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Topics: Agile
Iteration and flow-based Agile

How are they different? What context do we use them?
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Iterations usually have time-boxed limits and a set plan for the time box. Workflow, like Kanban, doesn't have that. The work is ongoing and continuous. Kanban uses WIP limits for each stage of the process to help create a structure.

With iterations, it gives you ready built time periods for inspection, adaptation, planning. With workflow you have to build those in.

Both are flexible. My experience has been that with software iterative and incremental approaches work best. With IT-related projects, like migrations, workflow seems to work best. But those are my opinions and I know people who disagree with me.

They are different in many ways like Joshua mentioned. The Agile Guide in fact highlights those differences in details in terms of frequency of release, time boxing, estimating, scheduling and so on.

Damian -

Iterations are like training wheels for teams and organizations who are new to agile. Take a look at Modern Agile which proposes moving right to a continuous flow model.

While I support this, in enterprise contexts with many teams, I find that the "training wheels" approach does create consistency of practice until the changes are fully institutionalized...


Iterations give a sense of comfort, as we as humans are use to conforming to cycles and a clock.

Damian -

We use iterative & incremental framework for medium to large-sized development projects. For handling maintenance issues Kanban is very useful. Iterations & time-boxed events provide cadence and help in synchronising with multiple other teams.

Thank you Joshua for your detailed reply. Thanks Rami, Kiron, Sante & Girija.

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