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Explore the Principles of Agile Manifesto

01.14.2020 · Posted in Writing and Speaking

Agile is a buzzing project management outlook with teams scrambling to adopt agile methods and practices. The requirement for a new project management mindset was generated out of frustration from the growing time lag between the realization of requirements and the delivery of final product/project or software persistent in the waterfall model of project management.

The “tell me everything you require” method of project management started facing a lot of issues. Documentation of the requirements during the inception of the project took ages and by the time the final deliverables were rolled out, there were shifts in the requirements making the final product partially obsolete.

In this article, we will explore the 12 principles of the Agile Manifesto. The Agile Manifesto is a set of directives that enable teams working in varied environments to continuously learn, grow and deliver value to the clients. The principles of Agile welcome changes and make the customer the focus of all endeavors.

Let us dive deep and understand the extensive extract from the Agile principles.

Principle 1

“Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.”

The principle establishes that clients are more satisfied when they get working software at regular intervals compared to when they get a final complete software at the end of the project. This is where Agile pushes the significance of Minimum Viable Products (MVP), a development technique where a product is developed with limited features, enough to satisfy early adopters while the rest of the features are incorporated after the completion of the feedback cycle.

Key Points:

  1. “Our”

The word “our” refers to the Agile team working on the project and placed the responsibility of customer satisfaction on the project team.

  1. “Early delivery”

Agile indicates that delivery should be early and in small pieces. This method of delivery greatly shortens the feedback cycle and created room for early detection of requirement shifts. While often neglected, this mode of delivery also helps the team understand the mindset of the client, a factor that plays a significant role in the satisfaction parameter.

  1. “Continuous delivery”

Keeping a constant line of delivery over a period facilitates constant feedbacks and a better chance of meeting the requirements.

Principle 2

“Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage”

The development process, in general, may require tuning from time to time and it is prudent to be open to changes. The principle brings out the true agile mindset and shows that requirements are dynamic and may grow or change. This is also the principle that separates Agile from the Waterfall model.

Key Points:

  1. “Late”

The word signifies that it is never too late for the customer to make changes. Only when the customer identifies changes can the deliverables attain higher utility. Also, the project team should be open to the required shift as it will avoid partial completion of requirements.

  1. “Competitive Advantage”

This significantly extends the scope of a project and considers the project team to be responsible for delivering competitiveness to the client in the form of cost, offerings, visibility, etc. It is no longer just the role of the client to decide if the requirements specified are enough to deliver a competitive advantage.

Principle 3

“Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale”

Agile promotes a shorter development cycle that should occur at consistent intervals. These cycles are called “Sprints”. Frequent delivery generates constant feedback flow from the clients and keeps all the parties engages in the development process.

Key points:

  1. “Working”

Agile sets the standard for the deliverable absolute by not just emphasizing on delivery but the delivery of working software or product. Deliveries not meeting the required specifications cannot be considered as a successful delivery. With this point Agile aims at giving a boost to value delivery.

  1. “Shorter timescale”

Delivery on smaller timescale intrinsically helps in the recognition and minimization of waste and their overall effect on the process bringing out the Lean base on which Agile is built.

Principle 4

“Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project”

The emphasis here is on collaboration. Effective involvement of Business people, project team and the clients helps in swift incorporation of change requirements.

Key points:

  1. “Business People”

Business people are the proxy between the client and the team and are a crucial part in promoting the agility in communication and execution.

  1. “Must work together”

This agile principle brings into light the concept of sharing responsibility.

  1. “Throughout the project”

Commitment plays an important role in the success and the points pay emphasis that only with continued commitment throughout the project can the timely and effective delivery of the project be achieved.

Principle 5

“Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done”

The emphasis here is to create a positive and progressive work environment. Experts support the fact that enabling the team is an organizational level priority and a key reason behind the success of any organization.

Key points:

  1. “Motivated individuals”

Motivated individuals are team members who are greatly enthusiastic and prepared to get the work done. During any project, keeping the employees and team motivated is of great essence and comes with many benefits. Only when an employee is sufficiently motivated will he/she deliver to his/her capacity and may even go beyond his/her responsibility to make the project a success.

  1. “Give them the environment & support they need”

This answers the million-dollar question “How to keep the team motivated”. Over the years there is a general shift in employee behavior. Now, professionals are more interested in the learnings that they derive from a task than general remittance benefits.

Principle 6

“The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is the face-to-face conversation”

The point lays emphasis on the need for direct communication and a shift from indirect communication channels like emails. Communication plays an important role in any and all business functioning and it was but natural for Agile to push for a need of prompt and clear communication and what could facilitate that better than a face-to-face conversation!

Principle 7

“Working software is the primary measure of progress”

Agile identifies fully functional software or product as the mark of successful delivery. It the deliverables offers partial utility against the requirements, it cannot be considered as successful delivery even though delivery has been made. With this, Agile not only promotes value in the end product but pushes for a very professional and commitment-oriented mindset.

Principle 8

“Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely”

This principle brings two points into light: sustainable development and consistency in performance. With the incremental delivery, wastes are eliminated intrinsically supplementing sustainable growth. Agile also supports maintain pace along with supporting agility throughout the project.

Principle 9

“Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility

Agile indicates that shortcuts may bring short term benefits but they may very easily backfire in the long run. With so much emphasis on swift delivery, it is important to note that swift delivery should not come at the cost of quality. For example, poorly programmed software will create problems in the long run in terms of errors and bugs.

Principle 10

“Simplicity — the art of maximizing the amount of work not done — is essential”

Not overworking, but also doing what is necessary is what keeping things simple means, and Agile keeps simplicity as the core of all the endeavors.

Principle 11

“The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams”

Agile promotes the practice of decision making by the team. This greatly removes the infamous ‘micro-managing’. Agile establishes that the best results are achieved when the team is skilled motivated, poses decision-making skills and can take ownership. This principle perfectly supplements the need for creating a progressive environment for the employees proposed in principle 5.

Principle 12

“At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly”

Having Lean as its base another major derivative from lean principles is the concept of continual improvement. However, as Agile gives people more important than process, it proposes the continual improvement for the team. Not that it doesn’t support continual improvement in process, it extends the principle and gives the development of team members priority as well.

With the complexity possessed by business structures and the growing element of fickleness in business requirements, Agile is a good fit for everyone working in the project management spectrum. While Agile does not provide a recipe for project success, it prepares the team to promote optimal value. It will not be wrong to suggest that the time is ripe to invest in Agile learning and there are multiple ways you can start your agile learning journey. If you are a professional working in agile project management and want to validate your experience or initiate your learning, Agile certifications can be a good solution.

Certification Planner runs multiple PMI-ACP certifications across North America. A certification credential governed by PMI and considered as the most prominent credential in agile project management. Learn from industry experts during extensive training sessions. Reach out to know more at support@certificationplanner.com, call at +1 8553221201 or visit the website at www.certificationplanner.com.

Happy learning!  

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