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What is the Agile Manifesto? Key Values & Principles


Most of us have heard of agile methodology, but I’ve discovered that when I talk about the Agile Manifesto, people tend to look at me with curiosity. They are familiar with Agile and have worked with it, but this phrase is new to them. In this article, I will be highlighting:

  • What is the Agile Manifesto?: We will discuss the history of the Agile Manifesto and why it was necessary.
  • Development of the Agile Manifesto – How was the Agile Manifesto created? What distinguishes it from other methodologies, as well as the process?
  • Agile Values – We will discuss the four basic values in detail and determine why it is important to have these values.
  • Agile Principles – We will learn all 12 of the Agile Manifesto’s principles.
  • Agile Manifesto’s Purpose: We’ll try to understand what the Agile Manifesto’s goals are and how it is assisting in the modern world.

Table of Contents

What is the Agile Manifesto?

The Agile Manifesto is a document that outlines four core values and 12 guiding principles for software engineers. Its official name is the Manifesto for Agile Software Development, and it was created by 17 engineers on a field trip on February 1.

The Agile Alliance was the name given by the programmers. They were looking for a replacement for the current software development procedures, which they perceived to be cumbersome, unresponsive, and overly predicated on documentation needs.

Although the original document was created especially to aid software developers in creating business solutions more quickly and effectively, it has had a significant impact on the larger development industry and beyond.

Development of the Agile Manifesto: Understanding The Need 

Understanding the Agile approach to software development is critical for understanding the Agile Manifesto. The Agile approach is defined by its total commitment to developing software in incremental stages. With this approach, newer versions of the software are released following every period of work. These in-between periods of work are called “sprints.” 

This Agile process contrasts with the traditional waterfall approach to software development, where developers typically compile the needs and requirements of the users and then build the software all at once. With these conventional methodologies, the completed project is released at the very end of the project cycle.

The waterfall approach exposed the developers to intense pressure to get things right in the first attempt and left no room for error, which would inevitably lead to more delays in a software release. 

In the Agile way of doing things, the first fundamental challenge was reducing the clutter that the traditional waterfall approach presented and streamlining the process. In the waterfall approach in software development, the developers were needed to create an entire piece of software based on user needs in one go.

Exploring The Core Agile Manifesto Values

The core values of the Agile manifesto are focused on several aspects that need immediate attention. The four core values talk about many resources, processes, and elements of software development that programmers require, run across, or create while creating software solutions.

Value 1: Individuals and interactions over processes and tools

Many development teams used to focus on having the best tools or methods for creating their product in the past. While those items are crucial, according to the Agile Manifesto, the people who work on the processes are much more essential.

Success depends on having the proper people on your software team. Even the best tools are useless in the wrong hands. How these people interact with each other is perhaps even more crucial. The contacts among team members enable them to work together and resolve any possible issues.

Value 2: Working software over comprehensive documentation

In the past, software developers would take a long time to create thorough documentation. Before they even began to write a single line of code, that is. Additionally, even while documentation isn’t always a negative thing, there comes a time when you should prioritize giving your clients software that works.

According to the Agile Manifesto, software delivery to consumers is one of the top priorities. Following that, you can collect comments to assist you in improving subsequent versions.

Value 3: Customer collaboration over contract negotiation

Contracts would be drafted with your clients, who would then specify the final output. Because of this, there was frequently a discrepancy between what was stated in the contract, what the product accomplished, and what the customer needed.

The Agile Manifesto states that continuous development should be the main priority. To ensure your product works for your clients, you must create a feedback loop with them.

Value 4: Responding to change over following a plan

We don’t live in a static world; the real world constantly evolves and brings new problems and opportunities. Priorities are constantly changing, as are needs and requirements. That fixed roadmap will soon become obsolete.

The Agile Manifesto advises that a software team should be able to pivot and alter course whenever necessary, with a flexible roadmap that considers that. Agile teams can adapt to the changes that a dynamic plan may undergo from quarter to quarter or from month to month.

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What are the Agile Manifesto Principles?

You must also be aware of the 12 principles with the four Agile Manifesto values. These guidelines elaborate on the four values in a bit more depth.

Some significant patterns arise despite the Agile Manifesto not ranking the principles in any specific order. One is the requirement for ongoing input. Another is the function good communication plays in product development. And finally, the capacity for adaptability and swift, fluid direction changes.

Remembering why you are there is maybe the most crucial lesson to learn from the 12 agile principles. As a software development team, your main objective is to create and release software. Let us dig a little more and understand all these Agile principles on a deeper level. 

The 12 Agile Manifesto principles

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

The first principle tells software development teams to understand their core goal and how to accomplish it thoroughly. Delivering software with immediate benefit is more crucial than providing a complete solution down the road.

This agile approach pushes teams to reduce the time between the generation of an initial concept and the release of a usable product. Your ability to gather client feedback and make the necessary modifications will accelerate the sooner customers can utilize your product.

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

You must help teams become accustomed to the fact that things are constantly changing. Their product will provide a practical solution more effectively the faster they can adjust to shifting requirements.

To do this, you must continuously monitor any evolving requirements regardless of when they occur. It would be best if you welcomed the chance to enhance further your product in light of changing consumer and market demands.

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

Teams are encouraged to employ an agile delivery approach that can be swiftly deployed and iteratively tested. Delivering new releases frequently is considerably preferable to bundling and publishing them all at once. These more compact releases, which often come from sprints, allow teams to test concepts and get feedback. They also support maintaining client satisfaction.

