Announcement: The twelve principles of the Agile approach to software development are set out in a document called the Manifesto. In this article, you will find the essence of these rules and will be able to apply them to your work.
The Agile approach to software development came to life at the very beginning of the XXI century. Its twelve fundamental rules are set out in the document called the Manifesto. In this article, you will get to know what Agile principles are and how developers can benefit from them.
Always Remain Customer-Oriented
The aim of Agile software development is not to advance the science or allow the IT team to hone their skills. The primary priority is the product. It should help the customers solve their problems, meet their needs and achieve their goals. The product should be tailor-made for the client and delivered on time.
Be Flexible and Eager to Embrace Change
Developers are not always happy to get to know that the requirements have changed — especially if this happens at a late stage of the process. But according to the Agile manifesto, changes are the key to the competitive edge. Based on the experience of helping a variety of companies moving to Agile, the Forte Group practitioners note that there is a certain level of discomfort connected with adopting new methodology. To ensure that the adoption within the project will be achieved as expected, it is recommended to apply change management practices.
Opt for a Short Timescale
In terms of Agile software engineering, you should not be planning for months or years ahead. Instead, try to deliver the product every few weeks. This would enable you to promptly get feedback and modify your software respectively. If a bug is detected at an early stage of development, it would be much easier and cost-efficient to fix it. Besides, frequent deliveries help to avoid miscommunications with the customer.
Collaborate with Your Customer
Treat them as a part of your team. The Agile manifesto principles suggest that the client should be able to ask you any questions at any moment — and you should provide them with a complete and exhaustive answer. If it dawns on the client and they come up with a completely new vision of the product or its certain elements, you should listen attentively and start a prolific discussion.
Not for the sake of the projects themselves but to create a motivational environment for individuals. The 12 principles of Agile manifesto emphasize: professionals need trust, support and favorable working conditions. In such an atmosphere, constant control and micromanagement of projects become excessive. Efficient self-organizing teams will achieve maximum productivity without any external stimulus.
Let Teams Self-Organize
As soon as you provide people with the environment they need, you will see how they form teams. These teams turn out to be cross-functional. They tend to offer better solutions to the problems they face if compared to groups of people that were appointed one by one by managers. Self-organizing collectives more productively interact among themselves, more flexibly adjust to the quickly evolving requirements and, eventually, deliver better products.
Co-location means that all the members of the team regularly meet at the same premise. Unfortunately, development teams often need to be distributed, which contradicts Agile principles. Exchanging ideas in face-to-face conversations is quicker and easier than organizing videoconferences. Besides, working together in a physical premise, you can rely on osmotic communication. The term “osmotic” means that you absorb all the conversations that are going on around you regardless of whether you participate in them or not. If you do not have a chance to see your colleagues every day, try to arrange face-to-face meetings at least from time to time and frequently use means of remote communication.
Estimate Your Progress
You should fully concentrate on the product, not its documentation or other secondary aspects. The progress of the product will allow you to impartially measure your progress. You should use Agile metrics that will help monitor your progress, identify the discrepancies and celebrate successes.
Maintain Work/Life Balance
The Agile development principles are supposed to be implemented in a sustainable environment. Forget about the end of the project dash, typical of the conventional Waterfall approach. All the team should be working at a comfortable pace, having enough sleep and rest. This will contribute both to the quality of the product and people’s satisfaction. Also, it will be easier to make forecasts.
One of the main principles of Agile methodology consists in continuous attention to the functionality and design of the product. The software you build should remain useful and relevant for many years, timely updating and adjusting to the evolving requirements of the environment. The design should be able to transform as well — but only on the condition that it conforms to the updated capabilities of the product. The exterior of your software should match its essence.
Keep It Simple
In compliance with the Agile methodology, software should contain only the necessary elements and functions. Include in the product only the functionality that adds value to it. Too often, it turns out that the customer never uses around 30% of the capabilities of the software. Such redundancy should be avoided — both to save the developers from excessive work and to improve the result.
Find Time to Look Back
In the conventional Waterfall approach, teams would gather after the end of each project to reflect on what they have done. Conclusions will be made, faults will be revealed, ways of improvement will be suggested — but all of these will affect only the next product and not the one that was just finished. This is called After Action Review. Instead, you can try to reflect on the work done after each sprint or iteration. This would help you to implement the necessary amendments immediately and improve the product that you are currently working on.
Hopefully, this information came in handy and now you have a clear answer to the question “What is Agile manifesto?”. As you see, the rules are simple and inspiring. If your company has not yet switched to this approach to software development, maybe it is time to give it a try.