A Comparison of Leading Agile Approaches

Publised On: Sep 04, 2020

We are becoming more and more agile with a heavy focus on agile approaches to manage our professional work around business as usual (BAU) and projects/ programmes. A question is often asked, which agile approach should I follow and get certified in it? The answer is not a simple one as it completely depends on individual’s background and what domain the individual works in. Additionally, the professional setup they work in may have some preferences. 

We have tried to present a “lean” comparison below to help individuals make a rational decision.

Scrum:

  • Perhaps the most well-known agile approach
  • Some people believe scrum is agile and agile is scrum
  • Scrum is primarily software (product) development focused
  • Scrum’s simplicity is perhaps its biggest strength – very easy to explain and follow
  • Its simplicity is also it’s weakness – Scrum standalone is not suitable as a project management methodology
  • Product Owner role is assumed to have all the knowledge making this role a single point of failure

eXtreme Programming (XP)

  • Collection of (very good) software engineering practices (Test driven development, continuous integration, etc)
  • As the name suggests, pure software development focus
  • XP has no project concept within
  • It is purely for technical team working in Software Development environment
  • XP’s concept of “no design upfront” is impractical for complex and large initiatives

Lean and Kanban

  • Lean is a practice to eliminate waste in production (industrial) environment
  • Emerged from Toyota Production Systems
  • Kanban is a Lean technique which visualizes the work flow (also called “Information Radiator” and/ or “Team Board”)
  • Focuses heavily on Agile principal of “Transparency”
  • Works around the concept of “Pulling” work instead of “Pushing” it
  • Not a project management methodology – purely assisting in workflow

Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe)

  • Focus is heavily on technology
  • Excellent for solution development where multiple teams contributing to a single product                     
  • End-to-end SAFe life cycle has been summarised in single diagram, which is great
  • SAFe does not focus on business or business change
  • Programme and Portfolio are two terms used in SAFe but in completely different meanings

Agile Project Management (AgilePM) based on DSDM AgilePM Framework

  • Agile Project Management (AgilePM) is based on DSDM’s AgilePM Framework
  • Focuses on end-to-end project delivery with full life cycle
  • Not limited to IT or Software Development only, can be used in any industry
  • Equally good for small and large/ complex projects
  • AgilePM’s weakness is the fact that it is very detailed – Agile is supposed to be light!
  • Agile Programme Management (AgilePgM) is the next step which is a programme management framework

PRINCE2 Agile

  • An amalgamation of PRINCE2 and Agile concepts
  • Has PRINCE2 at the core but claims no preference for any agile method, however, it is more closer to Scrum and Lean
  • PRINCE2 is a heavy-weight project management methodology, though there is a lot of guidance on “tailoring”
  • PRINCE2 Agile is naturally “heavier” than its rivals
  • PRINCE2 Agile believes in “how much” agile rather than agile or not agile

PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)

  • An amalgamation of PMBoK and a lot of agile concepts
  • PMBoK is a heavy-weight project management methodology, though in the latest revision there is guidance provided on “tailoring” as well
  • PMI-ACP is naturally “heavier” than its rivals
  • Following PMP examination principles, PMI-ACP exam tests each and every bit of candidate’s project management and Agile knowledge in the lengthiest exam in agile world

So which one should I go for?

As mention in the introduction, the answer is not a simple one as it completely depends on individual’s background and what domain the individual works in. Additionally, the professional setup they work in may have some preferences. 

For a detailed discussion, please get in touch with Tecknologia and we will be happy to assess your situation and share our guidance.