worlds. 

Maybe we can find a way to combine the Agile and traditional Waterfall methodologies. There are multiple sources that advocate a Water–Agile–fall approach. This approach will help to reach a finished product if followed properly. 

This includes ample documentation and clear goals from the start. But, it also includes an Agile part where a team will have sprints to improve the product in the phase where real development is done. This enforces fast delivery and high quality with a lot of client interaction. 

In any case; pure Agile and pure Waterfall companies are hard to come by. So, most organizations are pushed to integrate Agile into a Waterfall world, mainly because of certain departments in the organization work more towards Agile than Waterfall and the other way around. Now, let’s see the two popular hybrid methodologies-

  1. Water-Scrum-Fall approach 

Water-Scrum-Fall Approach
Water-Scrum-Fall Approach

Water-Scrum-fall model is the one model which allows the blending of Agile and Waterfall methodologies. The teams like Business analysis and Release management teams conform to the traditional Waterfall model, whereas the Development team and testing team adheres to the Scrum method in a limited way. 

In Water-Scrum-Fall approach, the processes in the traditional Waterfall model are mixed with the processes of Scrum framework model. The Waterfall processes like planning, requirements gathering, budgeting and documenting the project’s progress are integrated with the timeboxed, iterative version of Scrum during the product development. The mixing of Agile and Traditional Waterfall strategies is done if there are enough details to start the development phase.

Water-Scrum-Fall model Usage

Organizations use this approach in the following conditions-

  • When the project needs in-depth details in the planning phase to make a precise budget estimation. Because, if the project processes are well-planned, then the management can also feel secure to portion out the funds for the project implementation.  
  • The natural tendency of the developers and testers to look at the Agile practices during the development phase. This happens because the Agile methodology provides them the chance to collaborate as per the needs of the project.

 AgiFall methodology  AgiFall methodology

The motto of getting the best of Agile and Waterfall gives birth to the concept called AgiFall. This approach was first presented at Vancouver Digital Project Managers Meetup Group. It consists of the mixture of Waterfall and Agile principles. The aim is to increase the speed, decrease the cost, and most importantly improve the quality of the end-product.  

The AgiFall approach carries out the Waterfall processes like planning and requirements phases activities in an Agile manner. These activities are broken into the user stories and prioritized them in the Sprint. In this method, you don’t need to wait for one phase to finish to begin the next one. This means that you can carry on with the development process while the planning phase is going on. in AgiFall model, the development phase implements the Agile principles.

Can Agile and Waterfall Hybrid go with each other?

Today, backlog management replaced the comprehensive documentation due to the evolution of techniques. This can be the best example of successful adoption of the hybrid model. The Waterfall-Agile hybrid model is most suitable for the projects which expect that the team should address and deliver the constantly changing requirements within a limited period of time.

When the Manager has to implement a particular methodology during the Planning phase, the best way is to select that methodology which matches the project needs. Additionally, the team should have crystal clear understanding of the hybrid model and its implementation knowledge. Otherwise, it will result in a failure spreading a mess with no benefits.

Final notes

I hope you liked reading my first article on the Knowledgehut. The screenshots I took came from the Office Insider version of Microsoft Project Pro for Office 365. I’ve done a video on how to get the office insider version. This is the version that includes the newest features released by Microsoft. Such as the Agile board I’ve used in the example of Agile.

Keep Planning with Waterfall, Executing with Agile, and Speed up the Product Development process!

If you like to read more about Agile and Waterfall, here are some great articles I found interesting to read. Click to read a relevant article which I found interesting.

Erik van

Erik van Hurck

Blog Author

Erik van Hurck is a senior PPM consultant working with Projectum, a Nordics and Western Europe based Microsoft Gold partner. Erik’s contribution to the community has awarded with the status of Most Valuable Professional by Microsoft. It is Erik’s goal to help current and future users of Microsofts Project and Portfolio Management software to achieve the most while making their experiences with the tools as enjoyable as possible.

