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April 4, 2024
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5 Alternative Agile Methodologies Other Than Scrum

There are over 50 Agile methodologies besides Scrum, each with a unique project management approach. So, let's explore the 5 best alternative Agile methodologies other than Scrum.
Anton Versal
Anton Versal
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Scrum is a widely used Agile project management framework that focuses on delivering shippable increments of work through set intervals called sprints. Although Scrum is known for faster completion of projects with improved customer satisfaction, some organizations might not be able to go along with Scrum very well. For them, there are many other Agile methodologies to choose from. Therefore, this article intends to explore the five alternative Agile methodologies other than Scrum.

There are many popular Agile methodologies besides Scrum that provide a unique way of project management. Let's explore those methodologies one by one:

1. Kanban

Kanban is a visual-based project management approach that divides project phases into multiple columns, such as To Do, In Progress, and Done. This methodology uses the Kanban board (physical or digital), where the team creates multiple columns to visualize the workflow and limit the work in progress (WIP) in each column.

The tasks are written on cards and gradually flow through the columns until they reach the last column. For example, if one task is about creating the login page, it will be first placed in the "To Do" column. As the team starts the task, they move it to the "In Progress" column. After the completion of the task, it is moved to the "Done" column, indicating its successful completion. This visual representation gives the team a clear overview of the work status and helps them identify any bottlenecks or issues that may arise during the process.


  • It provides a clear visual representation of work.
  • Its work-in-progress (WIP) limit helps to control the number of tasks in columns, leading to efficient outcomes.
  • It is capable of adapting to changes faster.
  • It promotes a culture of continuous improvement, empowering teams to make changes in the workflow/process on the go.
  • It is a straightforward methodology with almost no learning curve.
  • It encourages communication and collaboration among team members.


  • It does not provide predefined roles, leading to uncertainty regarding responsibility and ownership of tasks.
  • It does not incorporate timeframes, resulting in the rise of time-related problems.
  • It can unintentionally make members misinterpret information displayed on the Kanban board, especially when it is outdated.

Overall, Kanban is an effective Agile methodology that best suits projects involving multiple teams and the need to adapt frequently to changing priorities.

2. Extreme Programming (XP)

Extreme Programming (XP) is another widely used Agile methodology that also emphasizes communication and feedback just like Scrum. However, the unique aspect of XP is its focus on working on "the simplest things" first before moving to complex tasks.

In Extreme Programming, the product is developed iteratively but emphasizes software quality and engineering techniques instead of management and productivity, as with Scrum. The XP team determines the most essential functionalities customers want and works on them first. After coding, the team conducts unit testing to detect errors. Afterward, the work is integrated with the other piece of work and undergoes continuous refactoring to keep the code clean and readable. This way, XP ensures continuous delivery of essential features to customers in small iterations.


  • It ensures incremental development, providing value to customers continuously.
  • It ensures active customer involvement to incorporate their inputs throughout the project phase.
  • It enables quick response to changing customer needs and market conditions.
  • It emphasizes unit testing for better detection of errors.
  • It encourages continuous integration and delivery of quality releases.
  • It makes the team responsible for the entire product.


  • It may not provide the desired outcomes if all members are not located in the same geographical area.
  • It requires a bit of a learning curve to master the methodology and associated techniques.
  • It does not emphasize documentation.
  • Its continuous customer engagement and frequent iterations can require more time and resources.

Overall, Extreme Programming is best suited for smaller, focused projects where the target is continuously delivering high-quality incremental-based deliveries tailored to changing customer needs.

3. Lean Development

Lean Development differentiates itself from other Agile methodologies with an emphasis on reducing waste in software development projects and maximizing value delivery. Inspired by the principles of lean manufacturing originally created by Toyota, Lean Development aims to maximize value delivery, optimize the whole development process, amplify learning, and defer commitments to the last moment.

In Lean Development, the team first determines the needs and expectations of the customers and then maps out the development process. Afterward, the team identifies waste areas and eliminates non-value-added activities, such as overproduction, excess inventory, unnecessary motion, waiting time, etc. Once done, the team heads for the development in an incremental order to provide value to customers continuously. Moreover, the team continuously strives for improvement and perfection.


  • It eliminates waste in the development process, improving efficiency and quality deliveries.
  • It makes continuous learning and improvement a central aspect of its methodology.
  • It defers commitments to the last moment so the team can gather more information and make better decisions.
  • It encourages self-organized and cross-functional teams.
  • It emphasizes optimizing the whole development process instead of individual tasks.
  • It ensures continuous value to customers through incremental product updates.


