How to understand the forest of Agile methods, and frameworks? How can we see the wood for the trees?

At this moment I am aware of several different methods and frameworks with a link to Agile.

Dia03In the attached pictures you already see several of them, like Agile PM, Agile PgM, DevOps, Disciplined Agile 2.0, DevOps, Feature Driven Development (FDD), Kanban, PRINCE2 Agile, Large Scale Scrum (LeSS), SAFe 3.0 / 4.0, The Scrum Guide, The Nexus guide, Test Driven Development (TDD), eXtreme Programming (XP 2.0). In the picture I didn’t include Kanban, Lean Start-up, but you can find overviews on my blog.

I will give brief summaries of several methods / frameworks (in alphabetic order)


AgilePM is developed by DSDM. AgilePM consists of the following elements:

  • Philosophy: best business value emerges when projects are aligned to clear business goals, deliver frequently and involve the collaboration of motivated and empowered people
  • Principles: Focus on the business need, Deliver on time, Collaborate, Never compromise quality, Build incrementally from firm foundations, Communicate continuously and clearly, Demonstrate control
  • Processes: Pre-project, Feasibility, Foundation, Evolutionary development, Deployment, post-project
  • Roles & responsibilities: includes the steering roles Business Sponsor, Business Visionary, Technical Coordinator and Project Manager. The Solution Development Team is formed by the Team Manager, the Business Ambassador, the Business Analyst, Solution Developer and Tester.

See my blog: AgilePM (in Dutch) 


AgilePgM is developed by DSDM. AgilePgM consists of four elements: philosophy, five principles, six processes and six themes.

  • Philosophy: An agile programme delivers what is required when it is required – no more no less.
  • Principles are related to business strategy alignment, incrementally realised benefits and as early as possible, decision-making at the lowest possible level, governance focuses on creating a coherent capability and agile programmes are iterative and contain both agile as non-agile projects.
  • The six processes are Pre-Programme, Programme Feasibility, Programme Foundations, Capability Evolution, Tranche Review and Programme Close. The themes or knowledge areas are related to Roles, Governance, Stakeholder engagement, communication and management, Planning, Management and control and Quality Management.
  • See my blog for more info: AgilePgM 

Disciplined Agile 2.0

Is an enterprise wide scalable process framework (people first, learning oriented hybrid agile approach to IT solution delivery).

  • Enables agile delivery teams to succeed (work together with people outside the team).
  • Provide a coherent strategy for agile IT (different BoKs at different points on the agile/lean learning curve).
  • Supports the lean enterprise (IT is able to work in an agile/lean manner and the context counts (tailor).

Feature Driven Development (FDD)

FDD is a model-driven short-iteration process that consists of five basic activities: Develop overall model, Build feature list, Plan by feature, Design by feature, Build by feature.

core set of software engineering best practices:

  • Domain Object Modeling
  • Developing by Feature
  • Individual Class (Code) Ownership
  • Feature Teams
  • Inspections
  • Configuration Management
  • Regular Builds
  • Visibility of progress and results


Kanban is a scheduling system for lean and just-in-time production. When there is no explicit limit to the work in progress (WIP, or the maximum number of cards at a specific process step) and there is no mechanism to show that we have to pull new work into the system, it is not a Kanban system.

Key properties of a Kanban system are:

  • Visualize workflow using a Kanban board
  • Limit work in progress;
  • Measure and manage flow;
  • Make progress policies explicit;
  • Use models to recognize improvement opportunities.

See my blog: Kanban 

Large-Scale Scrum (LeSS)

Large-Scale Scrum is Scrum. There is only One Product Backlog, one Product Owner, one potentially shippable product increment, and one Sprint.

LeSS was developed (starting in 2005) to apply Scrum to very large and multisite product developments. Today, the two LeSS frameworks (basic LeSS and LeSS Huge) have been adopted in big product groups worldwide.

  • Principles: empirical process control, transparency, more with less, whole-product focus, customer-centric, continuous improvement towards perfection, systems thinking, lean thinking, and queuing theory.

Dia24Lean Start-up

Is a method for developing businesses and products. Within the philosophy of embracing change, PRINCE2 Agile also introduces the principle of lean start-up. Lean start-up focuses on validated learning and act accordingly. Try as fast as possible (fail fast). But take as soon as possible (parts of) products in use, and learn from them. The product that processed most of the learning experiences, usually delivers the most value.

MVP: (not necessarily the smallest product imaginable): Concierge, Smoke test, Video, Split test, Early prototype.

