The Agile Manifesto is the statement of principles that support agile software development, agile methodologies and agile project management. Written in February 2001, at a summit of 17 independent-minded practitioners of several programming methodologies, the agile manifesto forwarded the twelve principles of agile development. Though the participants of the summit did not agree much, they concluded with four values with a unanimous decision.

Values Forwarded by Agile Manifesto

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Responding to change over following a plan

Agile values individuals and interactions over processes and tools. It values working software over comprehensive documentation; customer collaboration over contract negotiation; responding to change over following a plan. These do not mean that following a plan is not important but it states that individuals, interactions, working software, customer collaboration and responding to change are more important.

The agile manifesto and the 12 principles are the core of agile software development and therefore it is very important for agile certified professionals and agile certification enthusiasts to have a good understanding of these principles. Based on the 12 principles of agile manifesto agile is interpreted.

Let’s take a look at the 12 principles behind agile manifesto to absorb better understanding of agile development.

12 Agile Manifesto Principles

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

You may concentrate on the project's primary goal—delivering what the customer wants, not what you planned—by cutting down on time it takes between the project documentation, reporting to your client, and then obtaining feedback.

2. Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer's competitive advantage.

It is time consuming to handle large and complicated work while managing project activities. Therefore, a better strategy is to break the task into manageable, sizeable chunks. In addition, it would be simpler for the team members to see possible bottlenecks and deal with delays if the clients were always kept informed.

3. Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference for a shorter timescale.

According to the Agile methodology, working software is frequently delivered in a shorter amount of time. Team members must consistently raise their performance standards as a result of this iterative process.

4. Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.

In order to ensure that the business and development sides of the project can communicate effectively and, more importantly, collaborate, a bridge between them must be built. To facilitate an intellectual exchange that both parties can agree on, make use of the same tools you would have used in managing remote teams.

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

The project manager must establish a supportive and stimulating environment where team members are free to express their ideas and make recommendations for enhancing the output of the group. This results in a massive improvement in their general performance, eventually aiding the project.

6. The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.

Efficient communication among the parties concerned is stressed strongly in the Agile manifesto. Thanks to improvements in communication technologies, it's now simpler. Instead of having a quick conference in the office, all participants can now meet via video conferencing.

7. Working software is the primary measure of progress.

Delivering a functional product that pleases the consumer is the single determinant that can guarantee success. Before Agile, numerous success metrics decreased the quality of the finished product.

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

Burnout will occur if you work on a project for a long time. It's inevitable. Avoid placing too much of a workload on your employees. The value of your project will be affected. So, assemble the best team for the job that will work hard but refrain from overworking themselves and endangering the project's quality.

9. Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.

Any Agile team's main goal should be to provide value to the client. Therefore, a multi-skilled team that can manage all the project's technical components and offers the chance for continual improvement is crucial.

10. Simplicity — the art of maximizing the amount of work not done — is essential.

You should avoid adding extraneous complexity to a project if you want to complete it swiftly. You can accomplish this in various ways, including by using agile tools, which eliminate busywork and offer you more significant influence over all project-related decisions.

11. The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.

Simply said, a self-organized workforce with decision-making autonomy would function better since each team member would be responsible for meeting client expectations rather than a lone project manager.

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

Agile techniques are constructed on the notion of iteration, where teams consistently enhance their game by learning from their previous wrongdoings. Project managers should inspire team meetings where everyone evaluates their work and discusses how to develop their management and technical skills.

4 Agile Manifesto Values

According to the Agile Manifesto, there are four fundamental principles of Agile:

1. Individuals and interactions over processes and tools

Success in a project depends on having the appropriate people on your team. Even the best tools are rendered toothless in the wrong hands. The manner in which they engage with each other is even more critical. The engagement among team members encourages them to work together and resolve any possible issues.

2. Working software over comprehensive documentation

It used to take software engineers a long time to provide thorough documentation. They did that prior to developing a single line of code. While it's not always a bad thing, you should eventually concentrate on giving your clients software that works. According to the Agile Manifesto, one of the top priorities is providing the software to your consumers. After that, you can collect suggestions to enhance upcoming releases.

3. Customer collaboration over contract negotiation

Contracts used to be considered supreme. Contracts would be drafted with your clients, who would then specify the final product. Due to this, there often was a discrepancy between what was declared in the contract, what the product actually achieved, and what the customer truly required. The Agile Manifesto states that continuous development should actually be the main priority. To ensure your product works for your clients, you must create a feedback loop with them.

4. Responding to change over following a plan

We do not exist in a static world, which makes static blueprints redundant. Priorities are rapidly changing, as are needs and requirements. That static approach will soon become defunct. The Agile Manifesto states that a software team must be capable of pivoting and shifting course whenever required, with a flexible roadmap that considers that. Agile teams can adjust to the transformations that a dynamic strategy may undergo from quarter to quarter or even from month to month.

Who Created the Agile Manifesto?

Agile Manifesto was created to examine Agile approaches and find a replacement for the traditional processes with which they had grown frustrated, 17 individuals from various programming and development backgrounds assembled. It is thought that by approving the Manifesto, the writers launched the ship for Agile software development.

 Why is Agile Manifesto Important?

Agile project management empowers teams to set mutual goals and organize their tasks. For instance, software engineers will understand the importance of customer happiness, so all project plans may be created with that guiding principle in mind. For teams looking to introduce or maintain an Agile methodology in their organizations, the Agile Manifesto is a crucial document.

How to Use the Agile Manifesto?

The only important piece of advice to remember is to interpret it for your team rather than providing a comprehensive list of guidelines or directions. See what inspiration your coworkers get from the values and principles of the Agile Manifesto by discussing it with them. Examine what works, take the time to evaluate it, and determine how to modify it for your team without forgetting its primary goal.

Development of the Agile Manifesto

The traditional waterfall method of software development, in contrast to the Agile methodology, has developers gathering the needs and requirements of the users before creating the software all at once. The finished project is released at the end of the project cycle when using these conventional approaches. The Agile Alliance was looking for an alternative to the waterfall approach, which it described as "documentation-driven, heavyweight software development procedures."  

Is the Manifesto Still Relevant?

Yes. The Manifesto is still essential today, maybe even more so. Agile concepts aren't actually anything new, according to West, CEO of Scrum.org. But, simply put, they're being used differently.

Agile vs Scrum and Other Methodologies

The Agile Manifesto defines agile as a philosophy, but there are many frameworks that formalize many concepts in the Manifesto. Scrum is a framework for organizing and directing iterative projects. Here, the product owner collaborates with cross-functional teams to create a checklist of tasks that need realization. Kanban, Crystal and Lean are other frameworks that draw inspiration from the Agile philosophy.

Criticism and Controversies

Agile is criticized for not always succeeding and for having methodologies, language, and a culture that may not mesh well with the cultures of some businesses and projects. Some development teams claim to have an agile mindset, but in reality, they have only discarded a few old development ideas without adopting the ideals and principles of agile.

The ultimate goal of agile is to create business value for customer and for this an agile team needs to understand the real requirements of the customers and provide the same. Focus on the business need, deliver on time, collaboration among team members and offering high quality services are the motif behind agile development. It is essential to understand all the above principles behind the agile manifesto and practice implementation of these agile principles for success in agile development.

Know more about agile principles, methodologies and practices through Simplilearn’s. You can also register for Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM) in your city in the US or India to increase your knowledge in your quest for a PMI-ACP Credential.

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