Agile framework: types, methodology and how to choose one

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 14 April 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Frameworks such as Scrum, kanban, Lean and Crystal help promote flexibility in managing changing priorities and constant feedback from projects. They help grow the agile software development process in an organisation. If you're considering choosing a suitable agile framework that can help the development team to deliver its best, then besides a collaborative discussion among team members, stakeholders and leaders, it's essential to have an in-depth understanding of how it functions. In this article, we describe what an agile framework is, its different types and how to choose one.

What is an agile framework?

An agile framework in software development deals with elements that facilitate continuous planning, integration and testing while running a project. An agile framework is easy to work with compared to other traditional development methods. It also treats individuals and interactions as priorities rather than processes and tools. The success of a project depends on the type of framework used.

Agile is a set of principles that shape the operations that project managers use during software development. It permits teamwork amongst developers, making the decision-making process among team members easier. The agile framework helps project managers practice adaptation during projects and focuses on quality and constant feedback. Agile software development operations depend on four core values which focus more on interactions and individuals rather than processes and tools, customer collaboration over contract negotiation, the ability to respond to change over following a standard plan and working software over comprehensive documentation.

Related: Software engineering vs computer science: the differences you need to know

Different types of agile frameworks

The different types of agile frameworks in software development include:

Scrum

This type of agile framework is quite common. It provides a team-level framework for project management and is suitable for information technology teams. It also helps the production team deliver their first project faster. Scrum helps software developers have changing options and requirements. Among other advantages, Scrum helps make complex work in need of skills easy to complete. It comprises three roles, five events and three artefacts that help it function effectively. Some tips for using the scrum framework include:

  • conduct proper research about Scrum

  • work with a trusted agile advisor

  • build interest and excitement amongst team members before using scrum

Kanban

The kanban framework has three important principles. This includes:

  • starting with what you do now

  • accepting to adopt incremental and evolutionary change

  • respecting the current process, roles and titles

With kanban, you can work with organisations that wish to add regular and gradual changes to their structure. It also improves hardware products or software that can take time to upgrade. Try to research more about kanban, work with an expert coach and start with a small group when considering using this framework.

Extreme programming (XP)

This framework is more complex than scrum and kanban. XP operates with five values, those being simplicity, communication, feedback, respect and courage. This framework can go with any software development project. To get qualitative results from XP, you need support from team members, middle management and executive management. Discipline and investments are also pivotal to getting quality results. To use XP well, it's essential to read about it and let a coach guide you and be patient.

OpenAgile

OpenAgile is a new framework built on unique values. It helps groups with an emphasis on team coherence. It also helps staff with their simple structure to be more productive. With the OpenAgile framework, you learn to understand how valuable human beings are and how working together without pride can be beneficial.

Lean

Lean software development is a set of guiding principles made to complement some set values in the Agile Manifesto. The principles guiding Lean software development are continuous learning, fast delivery, eliminating waste, deferring decisions and building integrity.

Scaled agile framework (SAFe)

SAFe combines elements from Scrum and kanban with Lean and agile DevOps to create a method that suits a bigger agile team. The SAFe framework is stronger and more productive than the other agile methods. It also concentrates on team members' activities and cost-effectiveness.

Dynamic system development method (DSDM)

This overarching framework aims to have applications in every part of an organisation. DSDM functions at every stage of a project, from start to finish. It's now used holistically as a development tool to address issues with rapid action development. The DSDM focuses on the principles of business needs, timely delivery, collaborations, iterative development, control and building incrementally from firm foundations.

Feature-driven development (FDD)

Feature-driven development upgrades small development teams to bigger projects. It merges the benefits of agile methodology with model-driven approaches. It's also made up of five stages of work, which include the development, listing, designing, planning and building stages. The feature-driven development divides projects into five activities which are planning by feature, building a feature list, developing an overall model, designing by feature and building by feature.

Related: How to become a computer programmer in 7 steps (plus skills)

How to choose an agile framework

Every agile framework has its advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, choosing a suitable framework depends on what provides the most value to you. Other factors, such as team size, organisation structure, resources and customer needs, can also influence your choice of agile framework. Here are some basic steps for choosing an agile framework:

1. Specify your objectives

Making a list of your goals, qualities and expectations from a framework can help you search for the right agile framework. Every framework is unique, and being aware of this helps you make the right choice.

2. Review potential framework

Select a few potential frameworks out of the existing many that are likely to benefit your project. Also, choose a framework according to the parameters you have set. After you've selected a few frameworks, review them with your team members for a better understanding of what works.

3. Gather input from your team

While deciding on the framework to use, try to gather input from your team members. Since your team members are working with you on any selected framework, it's important you listen to their opinions. Gathering information within large companies may require sending out a survey to accomplish this.

4. Decide and implement together

Once you've gathered the input of your team members, the next thing is to decide which framework is best for you. While deciding on the right framework, consider the different factors before choosing one. Then, implement the framework suitable for your team's strengths, needs and operations.

5. Evaluate your framework

After you've implemented a framework, evaluate its effects regularly. You evaluate your framework by tracking your productivity and the satisfaction of team members. Evaluating your framework also helps you know if it works as expected.

Is agile a methodology or a framework?

Many people misunderstand the terms 'methodology' and 'framework' in the context of software development. Agile as a methodology came into existence in 2001 after the publication of the Agile Manifesto. For a better understanding, here are some definitions of the terms:

Methodology

Methodologies in programming are a set of tools or practices used for implementing programs. The word 'ology' means the study of something. Therefore, methodology means the study of methods. Examples of some programming methodologies are agile, Scrum and kanban. With a methodology, you can achieve a set goal systematically.

Framework

In programming, a framework is a platform on which you can create or 'build' software applications. They're structured approaches that help focus your attention on some aspects of a problem. A framework is a pre-defined rule that brings solutions to problems. For example, you may use software frameworks like Python, JavaScript, Java and jQuery. Programmers work with frameworks, as it saves them the time and energy of writing codes from scratch.

Related: How to write code in 6 steps (tips and career opportunities)

Differences between framework and methodology

Framework and methodology have apparent differences, and they include:

  • You can systematically use a methodology to solve a problem, while the framework is a skeletal and structured approach required to develop a model.

  • A methodology is a tool that enhances the systematic planning and structuring of a code or software application. In contrast, a framework is a reusable design platform.

  • Frameworks are more flexible than methodologies, as they have reusable components and shortcut approaches for coding. It saves developers the time of writing code from the beginning, while methodologies work with sets of pre-defined rules that typically make it a less creative approach.

Agile as a methodology

Unlike flexible frameworks, methodologies are typically rigid systems and methods that help solve a problem. The Agile software development methodology works with time-boxed project cycles called 'sprints'. Sprints are short time intervals that team members use to work on a set of features called 'user stories'. Agile isn't technically a framework because it's broad in nature and covers a variety of elements and project methods.

Furthermore, agile as a methodology shows a commitment to tight feedback cycles and continuous improvement. Both frameworks and methodologies have similar goals of facilitating productivity in software development, which is why agile is occasionally referred to as both a framework and methodology.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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