See my blog: Lean Start-up 


Includes both the existing PRINCE2 as the agile way of thinking. The agile

way of thinking must be seen as:

  • agile behaviour: Collaboration, exploration, self-organization, transparency
  • concepts: Prioritisation, working iteratively and incrementally, not delivering everything, time focussed, inspect and adapt, kaizen limiting WIP
  • frameworks: scrum, Kanban, lean start-up
  • focus areas: rich communication, requirements, contracts, agilometer
  • techniques: Burn charts, user stories, retrospectives, timeboxing, measuring flow
  • The existing PRINCE2 principles, processes and themes remain, but should be tailored using the agile way of working and the project itself.

PRINCE2 Agile searches for the best of both worlds where the emphasis lies in the use of PRINCE2 within project direction and project management and the agile approach in the product delivery.

See my blog: PRINCE2 Agile webinar 

Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe 4.0)

SAFe 4.0 is a framework for using agile and lean practices at organization wide scale (Software delivery focus).

Four levels of scale:

  • Portfolio: portfolio backlog, business and enabler epic-level decisions. To align value streams with the business strategy.
  • Value stream: optional, intended for complex environments where multiple agile release trains exist.
  • Programme: to deliver programme increments, coordination of a number of agile teams with there release trains based on a programme backlog.
  • Team: foundational layer of SAFe, and powers the agile release train. Can make use of Scrum, XP, Kanban, etc.

Test Driven Development (TDD)

Test Driven Development is a development methodology and is created by Kent Beck. It follows the following steps:

  1. Add a test
  2. Run all tests and see if the new test fails
  3. Write some code
  4. Run tests
  5. Refactor code
  6. Repeat

Dia25The Nexus Guide

Nexus is developed by Ken Schwaber and is his answer on developments with more than one scrum team. It starts with one Product Owner managing the Product Backlog. The Product Owner sets up the Nexus Integration Team. In this team we see Integration Team members as well as a Scrum Master.

  • The Nexus Integration Team together with representatives of the Scrum teams develop the Nexus Sprint Backlog (Nexus Sprint Planning.). Each Scrum Team will have its own expertise area and have its own Development Team members and a Scrum Master.
  • Every day the Nexus Integration Team and representatives from the Scrum Teams will have their Nexus Daily Scrum to discuss integration issues, dependencies and sharing information across the teams. Joined to this Nexus Daily Scrum the individual Scrum Teams will have their own Daily Scrums. The Scrum Teams will develop their parts and integrate and test their work with that of the other teams.
  • At the end of the sprint we have the Nexus Sprint Review demonstrating, showing the Integrated Increment. This is a joined review with all team and replaces the individual Scrum Team Reviews.
  • An overall Nexus Sprint Retrospective focusses on inspection and adaption and consists of three parts: The first part is identification of issues impacting more than one Scrum Team. Part two are the individual Scrum Team Retrospectives and the last part focusses on actions to be taken.

See my blog: Nexus 

The Scrum Guide

Scrum is developed by Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber.

Scrum is a process framework to develop and sustain complex (software) products. In itself it’s a light weighted and simple framework but difficult to master. The Scrum framework consists of:

  • A team and their associated roles of Product Owner, Scrum Master and Development team members;
  • Events: Sprint planning, Daily Scrum, Sprint Review and Sprint Retrospective;
  • Artifacts: Product Backlog, Sprint Backlog, Increment.

See my blog : Scrum, the art of doing twice the work in half the time 

eXtreme Programming (XP 2.0)

XP is a software development methodology and is created by Kent Beck focussing on delivering quality.

  • It contains several planning and feedback loops: code, pair programming, unit test, pair negotiation, stand up meeting, acceptance test, iteration test, release plan.
  • Activities: coding, testing, listening, and designing
  • Values: communication, simplicity, feedback, and courage, respect (2.0)
  • Practices: Fine-scale feedback, Continuous process, Shared understanding, Programmer welfare, Coding, Testing.

Some related websites:

Naam website
Disciplined Agile 2.0 (DAD)
EXIN Agile Scrum
PMI Agile Certified Practitioner
Large Scale Scrum (LeSS)
Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe)
Scrum Alliance
The Nexus Guide
The Scrum Guide

Please let me know if you are aware of other interesting agile methods/frameworks.

4 responses to “How to understand the forest of Agile methods, and frameworks? How can we see the wood for the trees?

  1. What about Lean IT?


  3. This website may be of interest.

  4. Pingback: A Project Manager's Guide to 42 Agile Methodologies - The Digital Project Manager

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