Whether you’re working with low-code, high-code or a business-focused activity, there is never a single, static answer to which Agile approach you should use. That said, if you’ve analyzed your organizational and team needs using the questions in the previous paragraph, some characteristics, needs, and patterns should emerge, which help you determine the best approach.
Scrum or Scrumban
Teams who feel they perform better with greater structure and a regular cadence may find Scrum or Scrumban is the best choice. Scrum is the most popular Agile framework for a good reason; it is easy to understand and highly effective. Examples of situations where Scrum or Scrumban may be the best approach include the following:
New teams. If you’re early in the journey through Tuckman’s Stages of Team Development, Scrum may be the best choice. The clearly defined roles in Scrum provide an excellent guide for team members to make sure they understand their role and contribution to the team.
Blended teams. Blended teams may include a combination of on or off-shore teams, company employees and consultants, and, more likely today, citizen and professional developers. In these situations, team members often have different experiences and views on how to build digital products. Scrum provides the structure and definition of how to build your products. In particular, Scrum can help guide conversations across multi-cultural and cross-functional teams about how to structure and deliver a product backlog.
Low-code teams comfortable with less structure and more flexibility may find Kanban a better choice. Some people feel that Kanban is a natural evolution from Scrum or Scrumban, but that’s not necessarily the case. The best choice may be to jump right into Kanban, full-throttle from the start. Some examples where Kanban fits best includes the following:
Speed is the #1 priority. In situations where you have a mature team and speed to market is the most important factor (when isn’t it?), Kanban is usually the best choice. Kanban encourages self-organization, enables flexibility and delivery while minimizing formality and process overhead. Teams use quantitative metrics to drive efficiency and improvement.
Mature technical teams. Teams with strong expertise with low-code development can benefit from the focus on efficiencies from limited work in process and flow through the system. With fewer basic technical questions to consider, teams can focus on increased real-time collaboration with product owners and end users, for example.
Mature agile teams. If your team demonstrates a deep understanding of Agile development and the ability to deliver value consistently, Kanban may enable them to accelerate further with low-code. For example, mature Agile teams can benefit from defining release dates based on the work to do rather than a timeboxed, fixed-length sprint. That can reduce planning and estimating overhead and deliver product-to-market faster.
High performing functional teams. Succeeding with Kanban requires maximum flexibility and responsiveness. Those characteristics need to extend to team members responsible for defining requirements. Kanban does not specify the Product Owner role, but in practice, someone must be able to describe the value for users and make decisions about what to build. In addition, without a deep backlog of high-quality user stories at the start and a process for defining new requirements at the same pace as low-code development, teams simply cannot maximize the speed of low-code.
Flexibility to choose cadence and duration. It’s not always efficient or practical to develop products neatly in fixed-length sprints. You may have a single or multiple teams building application components of varying sizes. Rather than breaking up parts to fit into regular, fixed-length sprints, it is more efficient to build them as releases of varying lengths. In cases where parallel teams, sometimes with varying levels of skill and maturity, are building product components of different sizes, using Kanban to manage these release cycles makes sense.
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