Agile Manifesto: Getting to Know the 12 Principles

Have you heard about the Agile Manifesto? The modern Agile activities started with this manifesto/ letter of values and principles for those who work with it.

For many companies, the moment of transformation in the world of work we are living in originated with the Agile Manifesto and its agile software development methodologies.

Anyone who deals with technology must be able to deliver results quickly and accurately. Thus, this becomes easier when it is guided by agile methodologies.

Work in the IT area often involves the support of a professional orientation strategy, the so-called management methodology. It guides the operational flow and helps the people involved in a project to deliver expected results.

In this article, you will find out what Agile Manifesto’s 12 principles are and why they are important for companies.

What is the Agile Manifesto?

The Agile Manifesto is a statement of core values ​​and principles for software development.

The impacts of the Manifesto and the agile development proposed by it are undeniable for companies from different sectors.

Based on a process of continuous collaboration, each professional was dedicated to evaluating the common points of the methodologies they used in their daily lives. From this analysis, the original text of the Agile Manifesto was created.

This document contains a set of principles to guide people towards a more agile, effective, and strong workflow.

Agile Manifesto: how did it come about?

The document was created in February 2001. 17 professionals, who already practiced agile methods such as XP, DSDM, Scrum, FDD, etc, gathered in Utah, to start a meeting.

Although these 17 developers used different approaches and methods, they shared the same fundamentals.

As the meeting progressed, a common consensus on important aspects of software development emerged.

They decided to write a document that would serve as a rallying cry for new software development processes. The first part was all about finding a name that well expressed the meaning of that movement, “light methods” were no longer a valid option, as they did not explain the desired meaning.

Soft Methods were a less bureaucratic way of creating computer solutions. Although there are hard Methods, they focused on more flexibility and openness to change.

In other words, those who worked with programming had two ways to get their bearings.  When one gave a lot of flexibility to planning, the other had a little opening for changes between stages.

The ultimate meeting

This meeting concluded the validation of the XP methodology as a middle ground between the Light Methods and the Agile Methods. Therefore, Robert Cecil Martin, one of those involved, decided to create an annual meeting between those people who were interested in agile practices for creating programs.

Here’s the list of the 17 names for the “Agile Alliance”, the term they used to address themselves as signers of the Manifesto:

  1. Robert C. Martin, the “Uncle Bob”
  2. Ken Schwaber, co-creator of Scrum.
  3. Jeff Sutherland, the inventor of Scrum.
  4. Kent Back, co-creator of eXtreme Programming (XP).
  5. Ron Jeffries, co-creator of eXtreme Programming (XP).
  6. Mike Beedle, co-author of Agile Software Development with Scrum.
  7. Arie van Bennekum of Integrated Agile.
  8. Alistair Cockburn, creator of Agile Crystal Methodology.
  9. Ward Cunningham, creator of the wiki concept.
  10. Martin Fowler, developer partner at Thoughtworks.
  11. James Grenning, author of Test-Driven Development.
  12. Jim Highsmith, creator of Adaptive Software Development (ASD).
  13. Andrew Hunt, co-author of The Pragmatic Programmer.
  14. Jon Kern, agility master.
  15. Brian Marick, computer scientist and author of several programming books.
  16. Steve Mellor, a computer scientist and one of the founders of Object-Oriented System Analysis (OOSA).
  17. Dave Thomas, programmer, and co-author of The Pragmatic Programmer.

What are the values of the Agile Manifesto?

The founding group of Manifesto Agile was already immersed in the world of software and, from their experiences, they brought values to provide better ways to develop software.

Each one of them opens up space to make our daily lives more flexible, results-oriented, and with high performance.

1. Individuals and interactions more than processes and tools

There must be, within a management process, the humanization of the project.

Therefore, creating a quality communication network within your team of developers allows interaction between all participating parties. Thus, make sure that tools and processes are important, but the relationship with people must stand out.

2. Software more than comprehensive documentation

The software must be understood by the people working in the creation process for this, documentation becomes necessary. However, the most important job for your company is getting the software up and running.

3. Collaboration with customers more than negotiating contracts

Having a contract is important, but more than that, it’s knowing what the customer expects.

Developers must work with the customer and create a good communication relationship. It is not in the company’s interest to go against its customer and it is not in the customer’s interest not to have a voice in the process of creating its product.

4. Responding to change rather than following a plan

Stakeholder priorities must be pre-established, but flexibility for change is needed.

Rigidity with changes should not exist within the agile methodology. Thus, prioritizing steps and having a creative process are important. But knowing how to make activities flexible according to feedback and needs is very relevant for success.

The philosophy that was used to interpret these values ​​was that the item on the left always matters more than the item on the right.

What are the 12 Agile Principles?

The principles are the cornerstone of the work of those who create programs in a more flexible environment. Furthermore, they help to deal with daily challenges.

The Agile Manifesto became a kind of guide that guides the actions, the choices of methods, and tools of the agile project teams, maximizing the results.

These are the 12 principles of the Agile Manifesto:

1) Customer Satisfaction

The highest priority is to satisfy the customer through the early and continuous delivery of valuable software.

2) Shift for competitive advantage

Changes to requirements are welcome, even at later stages of development.

3) Short lead times

Deliver running software frequently, from every two weeks to every two months, with a preference for shorter lead times.

4) Working together

Both business people and developers must work together daily throughout the course of the project.

5) Atmosphere and support

To build projects around motivated individuals, you need to give them the environment and support they need, trusting them to do their job.

6) Face-to-Face Talk

The most efficient method of conveying both external and internal information to a development team is through a face-to-face conversation.

7) Functionality

Functional software is the primary measure of progress.

8) Sustainability environment

Agile processes promote a sustainable environment, with sponsors, developers, and users being able to maintain a constant pace.

9) High standards of technology and design

Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design increases agility.

10) Simplicity

Doing something simple is mastering the art of maximizing the amount of work that didn’t need to be done.

11) Autonomy

The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.

12) Optimization

At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to be more effective and adjusts and optimizes their behavior, therefore.

Difference between traditional and agile methods

There is still a lot of discussion about the use of the traditional method. Also, this is a definition of the development of a product through phases of a project.

Phases represent a set of activities, logically related, that arrive at specific conclusions or deliverables. Therefore, the phase structure allows for better control of what is happening.

Therefore, a project has the following phases:

  • Start the project
  • Organization and preparation
  • Execution of the work
  • Finish the project

In this model, risk management is also fundamental, which, through a systematic process of strategic planning that involves processes of identification. Thus, other aspects such as assessment, response, and monitoring of risks aim to minimize threats and maximize opportunities for a project.

However, when it comes to the agile project lifecycle, the beginning and end of each phase represent a point of reassessment of the work that will and has been done. In these cases, it is easier and faster to diagnose and fix errors that impact performance.

Do you apply the Agile Manifesto in your company?

The Agile Manifesto was one of the biggest changes the tech industry has had in recent years. It has become the base of work for many companies, from startups to established companies.

It is important to know the Agile Manifesto and its bases. Thus, it is very likely that, throughout your career, you will participate in projects that are guided by this type of strategy. Therefore, you’ll be able to adapt to the scenario and deliver results that put you in a prominent position.

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Leonardo Salles

Copywriter for GitScrum.