Agile Project Management – Part 1: Scrum and Agile

by Gabriella Martin

What does agile methodology mean?

The term agile refers to a class of methods, principles and practices that come from software development. There are attempts to transfer this approach to other project types. The essence of agile methods can be formulated as in the following diagram:

Agile Methodik

What are the main agile methods?

The most commonly used agile methods are shown in the following illustration. Scrum and Kanban as well as combinations thereof are the most widely used.

What are the most important agile principles? Scrum is based on a set of principles and practices. Essentially, these are summarized in the so-called Agile Manifesto. The most important technical and organizational agile principles are shown in the following illustration.

Wichtigste agile Methoden

What are the main agile practices?

In addition to the principles, the agile methodology includes some technical and organizational practices. Some of them existed before the conception of agile methodology. The main agile practices are shown in the following illustration.

Wichtigste agile Prinzipien

Is Scrum suitable for me?

There are now numerous publications on the Scrum method. Many publications mainly present the benefits of the methodology and are not very concerned with their deficits. Two frequently mentioned positive features concern the satisfaction of the development team with this approach and shortened development times. In summary, the experience reports show that the Scrum method fits well with tasks in which software product features can be incrementally developed by a team of up to 10 people, and where functional safety is not required. If system and hardware components are added, or if safety standards such as ISO 26262 have to be adhered to, the method can only be applied in some aspects or must be supplemented with classic process elements. There are also attempts to use Scrum for larger projects. However, some of the principles underlying Scrum need to be modified or abandoned.

Wichtigste agile Praktiken

Is Scrum worth it for me?

In the end, you have to answer that question for yourself. Even if you do not completely embrace this approach, there are a number of practices that may prove useful outside of the agile context. These include, for example, the daily brief discussions, the clocked procedure, the continuous integration or the planning poker. Help yourself!

How do I introduce Scrum?

It is recommended to introduce the method in a small pilot project with between 4 and 8 team members. If possible, the so-called Scrum-Master should have gained first practical experience with this procedure and know the possibilities and limits of the method. The fastest way to learn the team is to use Scrum-related practices.

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