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An Investigative Approach To Analyse Agile & Scrum

Abstract

Chapter 1 of this dissertation is the introductory section. This chapter provides discussions about the background of this research along with the identification of the main and objectives associated with this research. Moreover, this chapter also provides information about the existing problem or the rational of this research along with the main research question. Furthermore, this chapter also provides discussion about the significances of doing this research along with a detailed structure of the dissertation in an image format.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction.. 5

1.1. Introduction.. 5

1.2. Research background. 5

1.3. Research aim and objectives. 8

1.4. Research questions. 8

1.5. Rationale of the research.. 8

1.6 Kanban Methodology. 9

1.7. Research significance. 10

1.8. Structure of the dissertation.. 11

1.9. Summary. 11

2 Literature Review.. 12

2.1 Introduction.. 12

2.2 Basic concepts of different project management methodologies. 12

2.3 Different types of agile frameworks. 13

2.4 Sectors that mostly use agile frameworks in project management 14

2.5 Comparison of scrum and Kanban in project management 15

2.7 Conceptual framework. 19

2.8 Literature gap. 20

2.10 Summary. 20

Chapter 3: Research Methodology. 21

3.1 Introduction.. 21

3.2 Research Philosophy. 21

3.3 Research Approach.. 21

3.4 Research Strategies. 21

3.5 Research Choices. 22

3.6 Time Horizon.. 22

3.7 Data Collection method. 22

3.8 Data Analysis method. 23

3.9 Ethical Consideration.. 23

3.10 Summary. 24

Reference list 25

Bibliography. 32

Appendix 1: Research Timeline. 33

Chapter 1: Introduction

1.1. Introduction

Chapter 1 of this dissertation is the introductory section that covers a primary discussion about the overall project and research. In this context, this chapter discusses the main discussion about the topic of interest or the background of this research. This chapter also accounts identification of the main aim and objectives of this research along with the discussion of relevant research questions. Moreover, this chapter also provides hypothesis statements along with a discussion of the existing problem or rationale of this research. This chapter also highlights a discussion of the significance of doing this research along with a detailed structure of this dissertation.

1.2. Research background

Currently, the whole world is developing with the advanced and significant contribution of modern science and technology. The advanced contribution and findings of modern science and technology have paid the way for the introduction of new technical approaches into modern business organizations, and project management (Javedet al. 2021). In this context, different innovative technical approaches are being used by different companies and project management sectors in the UK for effective management and execution of the desired tasks and projects. One of the most effective project management and software development tools currently used by most of the effective sectors in the UK are the Agile and Scrum approaches. The scrum approach is mainly used by UK organizations rather than the agile approach.

Figure 1.1: Scrum process

Figure 1.1: Scrum process

Agile is mostly used by the project management sectors that provide proper value identification along with effective maintenance of time, schedule, and proper approaches to gain customer satisfaction and popularity (Naik and Jenkins, 2019). There are certain principles of the agile approach such as customer satisfaction through faster delivery, and delivery of frequent values, and gaining competitive advantage.

Scrum is an effective project management tool used by most of the effective IT sectors in the UK for the purport of effective software development and it also provides proper support to the effective manufacturing, management, and delivery of desired products within a complex environment(Burke et al. 2018).The scrum approach follows five principle values such as courage, respect, commitment, focus, and openness.

Figure 1.2: Agile methodology process

Figure 1.2: Agile methodology process

(Source: Hygger.io, 2021)

In the UK, the scrum method is used more than the agile approach because Scrum provides proper support and development of the finest quality software products under certain complex environments and situations effectively (Hidalgo, 2019; Shastriet al. 2021). Moreover, Scrum is also used in different fields such as marketing, business, science, and research, sales, and advanced technology management. Most importantly, Scrum is an effective agile methodology that provides proper support to a project(Burke et al. 2018).

As per the data collected from Scrumalliance.org (2021), about 89% of employees verified that the scrum approach is used in most organizations in the UK. Moreover, about 60% of the IT companies in the UK use the scrum method of the agile approach in their organization. About 78% of the agile technical users use the scrum process in 2020. About 60% of companies have experience profits by using the agile approach in their organization. Moreover, currently, 71% of companies in the UK are adopting the agile approach in their organization. This research thus focuses on the identification of the difference between the scrum and agile approaches of project management in the UK(Dacreet al. 2019).

