Agile encompasses a wide range of approaches and frameworks in complex environments to value delivery. The umbrella term Agile came into popular use when the Agile Manifesto was created in 2001. In the same year, a team of seventeen software interpreters who were seeking a favorable option to deliver software came into an agreement to use agile so that it will be easy for them to refer to human and rational approaches to complicated work.
The term Agile is widely used nowadays. The innovation of the Manifesto has provided plenty of modern approaches. Many of these approaches including Scrum declare this Manifesto as their driving force and impetus.
The framework of Scrum comes with values and guardrails of its own. One must examine the values and principles of the Manifesto to understand the basis on which Scrum is set up. 12 principles and 4 values are included in the Agile Manifesto which defines a better means to address complex work. Below are the 12 principles of the Agile Manifesto:
1. Customer satisfaction through continuous and early delivery of software products should be the highest priority: Agile Manifesto’s first principle starts with the goal of customer satisfaction. Customers have to be kept happy to stay up in business. The valuable software must be delivered continuously and early to keep the consumers satisfied. The software should also be delivered frequently to the customers.
Project management is done continuously and early by agility when compared to a waterfall or any other traditional approach. The software is not produced at once in the Agile Manifesto. Instead, it is delivered iteratively. What is delivered should be valuable and useful to the customers. The approach is incremental. The agile team continuously focuses on what to do next rather than visualizing the product’s end state and acting step-by-step on that.
The above illustration highlights how this will look. The envision of the waterfall team is the final product. It delivers the product in silos by functioning on the systems which is a portion of the final departure. These two methods show the variation between delivering value incrementally versus speculating only about the final state.
Incremental delivery in the real world is not wasteful. The waste is eliminated in fact because customers and stakeholders provide feedback frequently about the usefulness of the product delivered. They also let the team know whether they should change the way. This regular feedback helps the teams by not letting them spend more time on things that are not beneficial to the customers.
2. Agile processes welcome changing requirements for the competitive advantage of the customers even though delayed in development: The second principle of the Agile Manifesto talks about a varied approach to requirements. Traditional approaches aim at reducing the amount of modification while productivity growth is in flight. But Agile instead of concentrating on reducing changes and variations to the fundamental requirements welcomes change.
After each delivery agile teams acquire something from the consumers. New requirements can be easily introduced since the work is carried out in smaller increments. The agile framework is used in complex settings where they know fewer details. The advantage of accepting change suggests that the agile crews can react to changing situations as they gather more information over time.
3. Frequent delivery of working software, with a priority to the quicker time scale ranging from weeks to months: All agile frameworks depend upon the precept of frequent delivery of working software but this principle puts up with it a stride further. This means that the working software has to be delivered by the teams, not just a gear in the engine.
In Scrum, teams define the regularity of quality delivery by analyzing the extent of the sprint. Each Sprint’s purpose is to deliver useful increments of tasks at least one time per Sprint. Then the Product Owner decides when to dismiss the functionality to buyers. The length of the Sprint must be long enough to let the Developers deliver an increment of product that is useful with a priority to the quicker time scale.
4. Developers and business people must work together throughout the project daily: When compared to a traditional or waterfall team, the most evident changes are generated in everyday experience by this principle in an agile team. The delivery team moves through an intense and long requirements aspect by using the traditional method where they meet with the company stakeholders frequently.
The delivery team ceases after the fulfillment of the requirement phase to design whatever they infer that is specified by the stakeholders. Agile is different. Company stakeholders meet the agile crew regularly at a lower degree of engagement.
This engagement takes place at the review of the Sprint or in refinement meetings in Scrum. This engagement takes the pattern of replenishment meetings in other frameworks of agile. Along with engagement, visibility is also constant in an agile setting.
Agile teams provide vaster visibility into the delivery of the product by engaging more frequently with the stakeholders. Whereas traditional teams depend upon status reports or infrequent progress to deliver visibility. The scrum teams depend upon continual inspection of useful tasks at the sprint analysis.
5. Motivated individuals must be given the support and environment they need to build projects and also trust them to bring about the work done: Leaders working with the agile teams must concentrate on providing the environment (people, culture, external processes) and the support (access, tools, resources) that the teams need. Then they need to build trust to get the work done.
