The Agile Manifesto – Reviewing Agile’s Core Values

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The Agile Manifesto
Front page of AgileManifesto.org

The photo above is the Agile Manifesto. These are the hallmark principles that guide the Agile process. While this began as a new software development process, these principles apply to anyone using Agile as a better way to get things done.

Those of us entrenched in Agile may feel as though this manifesto has been around forever. In fact, the Agile Manifesto is just over 11 years old. A group of seventeen agreed on these four core values to improve the software development cycle. Let’s take a look at these core values.

Individuals and interactions over processes and tools – No tool is a solution, and without the right people processes are meaningless. The involvement of the person and the team is what makes things happen.

Working software over comprehensive documentation– It’s a working product that gets deployed or sold that improves the company’s bottom line. Documenting the steps to get there never brought in a dime of revenue nor processed a single transaction.

Customer collaboration over contract negotiation– Bring back the spirit of trust. A true back-and-forth collaborative approach gets to the heart of the customer’s needs.

Responding to change over following a plan – One thing that is inevitable in this fast-paced technology-driven world is change. A preset plan simply can’t account for all possible change scenarios. As fast as technology moves, a large project can be outdated before it even gets completed if the team doesn’t respond to change.

To support the Agile Manifesto, the team also developed twelve guiding principles that don’t quite get the same exposure as the core values. That doesn’t make them any less important. In fact, without these principles the development of Scrum and other Agile frameworks might not have been possible. Those principles are listed below:

  • Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.
  • Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage.
  • Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.
  • Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.
  • Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.
  • The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.
  • Working software is the primary measure of progress.
  • Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
  • Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.
  • Simplicity–the art of maximizing the amount of work not done–is essential.
  • The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.
  • At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.

The original team of seventeen came from diverse backgrounds and industries. They all came with preconceived notions about how software development was done in their environment. That they were able to agree on this Manifesto and set of guiding principles says something about Agile – it just works, and it’s a much better way to get work done.

Ready to learn more about Agile? Or has your team has been using Agile but has strayed away from these values and principles? In either case, the team at Braintrust Consulting Group is here to help. This team lives and breathes the core values of the Agile Manifesto. Our regularly scheduled training on Scrum methodologies can lead your team to a successful Agile implementation. We have group classes and individual coaching available. Click on the Contact page to hear from one of our product specialists. Or, head over to the Services tab to find out more about our offerings.