Agile: Philosophy You'll Love

Agile is such a popular philosophy which more and more development teams use. Actually, they use Agile methods such as Scrum, Extreme Programming, Crystal Clear etc. But, why is Agile so popular? Let's find out!

What is Agile?

Simply put, Agile is a philosophy based on the certain values and principles. The name was taken from the book Agile Manifesto, created in 2001. Seventeen experts gathered in Snow Bird Ski Resort in Utah and made this manifesto, with the famous 12 Agile principles. Agile is extremely disciplined management process that is based on:

  • inspection,
  • adaption to change,
  • iterative development,
  • collaboration with self-organizing teams,
  • cross-functional teams,
  • achieving previously defined goals.

Agile in IT industry

Because of its strict, manageable and achievable principles, Agile found its way into IT market. Since Agile, as a philosophy can't be used, there are several methodologies. Some of them are Rational Unified Process (RUP), Extreme Programming, Kanban, Crystal Clear, Scrum etc.

The biggest pro for Agile in software development is that it is focused on the result and delivering to the client what he/she needed.

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Why Agile?

As always, the answer is market enlargement, especially in the IT domain and software development. There is a constant need for the quality product and being better than the competition.
On the one hand, we have startup companies. More and more startup companies are entering the market, with new ideas and methods. They want to be unbeatable.
For startups, gaining a client's trust means everything. They can gain it only by striving for perfection. Perfection in timing, producing, communicating. In everything!
This crazy market situation turned us into human-like robots, working as hard as we can, the more we can.
Now, more then ever, every team should have its own project management tools. Seem like a good time for Agile to step up.

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Let's talk finance

When it comes to Agile and Scrum, we have to take into count one on the most valuable resource - money, and investment, in general.
Before you jump to a conclusion: Yes, being Agile is all about being productive and making better results. However, there is no secret that implementing a new philosophy (like Agile) should increase ROI level.
In case you were wondering, ROI stands for Return Of Investment and is defined as the money gained or lost compared to the money that is invested.

Mishkin Berteig, in a post on Agile Advice, mentioned that team's productivity goes up to about 60% when they use Agile. He, additionally, added that there is no doubt that Agile way of doing business directly stimulates the growth of ROI.

Agile vs. Waterfall

To truly let Agile shine, we have to mention the notorious Waterfall.
If you have been searching to find the right project management concept and method, you have probably bumped into Waterfall. This philosophy was used before Agile and comparing to Agile, it was not good. Hell no!
The main reason why Agile dethroned Waterfall is the documentation. With Agile, teams document everything even before the project begins.

Nevertheless, the Gods are on the Agile side this time around.

Anthony Mersino, in a post for vitalychicago.com, interpreted the benefits of Agile, by sharing Standish Group CHAOS Studies. This group has been conducting surveys every 2 years, since 1994. The surveys included IT companies and their projects.
As Mersino highlighted, in order to conclude whether the project is successful or not, Standish Group valued 3 factors - schedule, cost, and scope. Successful projects had at least 2 out of the 3 factors on a satisfying level and vice versa.
So, the final conclusions were:

  • Agile projects are 3 times more likely to succeed than the Waterfall ones,
  • Small projects bring more success than the large ones,
  • Agile has some minor flaws - you need to adapt it to every organization.

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However, the most surprising thing of all was that no matter what size the projects were, the ones that had implemented Agile philosophy had lower failure rates. This is especially noticeable in the case of large projects.

At the end...

... we can't deny we love Agile and use it for our projects. If you have read the text, you know why. Being productive and having satisfied clients has never been easier to achieve. Go team Agile!

May the Force be with you!

agile, ROI, Waterfall, philosophy, agile manifesto, 12 principles of agile
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