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2 comments

Deepak Singh 27 Nov 2018

Thank you Sir for very detailed article

Blessy Princes 28 Nov 2018

Do you have any branches in Hyderabad or I have to take online course?

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Scrum Master Job Descriptions and Responsibilities In Agile

Scrum stands out as one of the most dominant Agile frameworks used widely across the world. As per the ‘14th Annual State of Agile Report’ published by VersionOne, Scrum has 58% of the segment in the overall adoption of frameworks across the organizations globally. Not only has Scrum captured a large share in the industry, it is also easy to implement and brings about a more collaborative approach.   Scrum has three roles: product owner, scrum master and the development team members. It is these three roles that define the way a team works towards a single goal. Of the three roles, the role of the Scrum Master will be the focus of this article.We will talk about the qualities that make a successful Scrum master stand out from the crowd and discuss the major skill sets that employers seek from Scrum masters.Later, we will delve into how best to prepare for this role and how necessary it is for a Scrum master to possess technical knowledge related to the product or technology the team is working on. Finally, we will address how a Scrum Master can accelerate change and positively impact delivery in the team.  What is a Scrum Master?  Scrum Masters are facilitators of Scrum who act as servant leaders to drive the delivery in terms of process and product. As facilitators, scrum masters act as coaches to the rest of the team, “servant leaders” as the Scrum Guide puts it. Good scrum masters are committed to the scrum foundation and values, but remain flexible and open to opportunities for the team to improve their workflow. The Scrum Master is responsible for promoting and supporting Scrum as defined in the Scrum Guide. They do this by helping the team and the management understand the theory, practices, rules, and values of Scrum.  Roles of a Scrum Master  The scrum master is the role responsible for glueing everything together and ensuring that scrum is being done well. In practical terms, that means they help the product owner define value, the development team deliver the value, and the scrum team to get better. The scrum master is a servant leader which not only describes a supportive style of leadership but describes what they do on a day-to-day basis. The several ways that a Scrum master services the product owner, the Scrum Team and the organization are elaborated below:  The Scrum Master wears different hats to deliver results. The four main stances of a Scrum Master are explained below:  As a Facilitator The Scrum Master is a facilitator who makes sure the team is following the scrum events by serving and empowering the team in achieving their objectives. The person must be ‘neutral’ without taking sides in any conversation or meeting, at the same time, back everyone to do their best in intellectual and in practice. On the lines of facilitation, Lyssa Adkins provides a very apt statement:   A Scrum Master should facilitate by creating a "container" for the team to fill up with their ideas and innovations. The container, often a set of agenda questions or some other lightweight (and flexible) structure, gives the team just enough of a frame to stay on their purpose and promotes an environment for richer interaction, a place where fantastic ideas can be heard. The coach creates the container; the team creates the content. - Lyssa Adkins As a Coach The Scrum Master helps the team to understand the framework and accordingly coaches them for being self-organized and cross-functional. This person inspires an outlook of continuous improvement and Back the team in problem-solving and conflict resolution.   As a Servant Leader The term Servant Leader was originated by Robert K. Greenleaf, who described this term as “The servant-leader is servant first. It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead.”  The servant-leader is servant first. It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. - Robert K. Greenleaf  This person ‘leads by example’ and puts the team/individuals' needs on priority. They make sure they are setting the foundation of trust, honesty, transparency, and openness. At the same time, they are the leader whom the team can look up to.   As a Change Agent The scrum Master brings about the change in terms of process, practices, and ways of working. They act as a catalyst in the overall transformation to bring about the degree of change expected from an organization. They help the team follow the process along with helping the stakeholders understand the empirical process. They help the entire team to adopt processes and enhance the delivery.  