Numbers don’t lie. Agile projects are 28% more successful than traditional ones.
Due to such compelling results, many development teams looking for higher productivity inevitably end up looking at agile methodologies to run their projects. Agile is a project management approach that emphasizes the ability to take change in stride while encouraging greater collaboration with your customers.
To understand how agile can work for your team, you need to take in the four values it espouses together with the 12 principles of agile manifesto. Here is a closer look at how an agile approach can benefit your development process.
The Agile Manifesto
In 2001, 17 developers came together to envision and formulate a better approach to software development. For this group, software development at the time felt cumbersome, too focused on the required documentation, and unresponsive.
The agile manifesto is, therefore, the guide that defines 12 principles and four values that ought to guide agile software development.
4 Values of Agile
Since the agile manifesto aimed at overhauling the methodology behind software development, it was only right that this guide stands on a set of core values, as we shall see below.
1. Individuals and Interactions over Processes and Tools
The agile approach believes that the team is more important than the tools or procedures you use for development. When people drive development and not the process, you are likely to better satisfy your customers.
2. Working Software over Comprehensive Documentation
In the past, a lot of time would go into documenting the product for development and delivery. The inevitable result was that the development process would slow down. Agile streamlines the documentation process, so developers don’t slow their pace.
3. Customer Collaboration over Contract Negotiation
Traditionally, a customer would negotiate with a developer on the product they wanted with periods along the project process where such discussions would be revisited.
Agile holds that customer collaboration brings more value to software development by offering their input throughout the project. That can be achieved via periodic demos to the customers, having an end-user be part of the daily team to provide feedback or both.
4. Responding to Change over Following a Plan
With traditional software development, any change from the plan was taken as an expense to avoid. Agile enables short iteration periods that can help you shift your priorities as the project proceeds. That way, you can better respond to feedback and unforeseen issues that can hinder the final product.
The 12 Principles of Agile Manifesto
Alongside the four core values of agile software development, 12 guiding principles drive methodologies that fall under agile. These principles place the customer at the center of the work while opening the team up to change. Ultimately, these principles are meant to align your development process and business goals for optimal value.
The 12 principles of agile include:
1. Satisfying Customers Through Early and Continuous Delivery of Valuable Work
Your customers are better served by regularly receiving working software instead of waiting for more extended periods between releases. As they see the product more often, they offer more feedback that helps you best deliver what they desire.
2. Welcoming a Change in the Requirements Through the Whole Process
By accepting changes from the customer even when late into the development process, you harness it to give your customer a competitive advantage ultimately.
3. Frequently Delivering Working Software
Agile helps you reduce the documentation necessary to operate your development on a shorter timescale. You should deliver working software anywhere from a few weeks to every few months.
4. Developers and Business People Should Collaborate Daily
Both developers and business people should join hands daily to exchange ideas and learn from each other. The result is a better alignment that leads to a higher quality product.
5. Build a Project Around Motivated Workers
When you give the development team the right level of support and an excellent environment, they will be motivated to deliver a great end product. Don’t micromanage them as it can lower morale.
6. Face-To-Face Conversations Is Primary Communication Means
When moving swiftly, you don’t want to create situations where you need to wait for replies. An agile development team should emphasize face-to-face conversations for efficient and effective communication that produces results.
7. Working Software Is the Primary Means to Measure Progress
Agile software developers don’t define their progress by the tasks they check off or how far along they are in their timeline. Delivering working software is the north pole of progress.
8. Agile Processes Support Sustainable Development Progress
Agile practices empower developers, and the project sponsors to maintain a consistent rate of progress for as long as they need. That way, you combat burnout, particularly while on longer projects.
9. Focusing Continuously on Good Design and Excellent Technical Skill
The agile approach ensures that whatever software iteration you’re on keeps improving. Using scrum, you can closely monitor the progress made in each sprint so that you can root out errors and continuously evolve the project.
10. Simplicity – Maximizing the Amount of Work Not Being Done Is Essential
Moving expeditiously through a project calls for your cutting down any unnecessary tasks. You must assess all things through the lens of simplicity to get the work done for right now.
11. Self-Organizing Teams Create the Best Design, Requirements, and Architecture
Prioritize selecting strong team members so that you can give them the autonomy to operate. As a result, they can adapt faster to changes and develop best-in-class products due to the trust bestowed on them.
12. Regular Intervals for Team Reflection on How to Be More Effective
The strong team you create will have the capacity to recognize the importance of having regular reflection sessions. At such meetings, team members look at both the work done and the processes used to produce the work to find ways they can become more effective.
Ultimately, such sessions empower the team to be an ever-evolving one, no matter their success.
Unlock Higher Productivity and Quality
Software developers are ever chasing process efficiency that delivers higher quality products. The 12 principles of agile manifesto, together with the four core agile values, can empower your team to remain lean, respond dynamically to change while working closely with the customers for greater success.
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