  • It lacks a role-based team, which can increase the chances of chaos.
  • It requires a learning curve for teams.
  • Its deferred commitment aspect might impact products that need upfront planning.
  • It is not supportive of managing dependencies and complexities in large-scale projects.
  • Its efficiency is directly linked to talented and dedicated developers.

Overall, the Lean Development methodology is best suited for small-sized projects that need a customer-centric approach with efficient value delivery and continuous improvement.

4. Crystal

Crystal is a lightweight and flexible Agile methodology that allows the team to develop processes per the unique requirements of each project. It emphasizes more on team members instead of processes or tools, making communication the core component of the development approach.

Crystal methodology has multiple variants, such as Crystal Clear (1-8 members), Crystal Yellow (10-20 members), Crystal Orange (20-50 members), and Crystal Red (50-1000 members). Its main principles include people, communication, skills, talent, interactions, and community. Moreover, its development process depends on the way the team likes to proceed with the project considering its requirements.


  • Its flexible approach allows teams to orient the development approach based on the project size and complexity.
  • It triggers a productive and positive team environment.
  • It ensures iterative, frequent deliveries to customers.
  • It encourages continuous improvement through continuous feedback loops.
  • It minimizes the time spent on different unnecessary meetings or processes.


  • It requires a highly skilled team, as it relies heavily on individuals' skills, capabilities, and collaboration.
  • Its freedom aspect might result in a lack of structure and discipline, compromising the product quality.
  • It is difficult to scale for complex or large-scale projects.
  • It may not work best for remote teams.

Overall, Crystal is a people-oriented Agile methodology best suited for small-scale projects involving experienced and autonomous teams that value flexibility and collaboration.

5. Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM)

The last alternative to Scrum we will discuss in this article is Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM). It is an Agile methodology for rapid product development and delivery. It focuses on delivering functional solutions that fulfill business needs while ensuring project timeliness, cost-effectiveness, and quality.

DSDM makes the team work on a fixed time schedule, fixed cost, and negotiable features. Its main principles include focusing on the business need, collaborating, delivering on time, developing iteratively, communicating continuously, etc. Its working process revolves around time-boxed iterative development, facilitated workshops, continuous stakeholder communication, and user-centric testing and validation.


  • It emphasizes delivering timely working product increments.
  • It encourages continuous collaboration and feedback to address changing requirements timely.
  • It ensures that the project is aligned with the business needs.
  • It emphasizes delivering the exact quality work as agreed.


  • Its structured and disciplined approach may increase overhead.
  • It lacks structured roles and responsibilities, leading to chaos sometimes.
  • It requires a learning curve for teams.
  • Its efficiency relies on continuous communication between the team and end-users.
  • It is difficult to scale in large or complex projects.

Overall, DSDM is best suited for teams that embrace continuous ambiguity and frequently changing requirements. It is usable in the corporate environment where other Agile methodologies are difficult to implement.

This article has discussed in detail some of the widely used Agile methodologies, which might have triggered a thought that which one is the most popular Agile methodology. That's where things become interesting.

The most popular and the best Agile methodology acknowledged by organizations across the world is Scrum. There are many reasons that make Scrum the leader in Agile methodologies. One prominent reason is that all the above methodologies are limited to a specific size of the project, mostly working best for small-sized projects. However, Scrum fits all sizes of projects. Besides that, the other reasons behind Scrum's popularity are as follows:

  • It defines specific roles and responsibilities, making the project more organized and ensuring clear accountability.
  • It involves specific events for streamlined project management, such as product backlog estimation, sprint planning, daily standup, sprint review, and sprint retrospective.
  • It makes stakeholders part of all meetings, resulting in more engagement and a satisfactory experience.
  • It improves Return on Investment (ROI).
  • Its regular sprint retrospective meetings trigger a culture of continuous improvement.
  • It helps to detect bottlenecks and potential issues during estimation meetings.
  • It makes teams self-organizing and cross-functional.

In short, Scrum does not just incorporate the iterative development aspect of Agile, but all of its above attributes also empower teams to deliver high-quality products in a well-organized, collaborative, and focused way.

Wrapping Up

There are over 50 Agile methodologies available today to choose from. So, if teams are not comfortable with Scrum, they can use any of the above or find any other Agile methodology that aligns with their project need and team dynamics. However, if the goal is to ensure quality deliveries, a structured development approach, continuous engagement with stakeholders, and improved satisfactory experience with better ROI, then Scrum is the only Agile methodology that ticks all those checkboxes.

To sum up, it is important to carefully consider the decision to explore alternative methodologies to Scrum. If you have encountered challenges within your Scrum implementation, it is advisable to address those issues before considering a switch to another methodology.

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