Agile is the skill to create and respond to change. It is a method of handling and prevailing in uncertain turbulent times. It’s really about thinking through how you can understand what’s going on in your current situation, picking out what uncertainty you’re facing, and mapping out how you can adapt to that as you go along.
Though mainly used in software development, businesses can learn some concepts to incorporate in how they manage their projects, especially in these times. Agile software development is an umbrella term for a set of frameworks and practices based on the values and principles expressed in the Manifesto for Agile Software Development and the 12 Principles behind it
12 Principles Behind the Agile Manifesto
- Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through the early and continuous delivery of valuable software.
- Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage.
- Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference for the shorter timescale.
- Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.
- Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.
- The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.
- Working software is the primary measure of progress.
- Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
- Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.
- Simplicity–the art of maximizing the amount of work not done–is essential.
- The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.
- At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behaviour accordingly.
The Agile Manifesto Values
Agile could be said to be a mindset guided by the values contained in the Agile Manifesto. The values are:
- Value Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
- Value Working software over comprehensive documentation
- Value Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
- VAlue Responding to change over following a plan
Key Agile Concepts
In consultation with the customer or product owner, the team divides up the work to be done into functional increments called “user stories.” Each user story is expected to yield a contribution to the value of the overall product
Every day at a predefined time, the team meets to bring everyone up to date on the information that is crucial for coordination. Everyone gives a brief of any completed contributions and any obstacles present.
This means that each successive version of the product is usable, and each builds upon the previous version by adding user-visible functionality.
Agile projects are iterative in the sense that they intentionally allow for “repeating” software development activities, and for potentially “revisiting” the same work.
A small group of people, assigned to the same project or effort.
Once a project has been underway for some time, or at the end of the project, all of the team’s members meet to carry out a detailed analysis of the project’s significant events.
When the project demands it for example when user experience is a major factor in project outcomes the team can make detailed, synthetic biographies of fictitious users of the future product to simulate any potential behaviours or outcomes.
Business Agility and the Agile Mindset- Agile Project Management, Agile Business Analysis
One might say business agility is the ability to recognise that for people in an organisation to be able to create and respond to change and deal with uncertainty the entire organisation needs to support the agile mindset. Be is a project or analysis, the fundamental question one should ask to operate within the agile mindset is, "How might we perform this in a way that allows us to create and respond to change and deal with uncertainty?"
Jerry Ndemera is a software developer at Industrial Psychology Consultants. Send him an email at email@example.com or call +263778161795