Agile, Scrum, Lean: Methodology & Project Management

Agile Scrum Lean Methodology

A key principle of the Agile, Scrum, and Lean methodologies and project management styles is the volatile and ever-changing market conditions and list of demands. These project management styles increase the speed of business value development and simultaneously reduce business risk.

What is Agile Methodology

Agile methodology is an alternative to traditional project management, typically used in software development. Agile methodologies are an alternative to waterfall, or traditional sequential project development. Agile software development, in its simplest form, offers a lightweight framework for helping teams, given constant changes, maintain a focus on rapid delivery of usable products. Instead of waiting until the end of a project to test the entire software package, individual usable components of the overall program are developed, tested and released as the software development project moves forward. Through continuous product planning, development, testing and feedback, the agile project management methodology maximizes value and minimizes risk.

What is Scrum Methodology

Scrum methodology emphasizes close collaboration of all team members, usable feedback from user testing, team self management, and short product development intervals. The scrum master is a facilitator who is accountable for removing project hurdles and impediments. The scrum master is not a traditional team lead or project manager, but acts as a buffer between the team and any distractions. The scrum master ensures that the scrum process is used as intended.

What is Lean Methodology

Lean project management is a philosophy and methodology derived significantly from the Toyota Production System (TPS). The primary focus of this system is the focus on those activities which add value to the business and reduce activities which do not. Its focus is on simplicity of design, increased productivity, reduced order fulfillment times, and the recognition that there is always room for improvement.

12 Principles of the Agile Methodology and Project Management System

1) Customer satisfaction through early and continuous delivery of business value.
2) Continuous adjustment to ever-changing requirements.
3) Working modules or components delivered frequently (the shorter the interval the better).
4) Close working relationship with all involved (business people, technology developers, end users, customers).
5) Project teams are built around trusted and motivated individuals who are not micro-managed.
6) Face-to-face conversation is the best form of communication.
7) Working components (ex: software) is the primary measure of progress.
8) Sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
9) Continuous attention to technical excellence and great design.
10) Simplicity of systems – the art is minimizing work and maximizing value.
11) Self-organizing teams.
12) Continuous adaptation to changing circumstances.

10 Elements of the Lean Methodology and Project Management System

5S / Visual Workplace
Sort – Remove all unnecessary materials and equipment.
Straighten – Organize and put everything in its place.
Shine – Clean everything.
Standardize – Establish policies and procedures to ensure 5S.
Sustain – Train others and follow 5S in daily activities.

7 Wastes / Things to Avoid
Excess Inventory
Non-Value Added Processes
Underutilized People
Excess Motion / Excess Effort
Transitions Between Development Phases

Cellular Production
Organization of efforts into small teams.

Continuous improvement.

Kanban / Pull
In a Kanban Lean environment, no requirements would enter the development phase until all development on current requirements are finished. No features would be turned over to Quality Assurance (QA) until current testing is completed, and so on. This chain continues until the production release point of the product. The demand must be high enough to forecast the purchase of the feature, and that the revenue from the feature contributes more than the cost of development to the margin.

Just In Time (JIT)
Processes are not begun or materials are not delivered until they are needed.

Poka-Yoke / Avoid Mistakes
A poka-yoke is any mechanism in a lean manufacturing process that helps an equipment operator avoid mistakes. Its purpose is to eliminate product defects by preventing, correcting, or drawing attention to human errors as they occur.

Theory of Constraints
Removing production bottlenecks to improve efficient processing.

Total Productive Maintenance
Improving quality by empowering everyone involved in the process

Genba / Place Where Humans Create Value
The genba walk, much like Management By Walking Around (MBWA), is an activity that takes management to the front lines to look for waste and opportunities to practice practical improvement.