Scrum myth: The scrum master must run the daily scrum. In fact, the scrum master does not run any of the events, just ensures they happen and that they are successful. Top Qualities of a Successful Scrum Master  As with other roles, there is a secret sauce that goes into making the Scrum Master successful. While every individual serving as a Scrum Master may bring along their own personalities and strengths to reinforce the role, there are a couple of must-have qualities which every individual donning the Scrum Master role must hone. Let’s take a quick look at these traits that can add a pinch of charm to the Scrum Master role.  Powerful Communicator: The Scrum Master needs to be very specific and clear on the communication they have with the team and with stakeholders. They must be aware of the right channels and when to use them. They should know how to influence teams for better results.  Inspires Ownership: A good Scrum Master helps the team to understand Agile principles and why the team can gain better results through the adoption of ownership. They help the team to take ownership of their tasks, their task board, process, and even small failures.  Read the Room: The Scrum Master should be able to understand and sense the temperature of the room. They should know when conflict is cropping up and how to deal with it smartly. This helps to build a culture of trust and transparency amongst the teams.  Impartial: The Scrum Master can become a star leader if they are neutral towards any situation or the individual. They focus on the problem rather on the individual. They know every individual is good and has the right intentions, it is just the situations that alter the way the team behaves. This not only helps in creating a rapport but also gives one the satisfaction of doing the right thing.   Scrum Master Job Description and Responsibilities  With the increase in demand for Scrum Masters globally, it is important to understand the job description. Every industry is different and so are their ways of working. While each organization may have their own versions of the job description for a Scrum Master as per their need in a project, we will take a closer look into the typical job description that organizations use.   Below are some of the common points you will usually find in an open position for a Scrum Master:  Standups: Organize daily stand-up meetings, facilitate, and plan other project meetings as required including demos as suitable.  Sprint reviews: Empower the team to become self-organized to consistently deliver on their sprint commitments.  Adoption of best practices: Ensure development teams enthusiastically apply core agile principles of collaboration, prioritization, accountability, and visibility.  Impediment removal: Responsible to address impediments that prevent successful development and testing of approved requirements.  Visualization of issues: Support team to detect barriers that prevent it from delivering features to the customers.  Agile master: Strong knowledge of Scrum philosophy, rules, practices, and other frameworks.  Understanding of the software development process: Familiarity with software development processes and measures to understand team requirements.  Process ownership: Harmonize scrum team with agile; collaborate with Leadership to ensure delivery teams practice Agile framework and software engineering best practices.  Stakeholder management: Work in partnership with Stakeholders, Product Managers, Business Analysts, and development managers to plan releases and manage a healthy product backlog  Metrics/reports: Endorse and present appropriate metrics to sustain continuous improvement to get the best out of each team. Report progress, team status, and issues across the board.  Transparency: Communicate development status to sponsors, participants, management, and teams. Shares weekly or bi-weekly reports to ensure everyone understands the current state.   Quality: Safeguard observance of quality standards and project deliverables. Understand principles to drive quality ethics and help in devising tools and practices for best end results.   How can I prepare for this role?  Donning the role of a Scrum Master is akin to heeding to an internal calling; the role requires a person to be patient, a good communicator, a good listener, and most of all emotionally intelligent. If you want to become a Scrum Master, make sure you understand the in-depth meaning of servant leadership. It is not just following the process and events that make up a Scrum Master, it is a huge role which requires leadership while serving the team. If this is your calling, then here are some steps you can take –   Start learning about Scrum and how effectively you can use its values and principles with your team  Start reading articles and blogs on best practices with success stories.  Prepare for the certification required to start your journey.  Make sure you have a mentor who can shape you well and can help you hone your skills  Continuously work on your communication and influencing skills.  Is it essential for a Scrum Master to possess technical knowledge?  