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What is Agile?


Written by: Chris Lee | Last Updated:

July 8, 2022

Originally Published:

August 12, 2014

Agile is a lot of things. In a nutshell, it is an alternative paradigm to software development. It supports and encourages the philosophy of valuing individuals and interactions, working software, customer collaboration, and response to change. It opposes strict processes, tools, comprehensive documentation, contract negotiation, and detailed planning.

Being Agile about changing our thought process. We must rethink our priorities, how we handle change, stakeholder and developer interactions, teamwork, pride in our work, trust, how we measure success, and refinement. It’s also about placing our main focus on the product itself and stakeholder happiness and staying out of the ruts through continuous improvement and innovation. Finally, it is about executing iterative development cycles to produce incremental pieces of functionality until the stakeholder’s vision has been brought to life.


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Agile is a Product development way of thinking that encompasses ‘The Twelve Principles of Agile Software’ in the Agile Manifesto:

We follow these principles:

  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.

– The Agile Manifesto

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