A pretty good summary of Lean, Agile, Scrum

Takeshi Yoshida
12 min readMay 22, 2018
A cornerstone article by Agile Organization Development (https://agile-od.com)

Glossary: Lean, Agile, Scrum, Sprint, Kanban

  • Agile and Lean are technically different things, but it’s okay to consider them similar — they are both modern versions of trial & error; i.e. experimental & iterative approaches for highly uncertain challenges.
  • Lean Manufacturing (Lean TQM) and Lean Startup are technically different things, but it’s okay to consider both as Lean. (More on this here.)
  • Scrum is one of the most popular Agile implementation frameworks. Sprint is a Scrum terminology. It’s what the iteration cycle in Scrum is called.
  • So: Lean ≈ Agile > Scrum > Sprint

Why Lean & Agile?

Because in this changing world of social and digital engagement, we need a better way of doing business and managing organizations.

Lean & Agile are antidotes to the two main causes of dysfunction in modern organizations:

  1. Waterfall project management, and
  2. Functional hierarchical organization structures.

Waterfall Project Management vs Agile Product Development

When we think of project management, most of us imagine a disciplined, step-by-step approach of work with good planning and clear goal setting. This is essentially waterfall project management.

Waterfall project management thinking is ingrained in our culture. Our education puts emphasis on good preparation and step-by-step prudence. Progress is meeting the marks on check points. Knowing we are on track gives us comfort and confidence, and it also helps monitoring and management easier for our teachers and leaders. It is a good approach. Many of the modern marvels in the world wouldn’t exist without waterfall. Enterprises across the globe have scaled successfully with waterfall. But waterfall has its limitations: it…

Takeshi Yoshida

Chief Coach, Agile Organization Development (agile-od.com) — we are a tribe of change, transformation, innovation experts