Of late, we have started noticing many job postings where organizations specifically demand a Scrum Master who is technically sound and knows the in and out of the technology the team is working on. Traditionally, however, Scrum Master is a non-technical role where the focus is on improving the work culture, adopting Scrum/Agile and its best practices, and helping the teams to grow, become self-organized and high performing. While it is a good-to-have criterion, technical knowledge is not mandatory. But then again, it really depends on the organization and their need.  Get started with the Scrum Master role  If you want to help teams work effectively together and want to change the world with scrum and agile, then the scrum master role is for you. It is a very people-centric role with a heavy emphasis on coaching, teaching, and facilitation. The Scrum Master role can be a game-changer for project delivery. They help the team understand their true potential which most of the times teams themselves are not aware of, with the help of coaching, mentoring, and using engaging team activities that help in understanding the overall process and delivery.  The Scrum Master role is critical and needs to be handled with care as the stakes are high. 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For a long time, developers did not have a lot of freedom with their projects when it came to product development. Expected to work within the restraints provided by the top management or the sponsor of the project, and creatively limited by locked plans, developers craved to think out of the box and unleash their intuition and skills to develop a much more productive system.  This led to the rise of Agile development, a science that allows developers to be flexible and creative in delivering exactly what the users demand. Agile management took over a whole new system of development. This management system has come a long way since its birth and has now become one of the best manifestos for project management.   However, with such a heavy structure in place, there were strenuous tasks and methods involved. To get accustomed to this manifesto, you should invest in a good Agile and Scrum certification to get well versed with the different Agile tools given below: 1.  Agile Manager This tool helps organize and guide teams from the start as they work towards developing working code for an Agile model. At the beginning of this process, the manager will gather important user stories and contemplate on how to attack the problems addressed by them.  During each code sprint, the developers record their progress on user stories and their problems. The entire progress is plotted on a dashboard so that everyone is up to date with their work. Figure 1: Agile ManagerFeatures included: Creates epics and map them to releases, features and stories Uses story points for estimation Analyses sprint performance with help of dashboard and scrum Uses templates and custom statuses for process management 2. JIRA The JIRA tool is one of the best tools for project management. The team first makes a list of project tasks with the help of a tool called Confluence. Then they track the tasks on an interactive Kanban board that developers can update as they finish each task.  This Agile tool is integrated with other tools. Bamboo is a tool that offers continuous integration that pre-builds the code before evaluating it. Discussions take place through HipChat, and these revolve around the tasks and probable solutions.  Figure 2: Jira dashboardIncluded features: Issue tracking Boards Epics Bug tracking Custom fields 3. Planbox Planbox is a hierarchical tool. It offers four specific levels of organizational power, thus allowing many teams to simultaneously work towards a single goal. The topmost level is called the initiative, which is broad and abstract. They contain various projects, which are filled with tasks.  Planbox creates these projects and evaluates them to form a report. This report is prepared for the shareholders.  There are various amazing features like looping customer reviews and time tracking. This tool is integrated with Github for storage and Zendesk for tracking customer satisfaction.Image 3: Planbox dashboard4. LeanKitLeankit is a very unique tool. It aims to create a conference room type of whiteboard where most projects start from. This lets members post virtual notes on it that represent tasks, user stories or glitches, which should be addressed later.   The board has a fast update feature and lets multiple teams work together in separate spaces while still coordinating together.  Figure 4: Leankit  Included features: Board view templates Track issues and bugs Manage project portfolios Lean metrics and reporting 5. Proggio This is a next generation project management tool which focuses on and around the team instead of the task. It has a good visual representation that allows managers to create a full-project blueprint. This promises team clarity and increased planning capabilities.With the powerful task management tool, every team member is sure to be on track, and the virtual portfolio is an added accessory that helps tabulate developer progress.  Now, chasing around team members for every update is no longer necessary! Any and all progress report by the team members will clearly be reflected in the project timeline.   Figure 5: Proggio dashbarodIncluded features: Board and List views Visual tracking Better timelines Choose the Agile tool best suited for your business In this vast market, there are unlimited tools created for Agile, but the above-mentioned are the ones which yield the best results. This will help you evaluate and find the tool that functions best for your context and is comfortable for your team. With every team applying their own unique approach to the Agile methodology, choosing the right tool may appear to be a rather difficult task. However, once the Agile manifesto is in place, things are sure to run quite smoothly and profitably.  This is your first step to a professional and productive future, so get your Agile and Scrum training now! 
