The companies that survive and thrive in this world will be agile companies: those able to quickly and confidently respond to change, deliver value faster than the competition and build high-quality products that customers really want.
Birth of The Agile Manifesto
For a long time, projects were managed by the waterfall methodology. It executed ties cascaded from analyzing the requirements to designing implementing testing and rollout. Although the approach was exceedingly structured and organized clients were not satisfied with the fact what was happening was that most parts of the projects were out of budget time scope and quality and clients were dissatisfied. Interestingly, the dissatisfaction persisted even when the projects were delivered on time. The issue persisted until a group of software practitioners came together and created a set of alternative approaches known as the Agile Manifesto.
The group understood that the software industry needed a better, quicker way to get products to market. Their goal was to develop new methods for changing a product and project that would not impact the cost or delay the production schedule. The Agile Manifesto was initially drafted as a solution for software development management, but the Agile methodology has since grown to encompass projects across various industries and businesses.
The four values of the Agile Manifesto are:
- Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
- Working software over comprehensive documentation
- Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
- Responding to change over following a plan
What is Agile Methodology?
Agile is a process by which a team can manage a project by breaking it up into several stages and involving constant collaboration with stakeholders and continuous improvement and iteration at every stage. The Agile methodology begins with clients describing how the end product will be used and what problem it will solve. This clarifies the customer’s expectations for the project team. Once the work begins, teams cycle through a process of planning, executing, and evaluating — which might just change the final deliverable to fit the customer’s needs better. Continuous collaboration is key, both among team members and with project stakeholders, to make fully-informed decisions.
Agile Software Development
The Agile software development methodology is one of the simplest and effective processes to turn a vision for a business need into software solutions. Agile is a term used to describe software development approaches that employ continual planning, learning, improvement, team collaboration, evolutionary development, and early delivery. It encourages flexible responses to change.
Importance of Agile
Teams choose agile so they can respond to changes in the marketplace or feedback from customers quickly without derailing a year’s worth of plans. “Just enough” planning and shipping in small, frequent increments let the team gather feedback on each change and integrate it into plans at a minimal cost.
United Under A Shared Vision
As described by the Agile Manifesto, authentic human interactions are more important than rigid processes. Collaborating with customers and teammates is more important than predefined arrangements. And delivering a working solution to the customer’s problem is more important than hyper-detailed documentation. An agile team unites under a shared vision, then brings it to life the way they know is best. Each team sets its standards for quality, usability, and completeness. Their “definition of done” then informs how fast they’ll churn the workout. Although it can be scary at first, company leaders find that when they put their trust in an agile team, that team feels a greater sense of ownership and rises to meet (or exceed) management’s expectations.
Building an Agile Business
As the pace of change accelerates and disruption becomes the norm, the most successful companies are differentiating themselves by sensing market opportunities and responding more quickly and confidently than the competition. Organizational agility of this order requires architecting your whole business system for speed, adaptation and opportunity. It means breaking down silos between departments and engaging marketing, sales, finance, operations and the executive suite, so you can steer the entire company in the right direction.