Agile methodologies: what they are and how they can be used

It is quite likely that, at some point, you have heard about agile methodologies, which are also called agile methods. Or maybe you know some of the most popular agile methods like Scrum, Kanban, or XP.

Having its roots in the area of ​​software development, the term agile has taken over other areas and is currently applied in several types of projects. Agile has often been understood by companies literally by its synonym: fast. However, what does it really mean to be agile within the corporate context? How do agile methodologies work? That’s what we’re going to talk about today.

Below, you will find complete content on the subject, separating the main management methodologies so that you and your team can stay on top of market trends and choose the methodology that best fits your context! Understand once and for all what agile methodologies mean, how they are used in the daily lives of professionals and what are their advantages, especially in relation to traditional methodologies. Keep reading to find out more!

What are agile methodologies?

Agile methods are a set of practices that aim to deliver faster and with quality, whether of products or services. His approach aims to align the development of each project with the needs of the client and the company. Therefore, agile methodologies seek to streamline and streamline management processes, eliminating and predicting problems that management faces. They have emerged as an alternative to traditional methods and encourage organization, frequent inspection, adaptation, teamwork, and communication.

It is important to note that the agile method is not necessarily synonymous with speed, but with greater adaptability. Did not understand? Let’s explain! Adaptability must be the best way to translate agile methodologies. An agile organization is able to adapt to changes and market dynamism, meeting its goals and those of the client with harmony and flexibility. The market is constantly changing, as are customer needs and the challenges the company faces. Therefore, it is necessary for the organization to be prepared to deal with these issues, or, in other words, to be adaptable.

How do agile methods work?

One of the ways that agile methods work is to make small divisions. We can say that they follow the maxim “divide and conquer”. Thus, each project is divided into smaller parts, facilitating the definition of a schedule and the understanding of the team about the direction of each stage.

One of the biggest challenges for companies is to internalize an agile culture, of adaptability, after all, the agile culture changes the way of looking at different aspects. But it is not impossible and it may even be the best way to bring about a restructuring that fits the standards currently required in the market.

What are the characteristics of agile companies?

Santiago Comella, partner at McKinsey & Company, an American company recognized as a world leader in business consulting, lists five characteristics that become common in companies that adopt the agile method. Are they:

Organizations clearly know what to do, why to do it, and when to do it when it comes to putting agile methods into practice;

They have cross-functional teams (teams made up of different professionals who have all the necessary skills to develop a particular product) that work together for the same objective, are able to understand the whole and find solutions;

Use customer feedback and interactions to improve their services and products;

They value their team as they value their customers;

They appreciate technology and understand it as a way to achieve agility and deliver experiences.

Many companies would like to reorganize and adapt to current market requirements, even more so due to digital transformation. Adopting agile methodologies can be, precisely, the opportunity to readjust yourself! Structuring an organization and establishing its processes was once considered a big deal, but nowadays, restructuring and redesigning processes are ongoing. In this way, transforming the company into an agile organization will be continuous.

Agile manifesto

In the early 1990s, the use of computers in companies increased, and the area of ​​software development went through a crisis of delays in the delivery of applications. At the time, experts estimated the time needed to validate demand and deliver it at three years. Faced with this scenario, several professionals started to work with different approaches, seeking to eliminate activities that they consider unproductive and to create more modern models that are consistent with reality.

What are the main agile methodologies?

The agile methods that exist today carry some of the values ​​contained in the agile manifesto. Learn about some of the main agile methodologies:


eXtreme Programming (XP);

Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe);


Feature Driven-Development (FDD);

Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM);


Test Driven Development (TDD);

Adaptative Software Development (ASD);

Microsoft Solutions Framework (MSF);

Among others.

See below for a more in-depth description of the top five agile methodologies that are frequently used in the market:

  1. Scrum

Currently, Scrum is the most used agile methodology. Created by Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber and published in 1995, the name is actually a term used in rugby to portray a restarted play.

In the agile Scrum methodology, the project is divided into smaller parts that are called sprints. Each of these parts lasts between one and four weeks. The functionalities that will be implemented are placed in a to-do list, called a backlog. At the beginning of each sprint, a planning meeting is held in which the product owner prioritizes backlog items while the team selects activities to implement the sprint it is starting. Once the sprint activities are defined, they should not be modified. After finishing a sprint, the team already plans the next one.

  1. Lean

Lean was introduced by the automotive industry. It is a management philosophy that aims at lean and efficient development, which requires minimal time, costs, and resources. In this way, Lean aims to combat excesses and reduce complexities, aiming to optimize results and avoid problems.

The team that adopts the Lean methodology has a clearer workflow, fast deliveries, and accurate identification of problems and failures. For this reason, the company becomes more competitive.

Lean principles are: eliminate waste, expand learning, empower the team, deliver fast, decide as late as possible, be quality and optimize the whole.

  1. Kanban

Although Kanban is not an agile methodology, but a system to organize activities, it is widely used in agile methodologies, precisely to organize the work, however, without describing the way the activities will be carried out.

Kanban, therefore, is a work management system. Developed by Toyota during the 1960s, it organizes tasks by status on boards. The project stages are distributed in columns: “To do”, “Doing” and “Done”. For each of these columns, a limit of activities in progress is established. That is, if there is a limit of five activities with the “Doing” status, for a new one to be inserted, another must evolve to the “Done” status.

Kanban is linked to the “just in time” concept and serves to identify priorities, allowing the team to focus on the tasks at hand.

  1. Feature Driven-Development (FDD)

Feature Driven-Development (FDD) is focused on product development by functionality, unlike Scrum, which focuses on project management. The FDD can be divided into two steps. The first is called conception and planning, in which a model is created based on the main information about the project and a list of functionalities is assembled. The second stage deals with the construction, in which the functionalities are developed iteratively (in cycles) and incrementally (each cycle generates a new increment, a new functionality).

  1. eXtreme Programming (XP)

Extreme programming (XP) is geared toward software development. Its objective is to obtain software with more quality and better quality of life for the development team. Its values ​​are communication, simplicity, feedback, courage, respect, and change. These are implemented through 13 practices: single team, planning game, acceptance testing, small phases, single design, pair programming, test-driven development, software design refactoring or improvement, continuous integration, and collective code ownership. , code standardization, metaphors, and sustainable rhythm.

Benefits of agile methodologies


Delivery of value to the customer;

Constant feedback;





Alignment with expectations;

Decreased failures;

Cost reduction.


Agile methodologies have conquered an increasingly larger and more beloved space among companies today, especially those wishing to undergo digital transformation. This is because agile methods provide more adaptability, flexibility, and speed, meeting the company’s objectives and ensuring customer satisfaction.

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