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Over the decades, companies across the globe have been adopting different project management frameworks and methodologies they feel are best suited to the nature of work they do. Be it IT, healthcare, fast-moving consumer goods, electronics, or automobile, organizations across domains adopt frameworks that enable them to achieve their organizational goals and best fulfil their customers’ needs.  Much before the birth of the term ‘Agile’, several project management practices like Waterfall, Kanban and XP were being followed. However, there was a wide dissatisfaction with the rigidity of some of these practices. Over the years, academicians and leaders in the industry began to discuss the need for processes that would give them more flexibility and enable them to ship software on time.  After much planning, seventeen innovative industry leaders, many of them from the software community,gathered in February of 2001 at the famous Snowbird Ski Retreat at the Wasatch mountains of Utah, US. This small, three-day retreat ended up shaping much of software is imagined, created, and delivered - and probably even how the world works. What is Agile Methodology? Agile is a mindset, a methodology that provides different frameworks working in an iterative and incremental manner to arrive at a solution.The Agile methodology focuses on creating a red-carpet, a smooth path for teams to work and deliver exceptional results to satisfy customer needs. Over the last two decades, the Agile methodology has dominated the IT industry in a big way. Not only is the Agile methodology customer focused, but it also helps teams to scale up, learn and grow. There was a time when organizations thought about Agile as a fairy-tale wand, something that could magically fix all their problems. Thankfully, with much help fromthe Agile front-liners, the enchanted fairy dust has now evaporated. People now understand that it indeed takes a lot of effort, awareness, coaching, and dedication to fix problems through Agile. Like any other method, Agile too takes time, but if applied in its true sense, the results can be very fulfilling. The Magic Potion: Agile Values and Principles With the coining of the term ‘Agile’, its foundation was laid, the beautiful truth on how to move forward and abide by the rules and values of Agile. At the Snowbird retreat, the seventeen leaders put together a manifesto. The Agile Manifesto is unique among typical manifestos in that it does not declare truths self-evident. Rather, it compares: We value this over that. Image: At the Snowbird retreat in 2001, 17 leaders came together to "uncover better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it". The Agile Manifesto was thus born.At Snowbird, the leaders began to lay out what they had in common and when they compared how they did their work, they were amazed at the things that were the same. They went on to finalize the four lines of the manifesto which forms the backbone of all the frameworks that come under the Agile umbrella. Every line has deep meaning associated with it and you will be surprised by its wide-spread relevance across domains. So, what is the Agile manifesto? The preamble reads, “We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it.” It then lays out the four core values: The document concludes that “while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.” Although the words can be interpreted differently, the basic gist is this: Put people over process. Focus on making software that works, not documents about that software. Work with your client rather than fight over a contract. And along the way, be open to change. With the above four core values, the authors also devised twelve principles that help teams to understand and adopt Agile as their way of working. Even if teams are yet to learn how to use any of the frameworks or how to work around the ceremonies, if they understand and adopt the four values and twelve principles, the battle is won. What are the various Agile Methodologies? Under the overarching Agile umbrella, many frameworks operate and cater to different industries and market needs. Let us look at some of the most widely used Agile frameworks: ScrumScrum is an incremental and iterative way of working in a time-boxed manner to solve complex adaptive problems. It is a widely used approach as per the 14th Annual Report by VersionOne and has 58% on the total market share in terms of framework adoption. KanbanIt is a concept of a scheduling system for lean manufacturing and just-in-time manufacturing. Derived from a Japanese word, it signifies a signboard or the physical board with lanes to track the activity. This system helps to improve and optimize the flow of work items.  