Project Management methodologies offer a clear framework, tools, and processes to follow while managing
and delivering a product or service. They support structured planning, execution, and control of a project
from initiation to close. We are going to explore some adaptive methodologies, especially Scrum, Extreme
Programming (XP), Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe®), and Kanban.

Table of Contents

1. Scrum

Scrum is an agile project management framework that helps teams to work on complex projects by breaking
them into manageable chunks known as sprints.

Key components of Scrum:

  • Product owner: The individual responsible for maximizing the value of the product resulting from the
    work of the Development Team.
  • Scrum Master: A servant-leader for the Scrum Team, who helps everyone understand Scrum theory,
    practices, rules, and values.
  • Development Team: A self-organizing team of professionals who deliver potentially releasable outcomes
    each Sprint.

The work cycles, called Sprints, are time-boxed events that have a goal, design, and clear plan. At
the end of each sprint, the scrum team holds sprint review and retrospective meetings to discuss what went
well and what could be improved for the next sprint.

2. Extreme Programming (XP)

Extreme Programming (XP) is another agile software development framework that intends to improve
software quality and responsiveness to changing customer requirements.

Key components of XP:

  • User Involvement: XP requires a user representative who defines system requirements and evaluates
    the implemented system. This helps in ensuring the client’s satisfaction.
  • Incremental changes: XP encourages the development of small increments of the system, with each
    increment being integrated and tested thoroughly.
  • Pair Programming: In XP, programmers work in pairs, with one programmer driving (actively coding)
    while the other navigates (reviewing the code).

3. Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe®)

The Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe®) is an agile methodology specifically designed to apply Scrum at an
enterprise scale. It combines the power of Agile development, SAFe® Scrum XP, and Lean thinking.

Key components of SAFe®:

  • Agile Teams: Small cross-functional teams that work in agile, have all skills necessary to define,
    build, and test some increment of value in a short time box or ‘iteration’.
  • Agile Release Trains (ARTs): A long-lived team of Agile teams, which along with other stakeholders has
    routinely synchronized iterations to deliver solutions.
  • Value Streams: The series of steps that an organization undertakes to provide a product or service to
    its customers.

4. Kanban

Kanban is an agile methodology that is not necessarily iterative. Work items are represented visually
on a kanban board, allowing team members to see the state of every piece of work at any time.

Key components of Kanban are as follows:

  • Visualize the flow of work: The Kanban board is a means of visualizing and controlling the workflow.
  • Limit ‘Work in Progress’ (WIP): By limiting the number of work items in the various stages of the
    workflow, the team can stay focused and deliver quickly.
  • Measure and manage flow: The team measures task completion time and works to decrease it in a
    sustainable manner.

The choice of a project management methodology is defined by the nature of the project, the industry,
the organization’s culture or the specific requirement to manage and control the project. Understanding
the distinguishing features and components of these different methodologies allows project managers to
select the most appropriate methodology for their project. For those pursuing the CAPM certification,
being well-versed with these methodologies is essential since it makes up an integral part of the
curriculum and the certification exam.

Practice Test

Scrum is essentially sequential in nature.

  • True
  • False

Answer: False

Explanation: Scrum is iterative and incremental in nature, focusing on delivering value in each iteration.

Which of the following are components of Extreme Programming (XP)?

  • Smaller releases
  • Rigorous testing
  • WIP limit
  • User stories

Answer: Smaller releases, Rigorous testing, User stories

Explanation: WIP limit is a key component of Kanban, not Extreme Programming (XP). XP focuses on smaller releases, rigorous testing, and user stories.

Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe®) is designed for complex projects involving larger teams.

  • True
  • False

Answer: True

Explanation: SAFe® is designed for larger organizations and complex projects, whereas Scrum and XP are better suited for smaller, simpler projects.

In Scrum, a “Product Backlog” contains a list of issues the team needs to resolve in the following sprint.

  • True
  • False

Answer: False

Explanation: Product Backlog in Scrum is a prioritized list of all potential features of the product rather than the issues to resolve in the upcoming sprint.

Which of the following are considered key practices in Kanban?

  • Visualizing work
  • Timeboxing
  • Smaller releases
  • Limiting work in progress

Answer: Visualizing work, Limiting work in progress

Explanation: Kanban focuses on visualizing work and limiting work in progress, whereas timeboxing and smaller releases are more associated with methods such as Scrum and Extreme Programming.

Scrum framework includes a role called the “Scrum Master”.

  • True
  • False

Answer: True

Explanation: The Scrum Master is a servant-leader for the Scrum Team, helping everyone understand Scrum theory, practices, rules, and values.

