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10 Types of Agile Frameworks

Agile frameworks are as diverse as your project teams. The quest for a perfect framework can feel like searching for a mythical creature—tempting but ultimately fruitless. You’re after something that resonates with your team’s unique needs and quirks. The rest is just noise.

Making the right choice here isn’t trivial. It’s pivotal to steering groups toward success rather than chasing their own tails.

Expect to leave this guide equipped with:

  • An understanding of how different agile frameworks are tailored to distinct organizational demands.
  • Insights on aligning framework selection directly with enhanced project output and smoother team interaction.
  • A detailed perspective on several agile methodologies, arming you with the knowledge necessary for an educated choice.

What is an Agile Framework?

In short, an Agile framework is the set of tools a product manager has for getting better all the time and adapting to change adeptly. If you’re on the hunt for overnight success or easy shortcuts, this isn’t your stop. Agile means committing to the process through thick and thin.

Agile frameworks aren’t just rulebooks you blindly follow. Think of them as a specific approach inspired by that big idea—the Agile Manifesto

Agile is all about speed, flexibility, and keeping an eye on what your customer wants. Because, let’s face it, their minds change faster than a glitch pops up in beta testing.

Every agile framework suggests, “Hey, folks are more important than the process,” pushing for real conversations over filling out endless forms or ticking boxes on some tool.

At the end of the day—or sprint—it’s about getting better step by step.

How to Pick an Agile Framework?

Selecting an agile framework is less about hopping on the latest trend and more about strategic fit. It’s crucial to evaluate several key dimensions before choosing:

  • Team Size: Assess whether you’re steering a tight ship or commanding a sizable crew because size matters here. Massive frameworks will swallow small teams whole, while lightweight models may leave larger teams in chaos.
  • Project Complexity: For those of us juggling projects with layers upon layers of complexity, it’s vital to pinpoint a framework that can bring some order without stifling progress.
  • Company Culture: What’s your company vibe? Your chosen framework must fit into how things run around your office. It should be like adding spices to a well-cooked meal, enhancing flavors rather than clashing with them.
  • Customer Engagement: If customer feedback for you isn’t just ‘nice-to-have’ but rather ‘critical intel’, then opt for something that brings their voice right into the sprint meetings regularly.
  • Adaptability: Lastly, we live in an age where change is not only expected but arrives at breakneck speed, so make sure whatever you pick won’t buckle under pressure when pivots are needed ASAP.

Think of these aspects as checkpoints on your roadmap when navigating through the crowded space of agile methodologies available out there.

The Top 10 Agile Frameworks

You’ve heard it all before. Every new framework is a game-changer for your projects. 

But reality check—not every one of them will align with what you’re trying to achieve. 

So, we’ll get straight to the point about some top contenders in the agile world, who they really work for, and whether one might just be that might be the tool you didn’t know you needed.

1. Scrum

Best for: Teams that aren’t too big or small.

Why: It plays nice when you have a team that doesn’t mind playing by some rules but still wants room to stretch their legs. 

We’re not running marathons; instead, we are going on brisk two-week sprints (give or take). Chewing through work in bite-sized pieces means your lot can pivot as smoothly as a tango dancer if something new comes up without breaking a sweat. 

It’s spot-on for those who get that changes and rapid feedback loops are part of the game and want to keep things moving at pace.

2. Kanban

Best for: Teams that need to ship updates like clockwork.

Why: Where there’s a need for work to keep moving without getting stuck, Kanjuan shines. 

It’s particularly handy for teams in service or maintenance where delays can cause headaches. With its visual board showing what’s happening at every stage, it lets everyone track progress with just a glance – no nasty surprises here. 

Plus, it helps spread out the workload evenly, so your team isn’t swamped one minute and twiddling their thumbs the next. 

This way, you’re delivering quality work consistently without burning out your squad.

3. Lean Software Development (LSD)

Best for: Teams aiming to make every second and every penny count.

Why: This one isn’t about trippy experiences, rather it’s getting serious with efficiency. 

This method is all about cutting the fat—think more steak, less sizzle—in software creation by ditching anything that doesn’t bring value to the table. 

Time crunch? 

Budget like a shoestring? 


Startups and big players with tight belts will appreciate how LSD keeps things simple yet effective. It’s about keeping your eye on the prize – quality software, quick delivery, no distractions.

4. Extreme Programming (XP)

Best for: Product development teams that need to pivot quickly.

Why: If change is the only constant in your customer’s universe, XP is a lifesaver. It focuses on embracing this chaos with open arms through regular releases and team huddles so tight they’d make rugby scrums look loose. 

Aiming for nothing short of technical brilliance, it expects you to tweak and polish repeatedly. With pair programming buddies, integration as continuous as coffee refills, and a test-first mentality, XP does more than keep quality standards sky-high—it ensures teams can turn on a dime when customer whims change.

5. Feature-Driven Development (FDD)

Best for: Teams on the bigger side that need to tackle intricate projects.

Why: Essentially, FDD is all about clarity and keeping everyone in the loop with progress you can actually see. 

