Agile development has become a standard process for many tech companies due to its transparency and quick results. Agile Manifesto continues to impact modern software development methods, primarily because it offers fresh alternatives and credibility to the process of software development. Agile Manifesto’s customer-centric approach is perhaps more relevant and required today than it was in the year 2001 when the manifesto was first laid out by a group of 17 developers at Utah. By following the fundamental values of Agile Manifesto and practicing them diligently, many organizations have been able to monitor a project’s progress and success effectively.
76% of respondents in a survey conducted by KPMG believe that agile projects will outnumber traditional projects by the end of this year.
Agile development offers both an iterative as well as an incremental set of practices for management. It allows development teams to focus on the quick delivery of business value in a progressive landscape. All the techniques of Agile project management such as Scrum, Kanban, and XP support the Agile Manifesto to offer seamless development, higher productivity, greater adaptability, and superior product delivery.
Origins of the Agile Manifesto
During the ’90s, one of the prominent challenges for organizations was the considerable time gap between the determination of business requirements (requests from the customers) and the delivery of the solutions that could fulfill the relevant demands. By the time the final product is ready, it would also be redundant since the customer requisites would have changed owing to the lag. Speed and agility had become a significant cause of concern for Product Development, and the widely used Waterfall model was incapable of solving it.
The disappointments around the lack of productivity in software development led to a group of 17 thought leaders teaming up in 2001 at a ski resort in Utah to come up with a solution and as a result pen down the Manifesto and its principles. This document that paved the way for new approaches to software development has since been extensively used by several organizations across the world.
What is Agile Manifesto?
A brief document with 4 values and 12 principles for agile software development, the manifesto starkly differentiates itself from the traditional methods. The Agile Manifesto continues to reshape the software development processes while emphasizing the needs of the customer. However, it does not impose any process or guideline for the methodology. Instead, it provides a theoretical approach to software development.
12 Principles of Agile Manifesto
The Agile values and approach focuses on building software in stages and phases to release its versions (user stories) in specific periods or sprints. Unlike the traditional process, Agile does not build software after having collated all the requirements at once but allows iterations and flexibility throughout the process.
The 4 Values of Agile Manifesto
As mentioned earlier, the manifesto comprises four foundational values and twelve supporting Agile principles, to focus on the delivery of high-quality software. Here’s a look at the 4 Agile values in detail.
1. Individuals and Interactions Over Processes and Tools
Focusing on communication, this value gives individuals and interactions greater importance than the processes and tools. If teams align, they can drive the process more effectively while responding faster to the business and functional requirements. When tools and processes dominate the activity, the team members can become less receptive to the needs of the client and eventually, the customers.
It is always recommended to encourage communication among teams instead of depending on procedures to manage the way forward. Team members can be flexible and prompt in solving a problem rather than relying on tools or processes, which makes it more time-oriented and less frequent.
2. Working Software Over Comprehensive Documentation
Time is the essence here – an Agile approach doesn’t wholly defy documentation but offers a developer a working software to get started. Traditional project management included extensive documentation, which involved a slack for months. This would affect the project delivery, and the delays were inescapable.
The sooner you resolve the issues with customer feedback, the faster you can move to the next problem or the project. Agile streamlines documentation, and offers developers what they need to maintain their work without getting stalled in technicalities. Agile values documentation, yet, it values working programming more. This means that the teams are responsive and ready to accept challenges whenever required by adhering the product mindset over project mindset.
3. Customer Collaboration Over Contract Negotiation
Contract negotiations usually happen when the customer and the product manager work on the details of the product towards the start of the process with little scope for changes along the way. This greatly rules out the possibility of the customer participating in the development process. The Agile Manifesto favors customer collaboration over contract negotiations. Customer collaboration refers to the process of the customer teaming up all through the development procedure.
Agile allows an open-end discussion between the customer and the developers. It enables the coordinated teams to align better with the customer requirements. A committed product owner can help the team clarify things in real-time and adjust the tasks according to the customer’s needs.
4. Responding to Change Over Following a Plan
The usual approach to the software development process is to avoid any changes since they may incur costs and lead to higher expenses. However, with Agile due to multiple iterations, the tasks keep changing, and with every sprint, these inputs help the project get better and create value. The value focuses on being receptive to the demands of the customers during the project rather than creating elaborate plans right at the beginning that are dismissive of changes.
Change is a constant process, and at times the customers might want new additions, features, etc. to the product. Adapting to their demand can help the product owner and the teams build a more accurate product and ensure their client’s satisfaction.
The Agile Manifesto values offer businesses an opportunity to strive for excellence. The manifesto promotes an environment of trust, transparency, teamwork, and customer collaboration. While the software methodologies seem simple, it’s always recommended to collaborate with experts who understand the importance of building a great product and keeping the customer happy. If the Agile values and principles are practiced diligently during the software development process, they can certainly create a positive impact on the product and eventually, the business.