1.3. Research aim and objectives

Aim

The main aim of this research is to identify the differences between the Agile and Scrum approach and the effective way of usage of the two approaches to improve project management in the United Kingdom.

Objectives

The main objectives of this research are:

  • To identify the difference between scrum and agile methodologies in project management.
  • To develop a criterion to compare between both methods
  • To Apply a case study for each technique.
  • To determine the most effective technique

1.4. Research questions

The main research question is:

  • What are the principle differences between the scrum and agile methodological approaches that are used by project management in the UK?

1.5. Rationale of the research

What is the issue?

Most of the It sectors and project management sectors in the UK are facing serious challenges and issues related to improper project planning, and lack of regular and effective human resource practices in the organizations. Moreover, the lack of proper solving of insufficient budget from business operations and leadership is also a big issue evident in most project management organizations.

Why it is an issue?

Due to the lack of proper implementation of effective agile methodologies, the project management sectors have suffered a lot. The issues are evident in the above discussions. Moreover, improper software development and inadequate maintenance of the project management principles are also the main reasons for this issue.

How the issue is addressed?

The introduction of agile approach and scrum method methodologies has helped project management a lot.In this context, through the application of the scrum method and agile approaches, project management is widely benefited by improving their styles, timeline, schedule, and overall principles of developing a particular project.

1.6 Kanban Methodology

The implementation of Kanban methodology in the project management is highly suitable for any kind of project. It can be stated that this flexibility of implementing the Kanban methodology makes it highly useful. In a nutshell, it can be stated that the Kanban methodology of project management has a flexible approach which allows the manager in visualizing every step of project management (Kanbanize.com, 2021). Furthermore, it can be stated that the implementation of this technology helps in visualizing the workflow in a better manner thus improving its approach. The four main principles of the Kanban methodology are as follows:

  • Starting the project with the known facts
  • Agreeing to pursue the incremental and the evolutionary changes (Kanbanize.com, 2021)
  • Respecting the current processes, responsibilities, roles and titles.
  • Encouraging the acts of leadership at all levels in the organizations.

Similarly, the Kanban practices involve the following:

  • Visualizing the workflow
  • Limiting the work in progress
  • Managing the workflow (Kanbanize.com, 2021)
  • Making the process policies explicit
  • Implementing feedback loops
  • Improving in a collaborative manner and evolving experimentally.

1.7. Research significance

Through the successful development of this research, it will be possible for the researchers and the project management sectors in the UK to understand the importance and differences of the scrum and agile approach along with the challenges faced by the project management to implement those. Moreover, through the successful completion and development of this research, pity will also be possible to account for proper solutions against the challenges and to effectively implement agile and scrum in project management in the UK.

1.8. Structure of the dissertation

Figure 1.3: Structure of the dissertation

Figure 1.3: Structure of the dissertation

(Source: Created by the learner)

1.9. Summary

This chapter provides information about the background of this research along with the identification of the aim and research objectives. Moreover, this chapter also identifies the main research question along with a clear discussion about the research rationale. This chapter also discusses the significance of doing this research along with a detailed structure of the dissertation.

2 Literature Review

2.1 Introduction

Project management is an approach of using skills, techniques, tools and knowledge of delivering something that is valuable for an organisation or a group of people. As each project is different from the other, the methodologies of executing the projects get also changed. This chapter is going to shed light on different project management methodologies and then narrow down to present the comparison of scrum and Kanban as two sub methodologies of agile methodology in effective project management.

Data Analysis and Findings

2.2 Basic concepts of different project management methodologies

A project management methodology is a specific set of practices and principles that help in managing projects for attaining optimum performance (Sanchez and Terlizzi, 2017). Certain parameters help project managers to choose a proper methodology for project execution and the parameters include budget, team size, risk-taking ability, timeline, flexibility, stakeholder collaboration (Cui et al., 2018). Some of the project management methodologies include waterfall methodology, agile methodology, scrum methodology, Kanban methodology, scrumban methodology, extreme programming methodology, adaptive project management framework, lean methodology, critical path methodology and many more (Nicholas and Steyn, 2020).

