Framework, methodology or mindset?

Who cares? I do! Why?

First,  because it offers an opportunity for a blog post (that increase social media presence, etc.… J), second because some of you are using those words in a wrong way which leads to wrong decisions being made which leads to pain and suffering (more commonly known as poor performance).

I am not trying to find right or wrong answers, or which is better, my aim is just to clarify meaning. Let’s create some order in this confusion.


A particular way of thinking: a person’s attitude or set of opinions about something
[Source: Miriam-Webster dictionary]

A mindset is something we believe to be true, which does not mean it is based on faith.
We use the mindset, sometimes unconsciously, when we think (valid only for those who think) and make decisions, a common example is the “fixed vs. growth” mindset, when a person has a fixed mindset they make decisions based on a principle such as “I am who I am, this is what I was born with”. A mindset does not prescribe anything except within a context in which it is tested.


1. The basic structure of something
2. A set of ideas or facts that provide support for something
3. A supporting structure
[Source: Miriam-Webster dictionary]

A framework is used whenever we need to help something stay in place, be steady and robust, we use a framework for our kitchen cabinets, our car body and they way we work. Just like when writing code, a framework is something we can\should be using in order to increase stability, it is likely to be meaningless unless having something built on top of it.


A set of methods, rules, or ideas that are important in a science or art
A particular procedure or set of procedures
[Source: Miriam-Webster dictionary]

A methodology is much more prescriptive and much less context sensitive, it is a set of methods and procedures to be used when facing a certain situation, it is often context specific, and is meant to be applied “as is”.

So which is which?

Not that simple is it? Here is my view:

Agile – while it does not fit 100%, I tend to place Agile more in the mindset category, one of the principles is a bit more prescriptive than I would like them to be (and btw did not stand the test of time for that reason) – “Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.”, and still it is not even a framework since you cannot really implement it.

Scrum – In my opinion Scrum is really is a 100% framework, it clearly defines the structure needed to be developing products, but offers no advice on what the product development will be, it is meaningless on its own and forces you to make decisions and fit your process inside it. Of course it does not match any process, the same way you cannot properly fit a cabinet door in a car body frame.

LeSS – Large Scale Scrum – is allegedly just like scrum (Based on the LeSS principles) and indeed it is, just like Scrum, not sufficiently complete so that you can take it as is and implement it without making further choices and decisions.

Kanban – Kanban is much simpler than most people think, it is really a very simple methodology that you can implement as is, it is not originated in software and have been applied in many domains. Kanban is very clear and has six rules which dictate how to operate the Kanban System. Hence, Kanban is a methodology.

Lean – This is where it gets tricky, Lean is so much, it a definable multiple framework, mindset, thinking tools, management culture, so I am not sure exactly where to put it, but since it includes so much I am guessing it is all of the above and more…

SAFe – Safe is full of guidance, quote: “It provides comprehensive guidance for work at the enterprise Portfolio, Value Stream, Program, and Team levels”, and while SAFe is referred to as a framework, I would definitely challenge this statement and call it a methodology.

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