Until recently I did not know what the term Agile meant. Or what it covered. I did not even know it existed. Then I started hearing that term more often. So I decided to look into it. First I wanted to understand where this whole story started. Then why so many people are interested in it. Why such enthusiasm? And yet why some people are still raising their eyes at the very mention of the word Agile?
I had to understand all of this. I suggest you to accompany me in this discovery.
Agile – An old story still up-to-date
First of all it is important to clarify that these methods – even if very popular nowadays – are not new. They are not new and there is no one and only method.
Agility was born several decades ago. This movement emerged from a specific need – unique at that time – to software development. Technology is evolving, and the needs of the customers and users are changing. So, an adaptation was required. Responsiveness, flexibility and adaptability became the watchwords in the “development” world. New development methods emerged. Everyone followed their own rules.
Born from the need to put order in all this, the idea appeared to homogenize and standardize all these trends.
In 2001, seventeen IT experts decided then to meet in the USA and created a framework: the Agile Manifesto. This Manifesto was there to support and help all IT actors.
“The Manifesto defines the values and principles software teams should adopt in order to achieve the ultimate goal of creating good software.” (https://www.neotys.com/blog/the-four-values-of-the-agile-manifesto/ )
This manifesto provides all its users with 4 values and 12 principles.
I will not go into the details of these values and principles. I’ll just list them. You are free to browse the web to learn more. Digging deep into the Agile manifesto is a long process. This is not what we want to do. So we will move quickly on this part.
The 4 pillar values of the Agile methods
- ” Individuals and interactions over processes and tools;
- Working softwareover comprehensive documentation;
- Customer collaborationover contract negotiation;
- Responding to changeover following a plan.
That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.” (http://agilemanifesto.org/ )
Although we have decided not to dwell on the subject, here is a very entertaining and useful video: A good way to quickly and easily understand why these four values.
The 12 Agile principles
These four values come in a variety of 12 general principles, common to all Agile methods:
- “ Satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery
- Welcome changing requirements, even late in development
- Deliver working software frequently
- Business people and developers work together daily
- Build projects around motivated individuals
- Convey information via face-to-face conversation
- Working software is the primary measure of progress
- Maintain a constant pace indefinitely
- Give continuous attention to technical excellence
- Simplify: maximize the amount of work not done
- Teams self-organize
- Teams retrospect and tune their behaviors
These principles are fairly simple in concept, but are profoundly deep in practice.”
Agile – no one and only method
As you have noticed, when discussing the Agile method, I always use the plural form. I have never talked about one single Agile method. I’ve always used the plural. There is an easy explanation to this. But this should be kept in mind: Agility is a movement; a new approach to project management. In that sense there are several Agile methods.
Today the Scrum method may be the most popular one. But it’s not the only one.
“Scrum, XP, FDD or Kanban are some of the many Agile methodologies that share common characteristics, practices and philosophy but at the same time they differ at implementation standpoint, where each methodology has its own practices, terminology and tactics.”
Agile and by-products
If there are several methods born from the Agility movement, there are then many by-products. Discovering the fact that Agilty was not limited to IT development, made this emergence possible. The movement was going far beyond. It could be adapted to many other fields.
Agile – birth of Management 3.0
“Management is often the main obstacle to agile software development” https://management30.com/product/management30/
Following the Agile movement impulse, management has evolved. This is the birth of the freedom management: Management 3.0. There is no more a notion of command and control. Processes are not at the heart of management anymore. There is space for vision, action, collaboration, interaction, team spirit and trust.
Agile – beyond standard boundaries
But Agility is not limited to work place. And this to my great surprise! It can also be adapted to our real day-to-day life. Bruce Feiler (American writer and television personality) got the following radical idea: to use agile methods to deal with the stress of modern family. And his idea is not as crazy as it seems.
What future for the Agility?
Agility seems to be everywhere. But what is its real future?
There is no doubt this Agile movement will continue. But it must evolve and diversify. This movement is now 15 years old. One of the watchwords of Agility is “continuous improvement“. A new version of Agility is thus necessary. Not to mention new methods and new derivatives. New applications.
Also not everyone is Agile. And even if the opponents are more for lack of knowledge than anything else, it can be a big obstacle to the development of this movement; For beyond a lack of knowledge, there is also and above all a desire to keep his hierarchical “absolute power” (http://changeleadersnetwork.com/free-resources/how-command-and-control-as-a-change-leadership-style-causes-transformational-change-efforts-to-fail ); Indirectly a rejection of collaboration!
Teaching these people could then turn into a long and perilous journey. But the game is worth it, don’t you think? Isn’t collaboration something major for the future? Won’t Agility contribute to the well-being of tomorrow in everyday life – at the office but also at home?