XP (Extreme Programming)Originated by Kent Beck, Extreme Programming is a software development methodology conceived to improve the quality of the product and its capability to suitably adjust to the shifting needs of the stakeholders. It is a set of engineering practices. FDD (Feature Driven Development)It is customer-centric, iterative, and incremental, to deliver tangible software results often and efficiently. FDD in Agile encourages status reporting at all levels, which helps to track progress and results.  DSDM (Dynamic System Development Method)This has been developed to work on usual problems confronted by projects such as late delivery, rate overruns or the final outcome not being accepted by the clients. It is an Agile-based approach that is collaborative and flexible, yet remaining attentive on reaching goals and sustaining the suitable level of excellence and consistency.  What is the Scrum Methodology? Scrum is an agile project management framework that revolves around an incremental and iterative approach where the focus is on delivering increments in a time-boxed manner. Scrum supports the collaborative approach of working towards a solution and is based on the Agile Manifesto and principles. The Scrum framework comprises of: Three rolesScrum Master, development team and the product owner Scrum EventsSprint Planning, Daily Standup, Sprint Review, and Sprint Retrospective. ArtifactsProduct Backlog, Sprint Backlog, Task-Board, Burndown charts, Sprint Goal  Agile vs. Scrum: Similarities and Differences While Agile provides an umbrella for different frameworks that share common values and principles as prescribed by the Agile Manifesto, Scrum is a subset of Agile and has inherited the foundation and beliefs from its superset. Let us look at some of the similarities and differences between Agile and Scrum: AreaAgileScrumIs a Mindset/philosophyYesIs a FrameworkYesHas events/ceremoniesYesHas ValuesYesYesHas defined rolesYesFocus on Continuous ImprovementYesYesFocus on Faster DeliveryYesYesTransparencyYesYesCustomer SatisfactionYesYesBest practices in Agile Though Agile has certain principles and values to define how teams should function, it is also necessary to adhere to the best practices to get the finest implementation of the methodology. Here are some of them: Deliver in IncrementsIncrementing helps the teams and stakeholders stay in control of the development step-by-step. They discover and refine the backlog as they move forward rather than create a huge backlog upfront as was the case traditionally.  Frequent InteractionsCommunication is the key to success. The more collaboratively the team works along with the client, the more the satisfaction on both ends. This helps to meet the expected requirements and greater clarity on the next assignment. ReflectionIt is critical to introspect as an individual and retrospect as a team to see how they are functioning and what can be improved to make it much better. Best Practices in Scrum With extensive use of Scrum, organizations now have their own success stories along with a bundle of learning on what went well and where they had to struggle. This paved way for expanding the list of best practices one can follow to stay on track with the framework. To list out few: StoryBoardHave a live storyboard, let the team update their deliverables. The Scrum Master can help the team understand the value they can derive from it. Productive EventsStick to the agenda of the scrum ceremonies, make it timeboxed Capacity PlanningPlan your sprint as per the available capacity so that the teams are not overburdened. BlockersMake the impediments very much visible to all the stakeholders and the management. Backlog ManagementEffectively manage the backlog, as much as possible, refine, and prioritize. Strong AtmosphereCreate a collaborative healthy environment where the individuals can voice out their concerns. ImprovementContinuously improve the way team interacts and communicates with the clients Mirror Your workBe transparent and honest with the metrics and burndown charts amongst the team Follow scrum valuesThey really help in the long run. And last, but not the least, be agile! Conclusion Every framework is different and applying each one in the right spirit and context is the key to success.The Agile methodology is a fantastic way of working and is helpful to everyone involved. Best of all, it aims to help individuals attain their highest potential in terms of capacity and capability.  It is worthwhile reiterating that Agile is not limited to software development; it is a mindset and a way of life. And with the world constantly adapting to newer ways of working, Agile is the way to go
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What is Agile? What is Scrum?

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