Agile dev team working together

Stuck in an Agile rut? These Takeaways will help.


Stuck in an Agile rut? These Takeaways will help.

By: Cameron Avrigean | November 21, 2019

Home > Blog > Stuck in an Agile rut? These Takeaways will help.

It’s easy to feel like the processes in place aren’t working the way they should. We’ll walk you through some helpful takeaways on how to refresh your approach to agile, but first – let’s start with some basics:

What is Agile?

Agile Meaning: Agile is an iterative approach to software development. Because of the ever-changing nature of requirements, Agile values the ability to be flexible and respond to changes in environment above rigid and defined structure.

What are the principles of Agile?

  • 1 Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.
  • 2 Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer's competitive advantage.
  • 3 Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.
  • 4 Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.
  • 5 Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.
  • 6 The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.
  • 7 Working software is the primary measure of progress.
  • 8 Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
  • 9 Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.
  • 10 Simplicity--the art of maximizing the amount of work not done--is essential.
  • 11 The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.
  • 12 At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.

Agile has been one of the most popular development frameworks since its inception in 1996. Many different frameworks have been spun off of agile, and competitors have appeared. We’ll go through some of these frameworks and competitors and identify places you can potentially adopt a hybrid approach. Should you adopt lean agile? Is a visualization tool like Kanban the key to your projects success?

Scrum and Agile


What is Scrum?

Scrum is an agile process framework focused on self-organization and time boxing, allowing teams to govern themselves to maximize their utility within projects. Scrum reflects the overall agile ethos of being able to adapt to quickly changing requirements, but focuses on democratizing group processes.

What is the biggest takeaway from Scrum?

Scrum takes individual aspects of a traditional agile methodology and magnifies their importance. Allowing groups to self-organize can increase buy in to projects and allow projects to avoid roadblocks. If you take away any specific aspect of the scrum approach – give power to your team and allow them to make crucial decisions.

Kanban and Agile

Kanban board

What is Kanban?

Kanban is first and foremost a visual representation of the agile process. You’ve seen plenty of Kanban boards, in fact, if you were to google image search “agile development” I’m sure a Kanban board would be in the first page of results. Kanban focuses on using this visual in order to encourage ownership and leadership at all levels of the project. It is a physical tool to bring accountability and ownership to a digital process.

What can we take away from the Kanban approach?

Kanban isn’t really its own agile methodology, but it is an incredibly effective tool that can democratize the development process and elevate the standard of work. The biggest takeaway when looking at Kanban is that structure is one of the most important elements of the agile framework and that physical representations of your work is an incredibly effective means of reminding yourself of that structure.

Lean and Agile

working and pointing at computer

What is Lean?

Lean was adopted from lean manufacturing by Mary and Tom Poppendieck. Lean is a set of principles designed for achieving quality, speed, and customer alignment. Lean’s primary focus is on eliminating waste via a focus on process management. The singular goal of lean is to deliver value.

What can Lean teach us about our own Agile processes?

We can make our agile lean. Efficiency should never be secondary. Agile may never prioritize waste elimination like Lean does, but that does not give you an excuse to be wasteful. Be intentional and follow the structure you have set, and efficiency will come. A lean agile delivers immense value to clients without jeopardizing efficiency. A lean agile can be expanded beyond the development space and into the entire value stream, delivering organization wide value and agility.


All of these approaches to project management have had immense success and adoption over the years, whether good or bad – there is a lot to be learned from their success. Viewing any one set of processes as the de-facto best fit for you prevents you from following one of the core principles of agile: reflecting on how you can be more effective. Being agile means remaining open to improvement, always being critical and always making forward progress! Whether you adopt lean agile, a more physical approach, or a more democratic and self-governing approach – try new processes and your organization and clients will reap the benefits!

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About the Author: Cameron Avrigean

Cameron Avrigean is a Marketing Coordinator at fivestar*. Cameron is an analytics fanatic with a penchant for copywriting and social media. He works with the marketing team to create engaging content, and is looking for the next big thing. Cameron holds a B.S. in Business Management from Point Park University.

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