Agile is a value-based project management process. Often misunderstood, the power of this process is only fully-engaged when upper management is totally onboard.
Agile is an oft misunderstood methodology. Those who have seen it applied poorly have a low estimation of its effectiveness. Those who have seen it implemented properly often become very vocal proponents. And everything in-between.
Originally, Agile was a project management methodology for the development of Software. Very quickly, its ability to be universally applied to other disciplines caused its explosive popularity and growth. We think of Agile in its purest sense with a heavy emphasis of delivering value early and often. When working solutions are brought in a regular and incremental basis, enthusiasm builds right along with the delivery of value. It becomes a self-perpetuating path of improvement. Especially, when implemented in self-managed and self-directed teams. AND -on top of that, it is especially well-suited to distributed, high-performance work teams. Win/Win.
Classically, Agile is best described by the Agile Manifesto:
We follow these principles:
• 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 to 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.
Often, going fully Agile requires a planned transition period from existing Waterfall processes. Coding, design, development, production and/or manufacturing often need interim solutions.
Perhaps the most familiar and comfortable process for many companies. Waterfall is still very applicable and efficient in select instances, for specific archetypal applications.