Understanding the Values and Principles of Agile
To produce a project rapidly, effective teams breaks the project into several stages called sprints. The software is developed in swift cycles and focuses on customer satisfaction. This style of work is called Agile Methodology. Agile Methodology is a mix of a repetitive and progressive processes that supports continuous iteration of testing and development throughout the software development lifecycle of a project.
In order to help practitioners understand and practice agile, a set of values and principles were laid down by a group of 17 developers about 20 years ago. This set of values and principles is called the Agile Manifesto. Agile Manifesto is the core of the Agile Movement. There are four values and 12 principles. These are:
Agile Manifesto Values:
- Individuals and Interactions Over Processes and Tools
It is better to have individuals interacting and working than being dependent on a particular process and specific tools. When following a particular process without analyzing the requirements, there are tons of dead ends and misunderstandings. To avoid these problems, it’s better to involve team members. Getting solutions from several individuals when problems arise is usually the best way to find the right fix for the team as a whole.
- Working Software over Comprehensive Documentation
In the traditional working process, job details and guidelines were put into documents. It was later decided that many of these documents didn’t address all scenarios, and staff wasted time poring over endless pages when the solution might not even be indicated in the text at all. Replacing traditional documentation with working software made sense, and Agile did the work to make this a reality.
- Customer Collaboration over Contract Negotiation:
Contract negotiation finalizes the client’s requirements once it is closed. Therefore, requirements couldn’t be adjusted after finalization. In this traditional method, contract negotiation was performed when terms changed. Customer collaboration is the better route to take considering a continuous process of requests can be made by the client. This process allows the customer to connect with the team and their progress.
- Responding to Change over Following a Plan:
The changes being made in any product are considered to be very expensive and hence are avoided. But, changes are required to improve work performance. Change makes client satisfaction possible. With Agile, changes can be made faster because of small stages or sprints in the project, and every sprint has its own priority. These small iterative cycles allow the customer to give feedback regularly.
The 12 Agile Principles were added after the creation of the manifesto. These principles strive to help teams and guide their change into an agile platform. The 12 principles of the agile manifesto include:
1. Customer satisfaction holds the highest priority- this is done through continuous and early software delivery.
2. Receive changing requirements, despite stage in development- Agile methods provide change for the competitive advantage of the customers.
3. Regular delivery of working software- The delivery time ranges from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, preferably a shorter timescale.
4. Face-to-face conversations- These are considered to be the most effective and efficient modes of communication.
5. Teamwork and collaboration- Business stakeholders and developers work closely throughout the project.
6. Trust, support and motivate the team- This results in the delivery of better projects.
7. Functioning software is the initial measure of growth – Delivering working software to the customer is the main factor that measures progress.
8. Agile processes support sustainable development. The users, developers and sponsors should maintain a constant pace continually.
9. Enhancing agility- This can be done by giving constant attention to technical perfection and good design.
10. Simplicity- Developing enough software to get the job done.
11. Self-organizing teams- This leads to the best architecture, requirements and design.
12. The effectiveness of the team- Advancement in skills and techniques that help the individuals working in the team to perform efficiently, which in turn promotes process improvement.
Agile manifesto consists of values and principles that are built on trust, collaboration and respect. The group of people who developed the Agile Manifesto called themselves the “Agile Alliance.” Agile methodologies are not only used in software development, but also in various other industries including lean manufacturing. The answer to its success is that it is easily adaptable to change. And that’s the answer to everyone’s success, ultimately.
Agile methodologies focus on communication and driving customer satisfaction. The incremental development of software reduces risks as the product is tested every 1-4 weeks and goes through continuous feedback. There are various roles in agile which include scrum master, product owner and cross-functional team.