Introduction to AGILE (Scrum & Kanban)

Agile is a tool/methodology that will help implementing projects successfully. It does not guarantee for a success in the project as it just a tool. It suggests methods and direction to speed up the process and implement them in an organized fashion. When we talk about agile we would have heard about different flavors of agile. Let’s take a look at that.
What is Scrum:
It is a cross-functional self organized team working in isolation (often called black box) within time boxed iteration called sprints. Now let’s see how it works:
Scrum has very few prescriptive compared to other methodologies like waterfall, RUP (Rational Unified Process) and XP (Extreme Programming). Some of them as follow:
1. Three roles – PO (Project Owner), Team and Scrum Master.
2. Daily scrums (daily standup meeting usually 15 minutes).
3. Time boxed iterations called sprints (1 to 4 weeks).
4. Burn down chart.
5. Retrospectives (feedback loop).
Velocity (The number of stories or activities that can be completed) been calculated on each sprint that helps in making estimates. When the activities are broken even then the velocity calculation will be more accurate for the future estimation.
What is Kanban:
It is a WIP (work in progress) limited pull method. Let’s take a look how it works.
Kanban does not suggest any roles and it allows you to decide on selecting the roles. And it is not necessarily to have a cross functional team like Scrum. It means it works with departmentalized environment. The only restriction is the limit on WIP items and this will help the flow of activities.
This is how a Kanban board will look like (Always the activities move from left to right):
Step:1
step1
At the start of the project PO (Project Owner) adds the activities to the ‘Backlog’ and prioritizes in the ‘To do’ columns. There should be an understanding with the team on how to pull the activities, for example always from top or first come first out or so.

Step:2
step2
The team pulls up the activities ‘A’ and ‘B’ and starts the work.

Step:3
step3
Team completes ‘A’ and moves it to Done and starts work on ‘C’. PO (project owner) introduces an new activity ‘G’ and this will not be possible in Scrum (have to wait till next sprint).

Step:4
step4
Release team was able to move the ‘A’ into production. The team completes on ‘B’ and ‘C’ and starts to work on ‘D’ and ‘E’. PO prioritizes ‘G’ over ‘F’

Step:5
step5
Team completes ‘D’ and ‘E’ and ready to start with ‘G’ but could not move as Done already has 2 and that is the limit. Whereas team also could not start on ‘G’ because of the limit that it has. This indicates that there is a bottle neck towards right and that needs attention. So team goes and helps with the release of ‘B’ and ‘C’ before it take up new work to make sure the flow happens.

The kanban measures lead time (as opposed to velocity in scrum). The lead time is the time taken for the activity to move from left to all the way right. When the activities are of even size the lead time will help in future estimation.

1 Comment »

  1. Jane said

    Excellent article, easy to understand.

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