The term agile is used quite loosely today, but what does it really mean? Can a strategy or a team be agile by simply following a step-by-step development plan?
Many organizations have evolved, and their professionals need to be familiar with agile more precisely. By knowing agile's fundamental principles and core values, managers can understand how this entire concept works and why specific rules are followed during product development.
In this article, we will focus on agile core values and explain how they affect organizations on all levels.
The key values of agile
Agile revolutionized project management in some way. Let's get back to the 90s when the only known methodology was Waterfall. It frustrated both clients and managers primarily because the disparity between clients' requirements and delivered products was massive.
Delays were quite common, and many projects either ended with the client's dissatisfaction or were canceled. Also, team members were more focused on proper documentation than on clients' requirements.
For instance, the software industry struggled to fulfill the ever-changing demands of the customers, while developers had a hard time fully using the versatility of developing software. Soon, everyone started noticing that companies were wasting their resources by focusing on the wrong things.
There was a need for innovative and modern technologies that would allow project teams certain freedom while boosting their performance and efficiency. That is how core agile values came to exist. But we will talk more about them in a bit.
Four core values of agile
These values will provide you with a common foundation to create the best possible product. But let's go through the pillars of agile and explain them more deeply.
Individuals and interactions
This is the first value of the Agile Manifesto, which emphasizes people more than processes and tools. Valuing people more is rather easy to understand because they drive changes and meet customers' demands.
Let's take communication, for example. It values individuals versus processes. Communication is fluid for individuals and only happens when an opportunity arises. In processes, communication demands particular connections and follows a strict schedule.
Software over documentation
In the past, we used to spend a lot of time doing paperwork that would prepare the product for development and ensure delivery. Technical stuff, interface design, plans, and approvals were required for each.
This list was long and frequently caused delays in development. Keep in mind that agile doesn't bypass the documentation. However, it gives developers a sense of direction and what needs to be done without getting lost in red tape. Agile requirements are sufficient for developers to begin creating new functions.
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Negotiation is the best time for the product manager and the client to work on delivery details while ensuring that some details can be renegotiated. Keep in mind that collaboration is an entirely different activity.
With the Waterfall method, customers can negotiate product requirements, usually in great detail, before the project starts. The customer is involved every step of the way, not before development has begun or after it is finished. This step describes a customer who is present through the development stage, making it much easier to meet their expectations.
Responding to changes
Can you imagine sticking to a roadmap that never changes? In the past, that was the case. The issue with static roadmaps is that we don't live in a static world. Our world is susceptible to changes, and needs and requirements continuously shift while our priorities change.
We will soon outgrow static roadmaps. For that very reason, the Agile Manifesto suggests that project teams need to have the ability to pivot direction whenever necessary with the help of a flexible road map.
Keep in mind that a dynamic roadmap can change from quarter to quarter, on some occasions, month to month, while agile teams should be able to keep up with those changes.
What is the Agile Manifesto?
First developed in 2001, the Agile Manifesto sets up principal values behind agile philosophy while helping the development of teamwork more sustainably and efficiently.
It represents the foundation for most modern project management methodologies while featuring four core values and 12 principles. Project managers apply these principles to deliver exceptional products with high quality and value while staying within the given constraints of the project.
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Seventeen software engineers developed the Agile Manifesto while staying at a ski resort in Utah. They wanted to challenge the status quo and entirely change the problem-solving approach in project management.
What at one point started as a guide for software development has now become a globally accepted philosophy, especially when handling massive projects. Today, agile methodology can be applied to every aspect of a business.
Agile allows managers, project teams, and software developers complete freedom compared to other project management methodologies. There are no exact rules, hierarchy, procedures, or frameworks. As long as you follow agile principles, everything should be fine.
Why do we need the Agile Manifesto?
The Agile Manifesto is crucial for many reasons. Most importantly, it's valuable for software development teams because it allows them to assume a more flexible approach when guiding their project management processes.
This document also helps us understand what is significant to agile project management. The team can focus on priorities that align with their goals. For instance, software developers will know that client satisfaction is crucial. Therefore, all project plans should revolve around customer satisfaction.
On the other hand, teams should pay close attention to the "agile industrial complex." This means that agile best practices are imposed on a team rather than giving them the freedom to choose what's best for them. You can't apply a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to project management. Also, you can't force methodology that won't provide desired results. The Agile Manifesto document is hugely important if you wish to implement an agile methodology in your organization.
The purpose of the Agile Manifesto
The Agile Manifesto represents a set of key principles and values that every organization should employ. These values make the organization different from previous versions where they applied traditional software methodologies.
The main purpose of the Agile Manifesto is to give guiding principles and encourage change while maintaining profitability. It promotes collaboration among team members, regardless of the agile method being used.
It's important to mention that each professional needs to be familiar with these values and principles. Organizations and companies should completely understand and integrate these principles and values if they want to create value for stakeholders.