Agile Methods

Four students engaging in a scrum session.


Scrum is one of several techniques for managing product development organizations, lumped under the broad category of agile software development. Agile approaches are designed to support iterative, flexible, and sustainable methods for running a product engineering organization. Among the various agile techniques, Scrum is particularly well suited to the types of organizations that develop products such as websites and mobile software. The focus on developing cohesive, modular, measurable features that can be estimated relatively, tracked easily, and that may need to adapt quickly to changing market conditions makes Scrum particularly appropriate for these types of projects. Scrum encourages teams to work in a focused way for a limited period of time on a clearly defined set of features, understanding that the next set of features they may be asked to work on could be unpredictable because of changes in the marketplace, feedback from customers, or any number of factors. Scrum allows teams to develop an improved ability to estimate how much effort it will take to produce a new feature in a relative way, based on the work involved in features they've developed before. And scrum creates the opportunity for a team to reflect on the process and improve it regularly, bringing everybody's feedback into play.


Kanban is a concept used within Lean. Kanban focuses on the eight wastes of lean (Overproduction, Overprocessing, Waiting, Motion, Transportation, Inventory, Defects, and Wasted Potential). A Kanban system can help you reduce these eight wastes and by doing so will create a much more productive and profitable company for all.

When discussing the concept of Kanban, we are talking about inventory and creating a signal system to trigger the need for it. The term inventory is broad, but the focus is on the system needed between the warehouse or stockroom and the movement of WIP (work in process) between work areas. 


Lean production is Lean because it uses less of everything compared with mass production: half the human effort in the factory, half the manufacturing space, half the investment in tools, half the engineering hours to develop a new product in half the time. Also it requires keeping far less than half the needed inventory on site, results in fewer defects and produces a greater and ever-growing variety of products. 


Bhasin, S. (2015). Lean management beyond manufacturing. [electronic resource]: a holistic approach. Springer. Retrieved from,url,uid&db=cat00344a&AN=mucat.b4420982&site=eds-live&scope=site&profile=eds_cat

Green, M. D. (2016). Scrum. [electronic resource]: novice to ninja. SitePoint Pty. Retrieved from,url,uid&db=cat00344a&AN=mucat.b4635911&site=eds-live&scope=site&profile=eds_cat

Ortiz, C. A. (2016). The kanban playbook. [electronic resource]: a step-by-step guideline for the lean practitioner. CRC Press. Retrieved from,url,uid&db=cat00344a&AN=mucat.b4638610&site=eds-live&scope=site&profile=eds_cat