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

Work towards encouraging collaboration and communication; each team and client have distinct and valuable perspectives. Together, they may respond more thoroughly to the client’s needs.

A product will almost certainly fall short of business needs if developed in isolation. According to product leader Marty Cagan, a product is about customers, business goals, and technology, not just one of the three. A business will not be aligned if any component is neglected, and all functions will suffer.

Transparency, trust, and better, more valuable products are all made possible through frequent communication between cross-functional teams.

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

This principle is essential for upper management as it advises management on how to help the development team create better solutions. People aware of their purpose should be given a chance to figure out how to reach their objectives and improve.

A team’s agility is only as excellent as its individuals. Spend time assembling a group of individuals you can count on to deliver high-caliber work.

All you need to do is provide the ideal working atmosphere and any assistance or resources if you already have the right team in place. This eliminates the need for micromanagement and hand-holding.

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

Principle 6 was made to act as a warning to avoid uncertainty and refraining from using textual communication channels like emails and messages. Context is essential, and face-to-face talks offer it.

Team collaboration tools like ProofHub are pretty close to providing real-time conversation. However, nothing works quite as well as face-to-face communication. Video calling makes this more accessible than ever, even in distributed teams.

7. “Working software is the primary measure of progress.”

Software development teams must establish priorities: Nothing else matters if the customer’s software isn’t functioning. Working software is most important, even when other measurements can boost performance or efficiency.

Don’t let meticulous documentation or other vanity initiatives divert you. Software development teams have one task: creating and publishing functional software. Agile teams can efficiently deploy new releases by concentrating on this one progress indicator.

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

You should be aware that developing solutions requires perseverance and persistence. The best interests of teams, sponsors, and clients must all be recognized for this to happen.

This Agile Manifesto concept underlines the significance of sustainable development, despite the fast pace of an agile team which could lead one to believe the reverse. This entails ensuring a healthy work-life balance and preserving team morale. Doing so leads to consistently high-quality output.

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

According to the Agile manifesto, teams should put up their best effort and continue to grow because management, coworkers, and clients believe in them.

Put it another way, ensure the code is clean and organized and that the product is designed to support future development with minimal disruption. As a result, the development process continues to go well.

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

Teams working on software development should never waste time on unnecessary complexity. Don’t divide your development time between a variety of pointless hobbies. The Agile Manifesto recommends that teams concentrate their efforts on the few most crucial tasks. Teams must prioritize their features brutally and deliberately to do this.

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

Management was advised by Principle 11 to allow teams the freedom to create their designs, procedures, and solutions. In conventional hierarchical groups, the decision-making authority typically rests with someone at the top of the chain. A less rigid line of command is encouraged by the Agile Manifesto. Better software development can result from a flatter hierarchy where everyone has a voice.

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

Teams are taught to frequently assess their performance, pinpoint areas for improvement, and apply these changes to the following opportunity. Teams benefit from this by becoming more adept and flexible.

The Agile Manifesto stresses that teams should always build their products in response to customer feedback. The team’s methodology and processes are the same. Teams should think about ways to improve their efficiency and agility over time. Continuous improvement is the key.

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The Purpose of The Agile Manifesto & its Relevance Today 

The four essential values of the Agile manifesto have been created to promote a method for developing software that prioritizes quality by producing goods that satisfy customers’ wants and expectations.

Similarly, the twelve fundamental principles were created to enable a customer-centered work environment, aligned with corporate goals and capable of quick response and pivoting when the user needs and market forces change.

In its quintessential essence, the Agile manifesto was created to provide developers more control, speed up procedures, and support business strategies that put the user first.

Teams can be flexible, respond to change quickly and efficiently, and constantly reimagine themselves according to the values and principles supported by regular consumer input.

Now twenty-one years later, since being published for the first time in February 2001. The Agile manifesto has had a more comprehensive impact than anybody could have imagined. The manifesto not only made software development better but also paved the way for the evolution of countless other frameworks, methodologies, and much more. 

Implementing the Agile Manifesto With ProofHub! 

The implementation of the principles and values of the Agile Manifesto may not be an easy task to undertake, but it is a necessary one. ProofHub allows companies to quickly shift onto an Agile-based approach for all their project management & team collaboration requirements like a breeze. 

ProofHub is a comprehensive Agile project management software that top companies worldwide use. The platform is not only built to near-perfection but also has many features on offer that make the process of planning, organizing, and collaborating an absolute treat. 

Teams can seamlessly interact with each other, share ideas & documents, enable collaboration, and move forward regardless of distance. With ProofHub you can manage all of your projects from a single dashboard. To simply keep track of the time and resources spent on each project, it also offers time tracking and budgeting tools.

ProofHub has a stellar array of features that include Gantt charts, milestones, subtasks, file sharing, version control, and chat. Smartphones running Android and iOS both have a mobile app. To top everything up, you get a 100% free trial when you sign-up for a new account. 

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 Vartika Kashyap
Vartika Kashyap

Vartika Kashyap is the Chief Marketing Officer at ProofHub and has been one of the LinkedIn Top Voices in 2018. Her articles are inspired by office situations and work-related events. She likes to write about productivity, team building, work culture, leadership, entrepreneurship among others and contributing to a better workplace is what makes her click.

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