Agile methodologies

There are several Agile methodologies used by modern organizations. All share similar approaches, attributes, and practices but vary in how they are implemented.
Agile methodologies

Contemporary agile approaches

There are several Agile methodologies used by modern organizations. All share similar approaches, attributes, and practices but vary in how they are implemented.

Some agile approaches require a complete restructuring of business practices and roles within an organization, others can be quite easily integrated into pre-existing project governance frameworks.

Some of the most popular agile approaches include the following.


Scrum is a lightweight agile project management framework that can be used to govern iterative projects of all types. Scrum has gained increasing popularity in the agile community due to its simplicity, ease of use, scalability and ability to be used in combination with other agile methodologies.

In Scrum methodology, product owners work closely with developers to create a product backlog. The backlog consists of features, product requirements and anything else that needs to be completed to deliver a working product to consumers.

Tasks are prioritized by the product owner. Development teams divide the work amongst themselves and aim to deliver increasingly complete, complex and fine-tuned products over multiple iterations.

Once an iteration has been started, nothing else can be added to a development team’s schedule. When the iteration has been completed, the backlog is analysed and reprioritized.

DSDM (AgilePM)

DSDM is one of the oldest agile methods. Developed in the mid 1990’s, the DSDM Consortium was an original signatory to the Agile Manifesto.

DSDM differs from most agile methodologies, in that it comes with a built-in project management capability. Whereas Scrum focuses on development teams, DSDM provides a broader business-focus which helps an organisation justify its investment in projects.

In recent years, DSDM formed the basis of the Agile Project Management method and Agile PM certification scheme.

Lean agile development

Lean agile development methods are another iterative approach initially developed for use in the IT industry. Lean methods have been used to great effect in the manufacturing industry and is used by large organizations such as Toyota.

Lean agile focuses an improving the efficiency of the mechanisms that deliver value. It focuses almost exclusively on the actual development process rather than the product and trusts that better development practices will naturally provide more value to consumers by providing cheaper, high-quality goods.

Lean agile methodology eliminates waste and inefficient processes by identifying the value-positive elements of production and removing those that hinder or slow progress. It emphasizes speed and efficient workflows, relying on quick and reliable feedback between developers and consumers.

Lean focuses on the idea of work being ‘pulled’ by consumer request. Small teams are given almost complete autonomy over their work. Management is only required to ensure that developers have access to pools of assets required to complete their tasks, thus minimizing inter-departmental work dependencies.

Lean agile also heavily favours the use of automation, not only in the sense of software but in the ability for individuals and teams. Think of Lean agile as a ‘sandbox.’ Workers are given tools and resources and are otherwise left to their own devices.

Extreme Programming (XP)

XP has become one of the most popular agile methodologies used in the IT industry. Unlike many other agile methods that focus on autonomy and self-organizing teams, XP is a strictly disciplined approach that incorporates agile values and principles through rigorous and thorough project governance.

XP encourages rapid feedback, constant testing, continuous planning, customer involvement and teamwork to help deliver working software.

Creator of XP, Don Wells has depicted the XP process visually to help understand the XP framework. In conjunction with consumers, development teams estimate, plan and deliver functions defined by user stories on an iterative basis.

To support productivity XP asks for little documentation and focuses rather on customer feedback to improve products.


The Crystal agile method is one of the most lightweight, flexible agile approach designed specifically for small teams without the limitless time and financial backing required to help implement enterprise change.

Crystal is composed of different ‘levels’ of governance including Crystal Clear, Yellow, Organza and so on. The unique features of these methods are determined by team size, project complexity and system criticality.

The Crystal method recognizes that each project requires tailored policies, practices and processes to meet the demands of unique project contexts.

Key principles of Crystal include teamwork, transparency, communication and simplicity. It promotes prompt delivery of services or products, user involvement, adaptability and the removal of managerial influence/micro-management.

Lightweight agile methods

There are also many other ‘lightweight’ agile methods such as Kanban or Leankit. These methods don’t require expensive staff training or enterprise change and can even be integrated into non-agile work environments. They function more as collaborative tools to help development teams chart and track their workflow.

Which agile method is right for me?

Choosing the right agile framework to structure your business practice and project development is a difficult task.

Agile isn’t just a project management methodology, it’s a mindset. As such, it only works if those involved really believe in agile practices and do their best to contribute towards creating an agile work environment.

That’s no easy task. Luckily, the process is made easier by the wealth of agile training online which is available. Make no mistake, training is arguably the most vital aspect of agile, which relies on transparency and understanding of its principles to work effectively.

If you’re unsure whether you can fund the enterprise change required to adopt more complex agile methodologies such as Scrum, consider a more lightweight approach such as Crystal. Or, perhaps dip your toes into the agile method by using an agile collaborative tool such as Kanban to see how your employees react to the introduction of agile in the workplace.

This website use cookies.