The agile methodology has become a common method of project management. It is built on 12 principles created by a team of software developers back in 2001. Their manifesto outlined a set of key principles, which are designed to ensure companies prioritize the right things; namely: customer satisfaction, collaboration, adapting to change, and more.
The 12 agile principles can support businesses to streamline their product-development cycles and achieve better results through a flexible, reactive system. Customers should receive the finished product sooner and provide valuable feedback to inform future releases.
Agile principles can be applied to teams of different sizes, fostering a closer working relationship while trusting individuals to get their job done. An agile development cycle consists of ‘sprints’ or ‘iterations’, which break the process down into smaller, more manageable sections.
Each sprint typically lasts from two to four weeks but may be more or less depending on the product in development.
One of the main benefits of integrating the agile manifesto into product development is achieving higher product quality. Regular testing becomes a bigger part of the cycle, and products will be subject to more frequent checks to identify issues. As a result, any changes which need to be made can be handled along the way.
As development is separated into smaller sections throughout a development lifecycle, teams can tighten their focus on achieving certain goals within a limited timeframe rather than tackling the entire product in one. Sprint retrospectives allow teams to understand where previous sprints may have gone wrong and what they can do to improve upcoming ones.
Another benefit is embracing adaptability and flexibility. Product teams bring products to customers sooner and incorporate feedback into future releases. As a result, products may be adjusted and improved over time as developers react to user experiences.
With these refinements, the chances of projects being successful can be continually increased. There’s less risk of failure overall, and the cost of changing products on a big and small scale may be reduced. It’s not the same as delaying a release or causing customer frustration as massive changes are undertaken in bulk.
Agile principles empower teams with tighter control over their projects. Team-members know exactly what to do in each sprint, while the greater emphasis on collaboration and communication reduces the danger of mistakes or oversights. Using automated software streamlines processes and cuts down the time wasted on avoidable manual tasks, too.
Finally, adopting agile principles in product development can achieve valuable ROI faster than traditional models. This is due to shorter development cycles, greater awareness of customer experiences, and taking steps to correct issues after release.
Here are the 12 agile principles:
1. “Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.”
Customer satisfaction is crucial to a product’s early and ongoing success. This principle emphasizes the importance of a continuous cycle of feedback and improvement. A minimum viable product (MVP) is released to the market and the response informs future releases.
2. “Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage.”
Development teams react to issues and change the product to satisfy customer needs. Strategies and processes may be reconsidered to safeguard the product’s quality.
3. “Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.”
Work on achieving goals on smaller scales, ultimately contributing to the product’s overall completion. Teams have tighter structures and more concrete goals to work towards.
4. “Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.”
Agile principles unify different departments, prioritizing regular collaboration and communication to share information/resources.
5. “Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.”
Appointing the right people with the right skills to the right roles is vital to achieving success with agile principles. They should be trusted to do their job properly, without disruptive micromanagement.
6. “The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.”
This emphasizes the importance of ongoing collaboration and idea-sharing, with daily meetings, sprint planning, demos, and more.
7. “Working software is the primary measure of progress.”
Development teams work on Minimum Viable Features instead of trying to perfect complete feature sets. Idea testing should be fast, as useful products released now are better than those released a year down the line.
8. “Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.”
It’s vital for product teams to have realistic goals and manageable expectations during sprints. This aids morale and prevents staff from becoming burned out.
9. “Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.”
Products should be reviewed after each iteration to ensure real improvement is taking place.
10. “Simplicity—the art of maximizing the amount of work not done—is essential.”
Agile is about keeping processes simple and streamlining the entire cycle. Even the most minor distractions or unnecessary tasks can slow progress. Embrace automation tools whenever possible.
11. “The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.”
Teams should be autonomous and capable of acting faster, without having to secure permission on every little task.
12. “At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.”
Teams should be encouraged to reflect on their progress and make changes to the product, rather than moving ahead blindly.
Almost every business will benefit from adopting the agile principles outlined above. In particular, companies should try to integrate agile principles into their processes if they find they’re struggling to hit targets, bring products to market on time, achieve high customer-satisfaction rates, or are suffering from low morale. The emphasis on collaboration, manageable sprints, and ongoing product improvement can make a real difference.