Philosophy of modern practices

Lean, Agile, and Scrum

The Differences Between Lean, Agile, and Scrum

At their core, Lean, Agile, and Scrum are good methodologies to follow and provide an assortment of benefits for any team. While they all have similar motivations, it’s important to understand their differences and how they all work together.

“Lean” is the methodology of building a product using the minimum amount of effort possible. While the history of “lean” goes back to the Toyota assembly line in Japan during the 50s and 60s, all one needs to understand is no productivity is wasted while no effort is misplaced. Simply stated, there is a process that allows a specifically focused team to build a product in the least amount of time.

“Agile” is a methodology that allows a team the opportunity to pivot a product at any given time. Products are built and placed in the customers’ hands quickly as a method of testing it’s effectiveness and value. This provides the ability to fail quickly, cheaply, and allows a team to decide if they want to continue the current plan of development or pivot another direction.

Finally, there’s “scrum”, the most intricate of the three. Scrum is a topic that can go deep for those who wish to spend the effort. At it’s core, Scrum is simply a communication strategy. While we could talk about the different roles it bestows upon each team member, what’s more important to know is that each team member must be in constant communication with the rest of the team. The Scrum process mandates short daily meetings (called stand-ups), bi-weekly planning meetings which discuss what the team is working on (called grooming sessions), and an end of project meeting that talks about what worked and what didn’t work (called retrospectives).

Additional Reading

Scrum is a topic that could be talked about for a long time. If you’re interested in learning more check out Scrum by Jeff Sutherland and J.J. Sutherland and Scrum Mastery by Geoff Watts.

For more on Lean and Agile, consider The Lean Startup by Eric Ries as well as The Lean Product Playbook by Dan Olsen.

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