The waterfall approach is the traditional project management approach where the phases and tasks are completed sequentially and linearly. Each stage has to be completed before the initiation of the next stages (Andrei et al., 2019). As indicated by Thesing, Feldmann and Burchardt (2021), constructions projects generally follow waterfall methodology and the key stages include identification of requirements, analysis, designs, construction, testing, deployment and maintenance. If the project goal is not clearly defined then waterfall methodology cannot be used in that project execution (Andrei et al., 2019).

With the constant increase of dissatisfaction of project managers with linear approach agile methodology has been raised (Rasnacis and Berzisa, 2017). Agile methodology allows the project teams to revise the project steps as per needs. Scrum, Kanban and Lean are some of the subtypes of agile methodology (Hayat et al., 2019). Effective collaboration, quick action, data-driven changes are some of the advantages of choosing an agile methodology. The projects that are liable to change are effective in following Scrum methodology like the software development projects. Projects with huge documentation needs cannot be executed following the agile approach (Banica et al., 2017).

Scrum is one of the agile project management methodologies.  It generally divides the entire project into shorter cycles named sprints (Rasnacis and Berzisa, 2017. Backlog works are achieved through sprint iteration (Hayat et al., 2019). The scrum method provides the scope of performance evaluation through sprint retrospectives. The projects that need continuous improvement can be implemented using Scrum (Mousaei and Javdani, 2018). Scrum is an effective methodology for software development. Kanban is another agile method where the progress of the tasks is presented visually (Rush and Connolly, 2020). Kanban is a great framework to inform everyone about the project progress and backlogs. Required time for managing the project activities is also done using the Kanban method (Alaidaros, Omar and Romli, 2018). If any project has complex inter-related steps then Kanban cannot be applied there. Manufacturing projects use the Kanban project methodology efficiently (Saltz and Heckman, 2020).

2.3 Different types of agile frameworks

The agile methodology follows a set of principles which include prioritising customer satisfaction, getting adapted to changing environments, a collaboration of stakeholders and developers, accomplishing proper project goals and improving project team efficiency (Layton, Ostermiller and Kynaston, 2020). Referring to the previous discussion, it can be said that scrum and kanban are the two most celebrated agile approaches.

Kanban

Kanban is mostly used in management methodology to e used in manufacturing projects. Through the usage of visual boards, the progress of the projects can be viewed in a systematic manner (Alaidaros, Omar and Romli, 2018). This methodology is connected with the concept of timely execution of projects. This framework helps in spending energy on all tasks together rather than help in prioritising the tasks (Hofmann et al., 2018). The project that requires time-based progress is based on the Kanban framework. 

Scrum

Scrum deals with dividing the project stages into sprints. Scrum deals with improvement and the development time of sprints are maximised. Like Kanban, scrum also helps in prioritising the project stages (Albarqi and Qureshi, 2018). The backlogged works are taken to the front by the sprint iteration process. Reviewing project performance and implementing remedies as per need is essential to improve the project outcomes. Software development projects can efficiently be done using the scrum methodology (Rahim et al., 2018). Without a proper committed project team, scrum cannot be used.

Extreme programming

Extreme programming is such an agile technique that put stress on feedback, communication and constant development. In projects where the demand of the customers get changed over time, extreme programming helps in process enhancement (Anwer et al., 2017). From the initial stages of testing the feedbacks is important in extreme programming. In the process of customer-related software development, this framework is helpful. With a small team that follows unified rules, an extreme programming framework can be used (Lozada-Martinez et al., 2019).

Dynamic systems development method

The needs of preparing a suitable industry charter or swift software delivery, the dynamic system development method are generally used (Zamudio et al., 2017). DSDM provides a comprehensive structure that helps in the execution and scaling of software development. In order to finalise timely delivery of projects, DSDM is used (Zamudio et al., 2017). 

