An Introductory Guide to the Different Types of Agile Methodology

According to recent statistics, more than 95 percent of organizations are already using agile methodology. If you haven’t adopted one yet, you may feel it’s high time to get on board.

Even if you are using an agile methodology, you might wonder if your organization is really using the right one.

This guide can help. It provides an overview of the different types of agile methodology you can use. With it in hand, you should be able to decide on the right method for your business.


Scrum is one of the more popular agile frameworks available. It’s known for its proven productivity. Since Scrum is so common, experience with it may be a requirement for certificates, like the Scaled Agile exam.

The Scrum framework focuses on management. Its flexible and lightweight nature make it useful for both iterative and incremental projects. Better yet, Scrum is flexible enough to incorporate other agile practices.

With Scrum, a Product Owner works with their team to identify and rank system functions. They create a Product Backlog, which tells the team what needs to be done to deliver a working software system.

Cross-functional teams then sign up to deliver shippable increments of software. They create these during Sprints, which last around 30 days. Once the Sprint is over, the Product Backlog is analyzed, and the next set of deliverables is chosen for the next Sprint.

Although Scrum is for software, it can be applied to almost anything in any business. That’s one reason it’s become so popular.

Scrum is also one of the stricter frameworks available. Some people consider it difficult to master, because of the discipline it demands.

Scrum works best for small teams working together on complex projects. It’s less suitable for large teams working on a variety of projects.


Like Scrum, Crystal is a lightweight framework. It’s also highly adaptable. Crystal puts the focus on interactions between different members of the team.

To that end, this framework emphasizes communication and teamwork. It also promotes a flat hierarchy and the removal of “red tape,” so people can work without barriers.

Crystal also integrates reflective practices so the process can be adjusted and improved. Like other types of agile methodologies, it promotes frequent delivery of working software.

Crystal promotes the idea that every project is unique. It tends to be much less prescriptive than frameworks like Scrum. That makes it more adaptable and suitable for just about any project you can imagine.

Feature-Driven Design (FDD)

Feature-driven design, or FDD, is a short-iteration process that’s driven by models. It adds software engineering best practices like developing by feature and code ownership.

The FFD methodology has five basic activities:

  • Developing an overall model
  • Building a feature list
  • Planning by feature
  • Designing by feature
  • Building by feature

The model should give rise to the feature list. Each feature should take about two weeks to build. If they take longer, they need to be broken down more.

Since it puts features front and center, it can help agile managers maintain control.

Dynamic Systems Development Method

The Dynamic Systems Development Method grew out of the need for a common industry framework. It provides a comprehensive foundation for all aspects of agile frameworks.

The framework functions on eight key principles:

  • Focus on business need
  • Deliver on time
  • Collaborate
  • Never compromise quality
  • Develop iteratively
  • Build incrementally
  • Communicate continuously
  • Show control

Like Scrum, DSDM uses sprints to develop system requirements. This allows for the rapid development of software. Requirements are prioritized according to MoSCoW rules.

These rules identify which requirements are must haves, should haves, could haves, and won’t haves right now. Each critical feature must be completed within the sprint or time-box. It’s important that not every requirement within a time-box is considered “critical.”

Lean Types of Agile Methodology

Lean is sometimes thought of as an type of agile methodology on its own. Lean was developed in manufacturing, although its principles work with agile.

Like their manufacturing counterpart, Lean methodologies usually focus on:

  • Deciding as late as possible
  • Delivering as fast as possible
  • Eliminating waste
  • Seeing the whole

Other principles, like team empowerment and integrity, are also important.

Lean methodology focuses on selecting the valuable features of a system. Those features are then prioritized and delivered in small batches.

Among Lean methodologies, Kanban is popular. It’s a visual workflow management method that helps teams work together.

Kanban was originally developed as a scheduling method. It uses a Kanban board, which has three categories: to do, doing, and done.

The Scaled Agile Framework also incorporates elements of the Lean methodology.

Extreme Programming (XP)

Last but not least, there’s Extreme Programming, also known as XP. This designer of this method wanted to focus on speed and continuous delivery. Part of the reason for that is a desire to improve responsiveness.

It promotes rapid feedback loops, continuous testing, and plenty of customer involvement.

Teams work closely together to deliver working software, sometimes in as little as a week. XP takes its name from the idea of taking traditional practices to “extreme” levels.

XP has four values, including communication and simplicity.

It has 12 supporting practices:

  • Planning game
  • Small releases
  • Customer acceptance tests
  • Simple design
  • Pair programming
  • Test-driven development
  • Refactoring
  • Continuous integration
  • Collective code ownership
  • Coding standards
  • Metaphor
  • Sustainable pace

XP is popular in some circles, but it’s been controversial in others. It was developed for software, but its practices work for other business processes.

Go Further with the Right Framework

There is no single “best” agile framework. That’s because the different types of agile methodology adapt to certain projects, teams, and organizations. Most frameworks are flexible, but choosing the right one is still important.

Adopting an agile methodology can help your business become more productive. It also helps you respond to changing markets.

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