Each feature is broken down into client-centric “functions” or chunks of work, each one wrapped up within a neat two-week timeframe. 

It’s like a well-oiled machine designed for complexity but still agile enough to handle what comes with large group dynamics. 

By weaving together model-driven design and constant input from clients, it balances forward-thinking planning with pinpoint accuracy in tracking progress. This way no team member gets lost at sea—everyone stays dialed in on where the project is headed.

6. Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM)

Best for: Tight deadlines, no-nonsense environments needing a disciplined approach.

Why: If you’re in the trenches with high-stakes projects where slip-ups aren’t an option and compliance is king, DSDM steps up to the plate. 

It’s all about getting iterative releases out the door without sacrificing control or veering off track from regulations. 

You’ll find a strong emphasis on stakeholder collaboration and making sure everyone’s on board before diving into the deep end. 

DSDM meticulously checks everything off, ensuring your deliverables are spot-on without any nasty budget surprises or scope side-eyes.

7. Crystal

Best for: Projects that thrive on adaptability and constant chatter.

Why: Crystal doesn’t worship at the altar of rigid processes or fancy tools. Instead, it’s all about the people-power in your team. 

Customizable to a tee, this approach shifts its game plan according to who’s on board, how much you can’t afford to mess up, and what’s topping your priority list. 

If your team digs flexibility over formality, then Crystal is right up your alley, promoting teamwork without boxing anyone in.

8. Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe)

Best for: Major companies aiming to get everyone on the same page.

Why: Let’s face it, wrangling a multitude of teams in a big organization is no walk in the park. That’s where SAFe comes into play—it’s like that friend who organizes group vacations without breaking a sweat. 

It scales up agile principles and gives them structure, so they work just as well for the big leagues as they do for smaller setups. 

By aligning themes, programs, and team efforts within an overarching strategy, it makes sure every part of your enterprise is moving together harmoniously—like synchronized swimmers but with less water and more Gantt charts. 

Plus, if you’re into credentials (and who isn’t?) Being certified in SAFe can be a well-earned badge on your PM portfolio.

9. Adaptive Software Development (ASD)

Best for: Teams that thrive on curveballs and quick pivots.

Why: Because who likes stagnation, right? ASD is the go-to when your game plan needs to switch at the drop of a hat. 

Forget long-winded planning. This framework is all about cycling through speculation, collaboration, and learning. It’s perfect when you’re operating in markets where last week’s ‘big thing’ is old news. 

This approach embraces uncertainty and leverages it to deliver precisely what the market needs at the moment. 

If your team gets fired up by constant updates from clients or customers with ever-changing hearts and minds, then ASD has got your back.

10. Rapid Application Development (RAD)

Best for: Teams in a rush to get their software out the door and willing to tweak things after launch day.

Why: Let’s face it – planning is crucial, but sometimes you just need something tangible, fast. RAD shrinks development time by prioritizing prototypes that actually work right now rather than getting bogged down in heavy-duty planning sessions. 

It invites customer input early on and throughout the process, making sure what you’re building aligns with what users want as they want it. If your deadlines are breathing down your neck or if ‘fixed requirements’ sound like an oxymoron to you, RAD’s iterative approach helps teams stay nimble and respond at warp speed without losing their minds—or customers.

The PM’s Hot Take

I often see teams handcuffed by the framework they choose, rather than empowered. Remember, it’s about the right fit, not the popular choice. Agile should feel like a well-oiled glove; if it feels like a straitjacket, you’ve got it wrong.


Selecting the perfect agile framework is less about following the crowd and more about what fits your team’s dynamics and project requirements like a glove.

Consider this guide as your launch pad for assessing which ones to shortlist, but let’s face it: You’ve got a keen sense of what makes your team tick—leverage that when making decisions.

Keen on weaving these frameworks into how your team rolls? Dive into our comprehensive playbook on building an agile roadmap. For extra insights just like this, straight from the trenches, take a peek at our Fibery blog – penned by folks who eat, sleep, and breathe PM.


Q: Which are the agile frameworks?

You’ll find Scrum and Kanban stealing most of the spotlight. Other key players include Extreme Programming (XP), Feature-Driven Development (FDD), and Lean Software Development. 

Not to mention there’s Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM), Crystal methodologies, Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), Adaptive Software Development (ASD), and Rapid Application Development (RAD) if you want more in your toolkit.

Q: What are the four types of agile?

Breaking down agile methodologies, we’ve got a fab four: Scrum for its sprints, Kanban with its visual flow management, Lean thinking that trims the fat off processes, and Extreme Programming (or XP) if continuous feedback is your process.

Q: Is Six Sigma an agile framework?

No, It’s like comparing apples to statistical charts—related to quality control but certainly not an agile contender. Instead of iterative cycles, it relies on hardcore data analysis to stamp out errors in processes.

Q: What is agile vs waterfall?

Agile is all about being nimble, with iterations, and embracing change as it comes along, even late in the game! 

Waterfall doesn’t move quite so quickly—it marches one step at a time, a full stop after every phase, before moving on to the next one. It can be a rigid way of doing things when curveballs are thrown into your project plans.

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