2.4 Sectors that mostly use agile frameworks in project management

From the detailed discussions made in the above parts, it can easily be identified that software development projects efficiently use the agile framework in project execution. Agile methods are used in construction projects. Several construction projects like the preparation of a highway project require effective external/internal communication and documentation. Agile methodology helps in achieving process transparency, communication and resource utilisation (Mohammed and Jasim, 2018). The traditional product development and engineering processes are also executed by the agile management process. Practices like minimum viable products, frequent product demonstrations are the new regulations of the engineering sector. In order to bridge, the stakeholder gap agile methods are used (Dacre, Senyo and Reynolds, 2019). Through proper visualisation of workflows, the engineering processes get executed. Rolls Royce uses an agile method in new product development (Taylor, 2021). Other than the IT companies, agile methodology is also used by aerospace or aviation companies. The approach helps the companies to speed up the delivery process and reduction of costs. Knowledge plays an important role in aerospace engineering where everything is tested properly before going to final production (Ciampa and Nagel, 2020). Fast feedback loops, collaboration and focus are the key aspects that are efficient management by agile methods. As an example, it can be said that NASA follows the agile method in its aviation projects (Torrigiani et al., 2018).

Analysis On External Judicial Practice And Internal Governance Mechanism

Pharmaceutical projects require a number of approvals, rigid processes, strict regulations (Suifan, Alazab and Alhyari, 2019). Due to these reasons, the companies generally do not use the waterfall method. The agile method provides the flexibility of creating values in projects. Thus, it can be said that agile methods help in research and development (Roshan, Tavakkoli-Moghaddam and Rahimi, 2019). 

2.5 Comparison of scrum and Kanban in project management

2.5.1 Comparison and contrast of Scrum vs Kanban from the viewpoint of managing human interactions in projects

Employees and project team members are two aspects that play important role in the execution of the project performance. Scrum is such a project management method that helps in enhancing the productive ability of the project team members while limiting project risks (Mircea, 2019). Scrum helps in improving the existing stages of the projects. In order to cope up with the organisational changes, improvements are important which are enhanced by the scrum methodology. The adoption of scrum methodology enhances the usage of tools over traditional processes to make things happen (Hayat et al., 2019). JIRA, MS Project is some of the tools that are used by the scrum masters to display the progress of the project activities and also for making communication with the project team members. There are three different roles in the projects that follow scrum methodology and the roles include Scrum master, scrum product owner and development team (Hamid et al., 2020). The scrum master helps in educating and applying scrum by the product development team for achieving business values. Scrum master is not the project team lead rather he/she helps the project team members to solve the impediments in the project process. Scrum Master plays the role of a trainer which is important for managing human interactions of a project team (Bass et al., 2018). Scrum product owner is highly responsible for maximising the return on investment of the projects. Prioritising the sprints and making the estimation of the profit and losses of the businesses are also included within the responsibilities of the product owner.  Communicating with the team members through project management tools and clearing the backlogs are the responsibilities of the product owner (Mircea, 2019). Scrum methodology helps in product development as well as improvement. The product development team basically constitutes the collection of team members who work together to achieve the developmental sprint goals. The product owner provides a direction and the development team executes the order into reality. From the viewpoint of Human resource management, it can be said that scrum help in timekeeping to investigate the heart of an organisational matter (Bass et al., 2018). Scrum helps in learning backlogs that ultimately helps the development team to achieve the desired aims in time. Scrum master provides the scope of process improvement and the time working nature of scrum helps in shortening the feedback loop by the HR professionals. 78% of the generation Y project managers have said that they use scrum for effectively managing all activities and team members in organisational projects (Revutska and Maršíková, 2021).

Referring to the viewpoint of Revutska and Maršíková (2021), it can be said that 46% of young project managers use the kanban method for executing organisational projects. Like scrum Kanban also has roles that execute different project-related tasks efficiently. Service delivery manager (SDM) and service request managers (SRM) are the two Kanban roles. SDM helps in improving the workflow efficiency of a project (Oza, Fagerholm and Münch, 2013). The flow manager is not equivalent to a scrum master. They ensure the product teams are flowed and facilitate the change as well as continuous improvement activities. In contrast with the scrum master, they do not train the team members. SRM on the other hand helps in executing the project works efficiently (Rahman, Sharif and Esa, 2013). This role is similar to the role of the product owner of the scrum. Clearing backlogs, understanding the client requirements, improvement of corporate governance are some of the activities of SRM (Ahmad et al., 2016).

