Agile project management: Kanban or Scrum? Part 1

Published on 11.09.2018

Agility is definitely not a new topic. The term has been known since the late 1950s. But especially in the course of digitization, agile project management is becoming increasingly important. Today, in larger as well as in smaller projects knowledge of agile methods is required. Find out what you need to know about the topic and why it is so important.

Agility: Origin of the term and its use

The concept of agility derives from system theory in the middle of the last century. At that time, sociologist Talcott Parsons defined four functions that each system must meet in order to adapt to the environment and so to be able to continue to exist:
Adaptation: The ability to adapt to change
Goal Attainment: The ability to define goals
Inclusion: The ability to integrate new circumstances
Latency: The ability to maintain basic structures and values
As an abbreviation of the initial letters, the term “AGIL” was created and has been further developed in the following years. With the result that today there are several applications – including the agile project development. How important this is shows a study from 2017.

Status Quo Agile: Agile methods are that important

In 2017, the German Association for Project Management e.V., in cooperation with the University of Koblenz, presented the third study on the dissemination of agile methods. The result: The vast majority of the surveyed companies, 1,000 participants from 30 different countries, indicated that they use agile methods in some form. This is an increase compared to the 2015 study.
The study shows that scrum is the most popular method at 85 percent, followed by Kanban, Lean and Design Thinking. This coincides with our currently available job offers where Scrum is also well ahead of Kanban.
Reason enough to take a closer look at the two agile methods.

Agile software development and agility in project management

Agility in the field of software development has gained momentum right at the beginning of the 21st century. Not only because of the “Manifesto for Agile Software Development” and agile methods such as Scrum and Kanban. The manifesto can be seen as a kind of guide on how software development should be designed. It contains four main theses:

• The focus should not be on processes and tools, but on individuals and interactions.
• A functional product has priority over comprehensive documentation.
• Satisfactory cooperation with the customer is more important than the contract negotiations.
• The rigid pursuit of a plan is replaced by the flexible response to new requirements.

In short, the focus is on the real advantage of all those involved. Rigid processes are not considered to be effective and therefore rejected. In agile project management, changes in the process are planned and even desired.

In the second article on agility we explain the difference between the two methods Scrum and Kanban.

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