Leaders who have a command-and-control style of management may become scared by this principle. They think about how they will understand whether their team is concentrating on the right aspects and succeeding. But leaders must focus on the outcomes of the teams whether they are frequently delivering the working product, or bringing in progress towards their objectives.
These are the aspects that need attention. It is the essential shift in mindset and perspective and is the one that agile teams and leaders need to put together to accomplish the best results. Agile leaders who are successful allow teams to deliver the product by giving them the tools they want to be successful. They welcome servant leadership and concentrate on outcomes.
6. A face-to-face conversation is the most effective and efficient strategy to convey a message within a team that is developing: The words face-to-face carry a different meaning with the acquisition of Zoom and additional meeting platforms recently, but the concept behind the principle stays the same. Having a real-time discussion is the best means of communicating information rather than having a conversation back-and-forth through messaging apps or email.
The meaning of this in an agile team is that those who are using the work will be communicated directly by those who deliver it. It could also imply that those who carry out the work get together to deal with the problems. Based on their unique problem, each agile team decides how adequate it is to subsist with this principle. Collaboration is crucial for agile teams. Having a useful conversation is the best strategy to collaborate.
7. The preliminary measure of growth is the working software: The term software has popped up for the third time in the principles of agile. The usage of the term software infers that agile evolved in software development. The innovation of the Manifesto is done by those who were in the field of software. Now, agile frameworks are adopted in diverse fields like human resources, defense, and marketing.
This principle talks about the significance of delivering the product. Success isn’t about how agreeably we stick to the agenda or the amount of work completed. In agile, success is measured by the usability of the product delivered. What matters ultimately is the working product.
8. Sustainable development is promoted by an agile process. A constant pace has to be maintained indefinitely by the users, developers, and sponsors: A team that is traditional with a schedule of critical delivery casually approaches the work at first. Then, the manager asks the members of the team to work for longer hours progressively to meet the deadline. Further, company stakeholders change their minds inevitably about the requirements. Modifications to the product are difficult at this stage. More tests have to be done by the testers as time starts running. It’s demoralizing and exhausting.
In agile, the work is tested by the team as it goes. The focus towards the end goal is unwavering because the value is delivered incrementally. As they get constant feedback from the stakeholder about the value, each piece becomes usable and they move a step forward in the path of achieving their goal. A steady pace is established by the team when they approach the work this way. It’s a satisfying and even-paced experience. The sustainable approach is delivering a product in smaller releases.
9. Agility is enhanced by giving continuous attention towards good design and technical excellence: Agile teams should concentrate on delivering products of high quality along with feature development. This includes the prevention of accumulation of technical debt if any. Using the framework of Scrum, agile teams increase the quality of the product in case of the Product Backlog by working with the Owner of the product.
Definition of Done might be created by the teams to prevent the accumulation of the debt accidentally by the implementation of the best practices like security standards and regular reviews of the code. The increase of this technical debt may destroy the quality of the product making incremental, frequent delivery impossible. This impacts agility.
10. Simplicity is essential ( the art of optimizing the percentage of work not carried out ): Company stakeholders’ attitude towards the work changes often because the focus of the agile teams is on more frequent and smaller deliveries. The agile team focuses on doing the next valuable thing rather than asking for each requirement that might be expected in the future.
This kind of strategy reduces the waste significantly as trust is built with the stakeholders and the customers through the delivery of the product frequently.
11. The best designs, requirements, and architectures emerge from the self-organizing teams: The product architecture emerges with the delivery of the feature. It is the underlying approach to product delivery. Embracing this principle implies that the agile team doesn’t cease for six months and they find out the suitable long-term architecture. Rather, the members of the team decide on how best they can build the software while they are building software. The intention of self-organizing is to make the members of the team who are intimate to the work figure out how it can be done.
12. The team decides on becoming more effective at regular intervals and then adjusts and tunes its behavior accordingly: Following this principle impacts the efficiency and happiness of the team in the long term. The team asks how the process is going on and what are the changes to be made regularly. Later they make the necessary changes and carry out the process.
Small improvements carried over time are always better than a process improvement project or a single reorganization. Teams that follow this principle continuously enhance the way they deliver the product. Such teams have greater productivity and higher morale.
A regular revisiting of the Agile Manifesto is an effective exercise for the members of the team as an extra accountability layer. The team members of Scrum have to discuss how to adapt these principles in the interactions and work they do with the business stakeholders and the parent organization.