SAFe® pays very little attention to aligning the development team with business goals.

  • True
  • False

Answer: False

Explanation: SAFe® heavily focuses on the alignment of development team with the business goals to ensure the built software is viable for the business.

In Extreme Programming (XP), the customer is not involved in the development process.

  • True
  • False

Answer: False

Explanation: In Extreme Programming, customer involvement is heavy and required throughout the development process.

Which of the following is a characteristic of SAFe®?

  • Emphasizes individual and interactions over processes.
  • Focuses on small, co-located teams.
  • Created for large-scale operations.
  • Utilizes a pull system for task progress.

Answer: Created for large-scale operations.

Explanation: SAFe® is specifically created for large-scale operations involving multiple teams and complex projects.

Sprints in Scrum typically last for about a month long.

  • True
  • False

Answer: True

Explanation: In Scrum methodology, iterations or ‘sprints’ are typically 2-4 weeks long.

Interview Questions

What is the primary characteristic that distinguishes Scrum from other adaptive methodologies?

Unlike most traditional project management approaches, Scrum advocates for continuous feedback and adjustment throughout the project lifecycle.

Can you distinguish between Scrum and Extreme Programming (XP) in terms of team interaction?

XP puts more emphasis on interpersonal interactions and promotes pair programming and collective ownership of code more than the Scrum methodology.

What is a key characteristic of the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe®) that sets it apart from other frameworks?

SAFe is a scalable framework that enables organizations to apply lean-agile practices at the enterprise level. It is set apart by its broader perspective that goes beyond individual teams to encompass the entire organization.

What is one distinguishing feature of Kanban compared to the other adaptive methodologies?

Unlike other adaptive methodologies, Kanban does not prescribe specific roles or iteration lengths. Instead, it focuses on visualizing work in progress and limiting the amount of work in any given state.

How does Extreme Programming (XP) deal with changes in customer requirements differently than other methodologies such as Scrum or Kanban?

XP welcomes changes in customer requirements, even late in the development cycle. This is in contrast to other methodologies, which may strive to limit changes to the scope of the project once it’s underway.

How does the Scrum approach differ from Kanban in terms of how work is organized?

In Scrum, work is organized into fixed-length iterations, or sprints, usually lasting one to two weeks. In Kanban, there are no fixed-length iterations – work is continuously pulled from a backlog and moved to done.

What is a unique feature of Extreme Programming (XP) compared to Scrum or SAFe?

One unique feature of XP is that it advocates for pair programming, where two programmers work together at one machine.

Can you describe how SAFe differs from other adaptive methodologies in how it scales agile principles and practices?

SAFe applies agile principles and practices across all levels of an organization, covering the team, program, and portfolio levels. This is a distinctive feature since not all methodologies provide such an extensive range of scalability.

How is Kanban different from Scrum and Extreme Programming in handling tasks?

Kanban does not prescribe set time frames for tasks. Instead, tasks are done continuously, and their progress is marked by moving them across columns on a Kanban board.

What is a key aspect of the Scrum methodology that sets it apart from other methodologies like XP or SAFe?

Scrum emphasizes the definition of “done” for each task and sprint to ensure that there is a potentially shippable product at the end of each sprint. This is a unique aspect of Scrum among the adaptive methodologies.

How does the focus on customer satisfaction differ in Extreme Programming (XP) compared to Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe)?

Extreme Programming (XP) places heavy emphasis on customer satisfaction and allows for changes in requirements even late in development, while SAFe takes a more systematic approach towards customer satisfaction by aligning strategies at the portfolio, large solution, and program level.

Why is Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) often used for larger projects as compared to other methodologies like Scrum or XP?

SAFe is specifically designed to scale agile practices for large organizations and large system implementations, it deals with the coordination, integration, and the delivery of multiple team outputs.

How does the size and scope of projects influence the choice between using Scrum or Kanban?

Scrum is better suited for large, complex projects that require more planning and time management. On the other hand, Kanban is typically used for smaller, more immediate tasks or projects with continuously changing or emergent requirements.

How does XP approach testing differently than SAFe or Scrum?

XP embraces a “test-driven development” (TDD) approach where tests are written before the actual code to ensure software quality. This is different from other methodologies such as Scrum or SAFe, which do not prescribe a specific approach to testing.

What factor differentiates Scrum and Kanban in terms of feedback cycles?

Scrum aims for continuous feedback through its regular sprint reviews and retrospectives, while Kanban obtains feedback via the visualization of work-in-progress and limiting work in any given state.

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