What is agile and how does it work?
Agile is a way of managing projects. Although it has its roots in software development in the 1970s, agile methodology can be applied to almost any type of business project. It is popular because it’s an efficient way of working and it’s based around people, not processes.
At the heart of the agile method is the understanding that projects, especially software projects, change all the time. Requirements, resources, target audience, platform, features – all of these can and do vary. Agile recognises this fact and leverages it. Instead of fixed milestone releases (such as with the waterfall method), agile encourages continuous development and evolutionary change.
To reap the full benefit of agile, it’s not enough to just change the development methodology. The business culture itself must also change. Many large organisations are focused on rigid processes and fixed milestones. This strategy made sense in the past, but today it’s a major barrier to success. The shift to continuous delivery using agile methodology means letting go of old business processes – and learning new ones.
Agile projects have these features in common
- individuals are more important than processes or tools
- existing or previous processes can and will be torn-up if they are not agile
- the focus is on responding to change, not simply following a plan
- fluctuations and changes of direction are normal, so project teams are encouraged to be flexible
- sprints (fixed, clearly-defined time periods) are used to achieve specific goals
Agile empowers people to work smarter together in teams, treating everyone as a master of their field. In agile projects, every voice is heard. The two most popular agile methodologies right now are:
- Kanban – evolutionary
We start from where we are now and optimize existing processes.
- Scrum – revolutionary
We throw away everything that we have right now and start with a clean slate.
We’ll have more information about agile on our site soon.
Meantime, please contact us to find out how agile can work for your business.