The Agile Manifesto is a document of values and principles created with an aim to improve the software development process.
The Agile Manifesto is an alternative to the traditional approaches of software development methodologies.
Its intent is to create a more efficient system for teams.
Although the Agile Manifesto was created for the software development process, it has become a key tool for planning all sorts of projects.
The concept of lean software development (also called Minimum Viable Product) originated from this concept. It emphasizes the optimization of resources, eliminating waste, and releasing the bare-minimum version of the product in the market.
The 12 principles of the Agile Manifesto
The Agile Manifesto is supported by 12 principles, all based on the four core values described a bit later in this post.
1. Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through the early and continuous delivery of valuable software.
Customer satisfaction is the key to achieving success and growth in the software industry.
Customers are happier if they receive working pieces of software at regular intervals throughout the project life cycle.
They prefer this over having to wait for one final deliverable. Piecemeal delivery also opens the channel for feedback from the customers.
2. Welcome changing requirements, even late in development.
Last-minute changes happen, and software developers should be capable of handling these changes in the applications.
Teams should be flexible enough to turn these changes quickly into improvements, ensuring an uninterrupted flow of work.
3. Deliver working software frequently, with a preference for the shorter timescale.
Agile teams break down large projects into small packets of deliverables with shorter timelines, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, to guarantee regular delivery. Scrum accommodates this principle since the team operates in software sprints or iterations.
4. Businesspeople and developers must work together throughout the project.
As discussed in the values, collaboration is the key.
Having feedback on the product at regular intervals ensures that the team is on the right track.
It not only keeps the customer informed about the product but also provides space for timely modifications to the product.
5. Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need.
Having the right team is absolutely non-negotiable. Spending time and resources finding the right talent for the job is worth it. With the right people, the project is more likely to be successful.
Lastly, it’s important to equip them with the needed resources, a healthy environment, and trust their abilities in delivering exceptional results.
6. The best method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.
In person meetings are simply irreplaceable. However, in COVID times, Zoom has come up as a close alternative to team meetings.
7. Working software is the primary measure of progress.
The main objective is delivering quality products in time to the customer. This is the most critical and primary goal of software development.
8. Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
A repeatable consistent pattern should be established for the sustainable development of the project. It prevents the team members from being overwhelmed while keeping constant progress without any delays.
9. Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.
In Agile, the focus of the team is to innovate and achieve improvement with every update. It allows teams to not just create working software but also deliver a high-quality product.
10. Simplicity — the art of maximizing the amount of work not done — is essential.
Whenever in doubt, simplify the task. Meet the requirements of the client without complicating things or making them more complex.
11. The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.
Self-organized and motivated teams with decision-making powers provide more value to the customers.
12. At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then adjusts its behavior accordingly.
Agile methodology believes in continuous iterations, where the team learns from its mistakes and improves its performance in future deliverables.
Who created the Agile Manifesto?
Agile Manifesto was created in 2001, although it has been applied to projects since the mid-1990s.
It was created by a group of 17 signatories representing programming and development backgrounds to create a better process of software development.
This group came to be known as Agile Alliance that later developed into a community of more than 72,000 people.
The four values of the Agile Manifesto
Four values are at the heart of the Agile Manifesto.
1. Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
In this world of constant change, businesses need to be responsive to customer needs and requirements.
Tools and processes are less responsive to the changing requirements.
Therefore, the agile methodology puts people and communication at the very core of its values.
2. Working software over comprehensive documentation
Earlier, teams spent hours creating documents with detailed specifications that would slow down the speed and delay the process of getting software out the door.
Agile methodology advocates streamlining the documentation (not eliminating it completely) and condensing the information into user stories.
In this way, the developer gets all the details to get started on the project. The idea is to develop and deliver something to the customer quickly and incorporate the changes as a part of the process.
3. Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
The third value of the Agile Manifesto focuses on the importance of customer collaboration.
Unlike contract negotiations, the customer collaboration approach involves constant participation of the customer, which enhances the quality of the final product.
This process not only delivers the final product as per the requirements of the client, but also delivers a great user experience.
Related: How to know what your customers want
4. Responding to change over following a plan
Traditional methods of software development were quite rigid, leaving less room for changes and modifications.
In the traditional waterfall method, the requirements, cost, and timeline of software development were decided upfront. This process leaves less scope for changes and alteration, as it costs time and money to make changes to something that has already been built.
As against this approach, agile methodology welcomes changes even in the later stages. Hence the name “agile.”
The Agile Manifesto is flexible, and you can interpret it for your team in a manner most suitable for you. Discuss the agile method with your team and explore how adopting it can deliver more value to the customers and be more efficient.
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