Agile vs Scrum vs Hybrid Agile – What is the difference?

Agile is a set of values and principles that define lightweight product development frameworks. The principles and values were created by thought leaders in the software development community who recognized that traditional waterfall approaches are risky when creating complex systems. The term “Agile” is a brand that represents these values and principles.

During training we sometimes review a real life case study where a client chose a “Hybrid Agile” approach for implementing a new ERP, based on the vendor’s recommendation. This “Hybrid Agile” approach is popular with large consultancies especially when implementing large systems like an ERP. Companies including Accenture, Avenade, Deloitte, Bain, PwC and McKinsey will recommend “Hybrid Agile” since it maximizes consulting revenue. Change requests, large requirements, project management overhead and long periods with nothing customers can use and evaluate serve to leave the client at the mercy of the vendor. “Hybrid Agile” is not Agile, since it results in the delivery of components (for example a database) rather than capabilities the business could use. In the case study, release 1.0 (8 months) and 1.5 (5 months) resulted in delivery of a cloud environment and data migration that was not useful to the business. Not only was there no functionality the business could use, the components delivered would not provide user feedback, since those components would not be usable until everything was completed.

After one year and nothing useful delivered for the business, we worked with the client to switch their ERP configuration to an Agile approach. The Agile approach was to change the client’s release strategy.  The next release 2.1, is a release that would deliver a narrow slice of end to end functionality. The functionality will be put into production and will be used by operational staff. Staff can then provide feedback on whether the functionality available in the new production system meets their needs or not. The next release 2.2 would deliver another slice of end to end functionality. This approach substantially reduces the risk of building the wrong solution by getting operations people starting to use the new ERP alongside the familiar old ERP. By deploying to production early we also learn about the technical aspects of the system’s implementation and real world use.

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Scrum is a framework that provides specific practices that we can follow to achieve Agile Values and Principles. Scrum provides the flexibility to accommodate different types of complex work, from marketing to developing manufactured products to software development.

To demonstrate Scrum at a high level, I created an illustrated video describing the US Government’s attempt to deliver the health insurance website, why that implementation failed and how could have been done using Scrum and Agile.

Innovel offers complete solutions to transition from “Hybrid Agile” to a truly Agile Approach, it is easier than you think. If you are curious how to fully embrace an Agile transformation, we would love to have a chat. Give us a call.


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