Agile Methodologies

Agile Methodologies

 

What are Agile Methodologies

Agile methodologies are a group of software development methodologies stemming from the idea of iterative development with requirements and solutions evolving through cross-functional team collaboration. The focus of Agile methods is on the promotion of disciplined project management processes with their regular inspection and adaptation. The philosophy of the Agile approach is based on the values of accountability, self- organization and teamwork. The ultimate goal of Agile project management is to deliver value faster, in higher quality and predictability, with greater aptitude to respond to changes.

The Agile Methodologies stem from Agile Movement which outlined four Agile values, twelve Basic Principles and five rules of Agile Methodologies.

 

Agile Movement

Agile movement came to life in 2001, yet the methodologies based on Agile philosophy are at least a decade older. In the 1990s, methodologies with emphasis on minimalist approach and raping pace of development appeared. They may not have called themselves “agile”, yet they share the iterative features of the Agile methodologies.

There are three methods of the 1990s which can be considered agile: Dynamic Systems Development Method (1994), Scrum (1995) and Extreme Programming – XP (1999).

 

Agile Software Development Manifesto

In 2001, 17 world’s leading experts and developers in software engineering met in Utah to formulate what has become known as the Manifest for the Agile Software Development. The manifesto is the basis for the principles and values on which all modern Agile methodologies build. Its text goes as follows:

"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." 
(www.agilemanifesto.org)

 

Twelve Basic Principles of Agile Methodologies

Besides following the above-cited Agile Manifesto, the Agile methodologies also adhere to a set of twelve principles:

1. Customer satisfaction through early and continuous software delivery.
It is believed that customers are more satisfied when receiving software on regular basis without having to wait for long periods of time.

2. Accommodate changing requirements throughout the development process.
This principle aims at avoiding delays after feature changes were requested.

3. Frequent delivery of working software.
This is possible thanks to the software sprints and iterations which the team operates in. This approach ensures that working software is delivered regularly.

4. Collaboration between the business stakeholders and developers throughout the project.
This principle points at the fact that better decisions can be made when there is collaboration of business and technical team.

5. Support, trust and motivate the people involved – motivation is the key to the delivery of quality work.
Teams which are trusted and motivated simply work better than teams where trust, motivation and overall support is missing.

6. Emphasis on personal interaction.
Face-to-face communication is the key to successful team development.

7. A functioning product is considered to be the main measure of progress.
Progress is ultimately measured by the ability to deliver working software to the customer.

8. Agile processes to support a sustainable development pace.
This principle is about the team’s ability to establish a speed at which the working software can be delivered while being able to maintain that speed and repeat it.

9. Attention to technical excellence and design agility.
The team is to ensure the pace, skills, sustainable change and good design to improve the product on regular basis.

10. Simplicity
This principle is the key to the development of just enough to have the software ready for the customer.

11. Self-organizing teams encourage great architectures, requirements and designs.
A good team is the one which is skilled, motivated, communicative, with the power to make a decision and take ownership.

12. The team regularly works on its effectiveness.
This is done through a constant process of reflection with the aim of self-improvement and the improvement of skills and techniques.

 

Five Rules of Agile Methodologies

Finally, the following five rules apply to any Agile Methodology, summing up the core ideas of the Agile Manifesto and the Twelve Basic Principles:

1. Development is focused on the customer

2. The team is self-organized

3. The pace of development is sustainable

4. Development stems from basic functionalities and products

5. Changes during development are acceptable and accepted

 

The Brave New Agile World eBook guide offers you insights about the challenges professionals face in a projectised and increasingly agile society. Download your free guide and keep it close to hand as you consider what are the implications of Agile for you.

 

Reference Literature

MAYER, Bertrand, Agile!: The Good, the Hype and the Ugly, Springer Science & Business Media, 2014, ISBN 978-331-90-5155-5

BROOKS, Frederick, Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering, Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, 1995, ISBN 978-02-018-3595-3

 

 If you enjoyed this piece, please see our Blog section where we have written over 200 articles on project management.

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