31 August, 2023

What is the Agile Manifesto? | Video

By Mike Clayton

31 August, 2023

Agile, Agile Manifesto, video

In this video, I want to answer the question, What is the Agile Manifesto? We’ll also look at the 12 Agile Principles.

This video is safe for viewing in the workplace.

This is learning, so, sit back and enjoy

Formation of The Agile Manifesto

In the early 1990s, software development was going through what some commentators called the ‘application development crisis’.

People were starting to recognize that there was a lag in the delivery of new applications. It was taking too long to complete them, ready for the operational environment.

I remember my software engineering colleagues talking about RAD: Rapid Application Development, in the mid 1990s. This was just one of many software development methods that engineers created, to speed up the creation of new software. Here’s a partial list:

  • Rapid Application Development (RAD)
  • Rational Unified Process (RUP)
  • Crystal 
  • eXtreme Programming (XP)
  • Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM
  • Scrum
  • Feature Driven Development (FDD)

17 People…

In 2001, seventeen software developers met to discuss the solutions these lightweight software development methods offered:

  1. Kent Beck
  2. Mike Beedle
  3. Arie van Bennekum
  4. Alistair Cockburn
  5. Ward Cunningham
  6. Martin Fowler
  7. James Grenning
  8. Jim Highsmith
  9. Andrew Hunt
  10. Ron Jeffries
  11. Jon Kern
  12. Brian Marick
  13. Robert C. Martin
  14. Steve Mellor
  15. Ken Schwaber
  16. Jeff Sutherland
  17. Dave Thomas

The Agile Manifesto

As a result of the meeting, they published the Manifesto for Agile Software Development.

This is the copyright of the authors listed above and at AgileManifesto.org. However, I can freely copy it in any form, but only in its entirety. So, I shall read it and post it verbatim. This is the manifesto they put out:

Manifesto for Agile Software Development

We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it. Through this work we have come to value:

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

That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.

What do the Four Values of the Agile Manifesto Mean?

This part is my own interpretation.

  1. Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
    Agile places a lot of emphasis on self-managing teams and strong communication. This is not alien to predictive project management, but Agile has catalyzed the creation of new tools and methods.
  2. Working software over comprehensive documentation
    Here the focus is on products/deliverables that users can start to use early on, rather than on documenting a full set of requirements. Agilists often use terms like:
    • ‘Minimum Viable Product’ (MVP) – a product with the smallest set of features and functionality to perform a valuable function. It is used as a basis for early feedback on how to improve the MVP.
    • ‘Shippable Product’ – products you can handover into beneficial use
  3. Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
    I’d like to think any Project Manager will engage with their clients fully. For me, the big difference between Agile and Predictive Project Management here, is in the extent of collaboration.
  4. Responding to change over following a plan
    Again, the differences here are a matter of degree. Traditional Project methodologies have Change Control processes. Agile projects are built around a constant cycle of reviewing and changing the scope and specifications of the next iteration of the end product. The key determinant of how to manage change control is the relationship with your user/customer.

12 Guiding Principles of Agile

A few years later, in 2005, two of these people gathered another group to articulate 12 Principles behind the Agile Manifesto.

What are the 12 Agile Principles?

Here are the 12 Agile Principles, which underpin the Agile Manifesto, as articulated at AgileManifesto.org:

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

I have a detailed article where I discuss each of these 12 principles: Agile Principles: The 12 Keys to Adaptive Project Management.

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Mike Clayton

About the Author...

Dr Mike Clayton is one of the most successful and in-demand project management trainers in the UK. He is author of 14 best-selling books, including four about project management. He is also a prolific blogger and contributor to ProjectManager.com and Project, the journal of the Association for Project Management. Between 1990 and 2002, Mike was a successful project manager, leading large project teams and delivering complex projects. In 2016, Mike launched OnlinePMCourses.
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