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What is Agile?

Now more than ever, Agile is a buzzword in many places, but it doesn’t apply to just anything. The Agile Manifesto defines the mindset that is needed to actually be Agile.

Starting in the late 1980s, groups of software developers were creating methodologies and frameworks for development that they found more effective than traditional methods. By 2001, frameworks like Scrum and Extreme Programming were gaining wider acceptance. Seventeen of these people met in February of that year to discuss their creations and what was similar about them. The result was the Agile Manifesto, an umbrella of ideas that encompasses the core of their different frameworks. The Agile Manifesto and its Twelve Principles define a powerful set of ideas that enhance and support human creativity.

There is no single “Agile Methodology,” since the statements of values and principles are not specific enough to act on directly. However, any given framework or methodology can be defined as Agile if it supports the Agile Manifesto values and principles. Thus, there are several frameworks and practices that are designed to be Agile. Scrum, Extreme Programming (XP) and Test Driven Development are a few that fall under the Agile umbrella. The power of Agile comes from recognizing human strengths and focusing them on creating value for the customer.

How do Agile frameworks and practices create such enhanced value? Let’s look at a few connected points that have to do with working with your customers:

  • “We value…[c]ustomer collaboration over contract negotiation” (The third value statement)
  • “Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.” (The first principle)
  • “Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.” (The fourth principle)

How would your company and employees work differently if they followed these ideas? How much better would your relationship with the customer be? How much more likely would it be that customers love the completed project?

When you read these and other ideas of the Agile Manifesto, you may wonder how putting them into action can work in your company, department or team. Agile Coaching helps your organization figure out your way of executing Agile practices to make the benefits a reality for you and your customers.

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