From the research studies of several researchers, it can be said that at the initiation of a particular project the team members need to communicate with each other (Oza, Fagerholm and Münch, 2013).  Kanban not only presents the work progress ahead of them rather team members also interact with each other using the kanban platforms. It can also be observed that Kanban helps in making the collaboration of the team members to combat the issues of projects by timely monitoring, assessing feedback and conflict resolution (Oza, Fagerholm and Münch, 2013).

2.5.2 Comparison and contrast of Kanban and Scrum project management methodologies from societal/cultural viewpoint

The implementation of scrum in project management is based on the cultural mindset. The spread of the scrum throughout the organisation marks it as organisational culture (Lous et al., 2018). Trust, scaling up the scrum, team focus and encouragement are some of the aspects that effectively change the organisational values. Scrum always tries to mitigate cultural barriers and prioritise quality over quantity (Palacio, 2019). Transparency is another important aspect of the scrum that helps in improved value delivery. As trust is an important focus of a team following the scrum culture, it always tries to make the teams focused (Palacio, 2019). Scrum does not indicate practising supreme control. Unlike it, Kanban represents a control culture. Control culture enhances the implementation of new regulations and policies (dos Santos et al., 2018). It generally compares the company with the people and the current state of the company with future states. Team members are important in Kanban too but they are considered secondary in the Kanban project management process. Thus, it can be said that a strong bureaucratic culture is needed for Kanban implementation while scrum gets best implemented in a friendly organisational culture (Mohamad et al., 2019).

As an example, it can be said that adapting the scrum framework in science projects is a case study that helps in understanding the importance of collaboration in executing science projects (Hidalgo, 2019). The performance of the project team is an essential factor in a successful science project and mutual respect among team members can only help in its execution. Scrum has helped the project team in making proper collaboration with each other (Hidalgo, 2019). Kosasih et al., (2019) have presented a case study that represents the implementation of the Kanban method in the identification and reduction of waste materials generated on the shop floors of a basic chemical company. Execution of all the processes promptly is an indication of the Kanban method which can be understood from this case study.

2.7 Conceptual framework

Figure 2.1: Research framework

Figure 2.1: Research framework

2.8 Literature gap

There are more than twelve frameworks of agile methodology but from the secondary literature information about just four to five agile methodologies have been adhered to. Hayat et al., 2019 have not indicated anything about the scrumban or crystal framework which is also important frameworks of agile. Revutska and Maršíková (2021) have represented an experiment about the usage of different agile project management methods by younger generation leaders but the exact causes behind the adaptation of scrum or kanban are not indicated there. dos Santos et al., (2018) have indicated that the kanban methodology follows a control-oriented culture however the ways through which the control is executed by the method is not mentioned. Palacio, (2019) has indicated that value creation and mutual trust are the two aspects of organisational project implementation. Thus, it can be said that the secondary literature lacks information regarding the impacts of organisational culture on the implementation of agile methods and the impacts of agile methods on managing human interactions within the organisations.

2.10 Summary

From the detailed literature review, it can be said that scrum enhances team collaboration and focuses on value creation. On the other hand, Kanban helps in controlling a project in a directive manner. Both methods deal with the prioritisation of the project stages. Thus, it can be said that managing the project outcomes can be better done by proper execution of the methodologies like scrum and Kanban.

Chapter 3: Research Methodology

3.1 Introduction

This chapter has provided the details of the methods that have been used in the research. The research philosophy and the approaches that have guided the execution of the case study analysis and interview analysis effectively.

3.2 Research Philosophy

Interpretivism research philosophy has been applied here. It helps in interpreting the study elements. The activities of the organisation, identification of organisational issues and problems and the ways of dealing with the organisational problems are generally get investigated by interpretivism philosophy (Alharahsheh and Pius, 2020). Therefore, in order to compare the effectiveness of scrum and kanban interpretivism has been applied.

3.3 Research Approach

In order to assess the relationships between the specific research concepts, it can be said that the deductive approach helps in measuring the research concepts in an efficient manner (Pearse, 2019). Comparing the issues and possibilities of the scrum and kanban effectively can only be done using a deductive approach. As the inductive approach deals with theory formation and this is not the aim of the present research that cannot be followed here.  

