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The Agile Manifesto Outlines the Core Tenets, But Each Framework Is Still Different

The Agile Manifesto is what sets the core principles for several methodologies in existence. All of them have this in common, while the methodology itself is a unique application designed for the organization that is deploying it.

The manifesto was created in 2001, by a group of 17 software programming practitioners. They constructed and outlined four major tenets that all agile methodologies must follow:

1. Individuals and interactions are valued over processes and tools

2. Working software takes precedence over comprehensive documentation and or resources

3. Customer collaboration is highly important, more so than a contract negotiation or traditional agreement

4. All must be ready to respond and adapt to change as opposed to following a plan set in stone

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Agile itself is the idea of working incrementally and in a flexible state so as to prepare for what may lie ahead. It also calls for direct collaboration and streamlined processes between all departments and members of a team. Almost three-quarters or 71% of organizations report using Agile approaches either sometimes, often, or always during operations. So, it's a relatively popular approach for modern organizations, especially in software development.

Each methodology within agile is referred to as a framework. The three most popular include Scrum, Kanban, and Extreme Programming. However, there are many other frameworks that exist, such as DSDM, waterfall, scaled agile, and more. Although, bear in mind not all of them have their roots in Agile, but instead may be a mix of separate methodologies.

What's the difference between frameworks?

While nearly every framework in the agile family follows the same four tenets, the particulars are what make all the difference during a project. Each framework, if you will, has its own approach to development and production, and as such, they all have ideal situations for use.

Scrum is much more broad-brush regarding software development and building, and it is meant to control and organize iterative work at a higher project level. It is scope creep and works to waylay any potential problems that may occur and could cause significant delay later on during production.

Extreme Programming, on the other hand, introduces a closer involvement between customer and development team. The customer or client that orders the software drives the most important phases of production and remains highly influential throughout.

As you may expect, there are pros and cons to go along with each framework that make them suitable for specific situations.

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How to choose a framework

Answering a question about the framework you should use is a lot like picking out a physical tool from a toolbox before you know what the job is. You may pick up a hammer or a screwdriver, but when you get to the actual work portion, you realize that the tool you have in your hand is ineffective.

Frameworks, even those from the same family, follow the same concept. First, you must understand the project and or duties laid out before you. The real question you should be asking is which framework best suits your current project and which will help your team be most effective and accurate?

A lot of administrators get too caught up in the choice as if there's only one framework or option that trumps them all. But once you understand that each framework has its uses, and each can be adapted to meet certain specifications, you'll realize that nearly anything is possible.

What matters most is that you follow the major tenets of agile throughout the scope of your project.

Why the framework you choose matters

That leads us to our final question, why does the agile framework you choose for your project and team matter? If they're all essentially the same, what difference does it make? Why would you choose a single framework over another?

In the end, it's about the effectiveness with which you complete your project. You want to remain within the scope of your original plan, you want to minimize production time and costs, and you want to create a final product that satisfies every need of your client or customer. Each framework is designed to help you achieve these things in a multitude of ways. Extreme Programming, for instance, is fast, aggressive, and absolutely must have collaboration between the customer and your team. Feature-Driven Development or FDD is slower, more methodical, and promotes tight control over the entire development process. Design and coding inspections are performed regularly, slowing down production and development, but also resulting in a high-quality product.

Out of all failed agile implementations, 63% of respondents cite that the clash between their company's culture and Agile's business philosophy is the problem. This highlights the need to not just adapt the agile framework to your business and team, but to choose the right one.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach or answer to the framework question. Each can be considered their own tool for a specific job, just like a screwdriver or a hammer. You'll want to review and assess your team, and IT environment especially and then apply the framework that fits your system.

There's no question about Agile; it can be the answer that drives your entire team and production system to new levels of productivity and efficiency. There is the question about which tool is right for the job. It's up to you to choose the right one, and ensure that it's applied correctly.

About PSL:

PSL Corp. delivers high-quality software engineering solutions by mastering advanced processes and technologies, such as big data, machine learning, and DevOps, among others. The company's reliable nearshore model, coupled with its top-tier, extensively trained software engineers, allows for efficient agile iterations and a focus on continuous experimentation.

Sources:

http://agilemanifesto.org/history.html

https://www.pmi.org/-/media/pmi/documents/public/pdf/learning/thought-leadership/pulse/pulse-of-the-profession-2017.pdf

https://dzone.com/articles/introduction-feature-driven

http://www.agile247.pl/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/versionone-11th-annual-state-of-agile-report.pdf