agile methodolgy

What is Agile Methodology?

Estimated read time: 5 minutes

The Agile methodology is very popular. Leading organizations already use it in important software development projects, and it’s used elsewhere too. The agile methodology has distinct characteristics, attributes, advantages, and utilities.

The Agile methodology: A brief introduction

The agile methodology is a modern project management methodology with its origin in the software development industry. This methodology uses an iterative approach. It breaks down large and complex projects into smaller parts that are more manageable. The agile methodology equips teams to complete these smaller parts in short and quick iterations.

17 software development experts came together to create the “Agile manifesto”. They published it in 2001. This spawned the creation of the agile methodology. The methodology evolved significantly over the subsequent decades.

The agile methodology enables project teams to self-organize themselves. Project teams can use it to adapt to a dynamic environment with many changes. Agile project teams use an adaptive and evolving approach for project planning and work management.

The “Agile Manifesto”

The “Manifesto for Agile Software Development”, commonly known as the “Agile Manifesto” defines the values and principles behind the agile methodology. Later, experts created frameworks, processes, methods, tools, and practices to conform to these values and principles in projects.

The core values found in the agile manifesto

The core values in the agile manifesto are as follows:


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  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools”;
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation”;
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation”;
  • Responding to change over following a plan”.

The agile manifesto mentions two sets of attributes above. We have highlighted one set in bold letters, whereas the other set is italicized.

The creators of the agile manifesto didn’t mean to imply that the italicized attributes have no importance. They recognize the importance of these. However, the agile manifesto values the attributes in bold more than the others.

The principles found in the agile manifesto

The principles found in the agile manifesto prioritize the following:

  • Value;
  • Dynamism;
  • Agility;
  • Collaboration;
  • Teamwork;
  • Empowerment;
  • Trust;
  • Openness;
  • Sustainability;
  • Excellence;
  • Continuous learning.

The principles are as follows:

  • Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through 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 behavior accordingly.

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The frameworks for use along with the Agile methodology

You can use one of the following frameworks along with the agile methodology:

  • Scrum;
  • Extreme Programming (XP);
  • Adaptive Software Development (ASD);
  • Dynamic Software Development Method (DSDM);
  • Feature Driven Development (FDD);
  • Kanban;
  • Behavior Driven Development (BDD).

Roles and steps in agile projects

The important roles in agile projects are as follows:

  • Scrum master: The scrum master is the PM that leads an agile project.
  • Product owner: The product owner is the voice of the customer. Product owners define the goals of sprints.
  • Team members: Agile project team members execute the project tasks.
  • Stakeholders: An agile project team keeps stakeholders up to date with the progress of sprints. Stakeholders can review sprints and approve them.

An agile project involves the following steps:

  • Project planning: This step helps all stakeholders understand the end goal of the project.
  • Product roadmap creation: A product roadmap has the features of the end product.
  • Release planning: This step involves the planning of “sprints”, i.e., iterations.
  • Sprint planning: This step details the tasks of each person during a sprint.
  • Daily stand-ups: Agile project teams conduct short meetings daily, which are called “daily stand-ups”. They discuss project status and resolve project issues in these meetings.
  • Sprint review meetings: Agile project teams demonstrate a functional product to stakeholders in sprint review meetings. This helps to get the sprint approval.
  • Sprint retrospective meeting: Agile project teams conduct a lessons-learned exercise after each sprint, which is called the “sprint retrospective meeting”.

The advantages of the agile methodology

You get the following advantages if you follow the agile methodology:

  • Improved “time-to-market”;
  • Higher product quality due to more manageable iterations of work;
  • Flexibility, which helps to accommodate changing requirements;
  • Better risk mitigation due to frequent interactions among all stakeholders;
  • Improved visibility of projects;
  • Empowered teams;
  • Laser-like focus on clients;
  • Better CSAT (customer satisfaction);
  • Predictable outcomes;
  • Continuous delivery and improvement.

Where can you use the agile methodology?

You can use the agile methodology in projects where the requirements are fluid. The project team might not have the entire requirement finalized, and only a small part of the requirements are known. You can undertake iterative development using the agile methodology.

While other industries also use agile, it’s used significantly in the software development industry. Projects like web and mobile development don’t have the requirements finalized early. Organizations launch a fully functional app with a few features. Based on the market feedback, they enhance the app in iterations. The agile methodology suits them very well.

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1. Which are the important agile metrics?

The important agile metrics are sprint burndown, agile velocity, lead time, cycle time, code coverage, static code analysis, release net promoter score, cumulative flow, failed deployments, and escaped defects.

2. Which are the top agile certifications?

The top agile certifications are PMI-Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP), ICAgile Certified Professional (ICP), AgilePM Foundation, Certified ScrumMaster (CSM), Professional Scrum Master I (PSM I), and SAFe Product Owner/Product Manager (SAFe POPM).

3. Which are the best agile project management tools?

The best agile project management tools are ClickUp, Jira, Kanbanize, GitHub Project Management, LeanKit, Planbox, Active Collab, Proggio, Codegiant, ProProfs Project, Axosoft, Assembla, Zoho Projects, Asana, Wrike, and Trello.


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