3.4 Research Strategies

Case study and interview are both strategies that have been used by the researcher to make the analysis portion of this research. The case study approach has helped the researcher to understand the implication of Scrum and Kanban in achieving organisational project aims.  On the other hand, the interview approach has helped in collecting qualitative data from the managers about organisational project performance. Interview is an approach that helps in collecting the real-time data from the company managers about the execution and success rate of the organisational projects following the scrum and kanban projects methods. On the other hand, the case study information has helped in preparing a comparative account of the primary and secondary research outcomes in an effective manner.

3.5 Research Choices

Case study and interview both are qualitative research methods. Both of these methods have been executed here. Multi-method qualitative research choices have been done here to compare scrum and kanban methods. The application of purely qualitative research has improved the theoretical base of the present research (Agyekum-Mensah, Reid and Temitope, 2020).

3.6 Time Horizon

In this study, a cross-sectional time horizon would be followed to collect data from the participants at a particular time.

[Refer to Appendix 1]

3.7 Data Collection method

The data collection method is mainly of two types including primary and secondary data collection methods. In the primary research, required data is collected from different original and real-time sources. On the contrary, in secondary research, information and data are collected from existing relevant sources such as journals, articles. Books, case studies, business or industry reports and so on. The secondary data collection method is more cost and time effective and helps to generate new insights from the previous analyses. In contrast, primary research ensures better accuracy of data and helps to get up-to-date information (Agyekum-Mensah Reid and Temitope, 2020). On the other hand, there are mainly two types of data including qualitative and quantitative data which can be collected through both primary and secondary research. Qualitative data is detailed information regarding a topic while quantitative data is numeric information (Queirós, Faria and Almeida, 2017).

Focusing on all of these aspects, in this present research, multi-methods are used to collect and analyse required data to obtain significant findings based on the specific aims and questions. In this research, predominantly qualitative data are collected from case studies and interviews. In this particular context, interviews would be conducted among 6 managers who are involved in different agile projects in different business sectors in the UK including Information Technology (IT), software engineering, construction and so on. A set of open-ended questions would be developed and asked to these participants to collect primary qualitative data. In addition to that, two different case studies related to Scrum and Kanban project management methodologies would be collected to gather relevant information from existing projects. Here, case studies evaluated by Rahman Sharif, and Esa (2013) and Bass et al. (2018) for Kanban and Scrum methods respectively would be used for further analysis. This information would be considered as secondary qualitative data for further analysis. 

3.8 Data Analysis method

Focusing on the silenced data, the methods of data analysis are generally selected (Queirós, Faria and Almeida, 2017). In This present research, as multi-methods including primary and secondary qualitative data collection methods are used, multi-methods are also followed.  Based on the collected data, case study analysis and interview analysis would be performed to answer the specific research questions. In the case of interview analysis, the responses of the participants would be analysed and then compared and contradicted with the secondary information. On the other hand, the selected case studies would be analysed to identify the benefits, issues and other aspects related to existing projects. In this way, it can be possible to evaluate the key findings of this study based on the specific research objectives and questions.

3.9 Ethical Consideration

There are certain research ethics which are needed to be met properly to ensure that the entire research is conducted in a systematic, ethical and legal way. In this research, the data are collected from authentic and reliable sources and in the case of secondary research, all the authors of the sources are acknowledged with citations. On the other hand, in the case of an interview, the participants would not be forced to participate in this research and before conducting the interviews; consent and permission would be taken. All the collected data would not be stored protected in a secured and password-based laptop and would only be assessed by the researchers and the assessor. This data would be used only for academic purposes and not for any commercial or business purposes. From this point of view, it can be stated that ethical consideration is properly maintained in this research.

3.10 Summary 

From the details, of this chapter, it can be said that multi-method qualitative research has been conducted here. Comparing the two case studies has helped in understanding the effective project management method. On the other hand, interview responses have clarified the research method that is presently effective in managing organisational projects.

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Appendix 1: Research Timeline

Activities 1st to 2nd week 3rd to 4th weeks 5th to 6th weeks 7th to 8th week 9th to 10th week 11th week
Topic selection            
Developing aim, objectives and questions            
Literature review            
Primary and Secondary data collection            
Data analysis            
Conclusion and recommendation            
Submission of the research study            

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