Definition of… Agile

There is no final ‘definition of Agile’, no silver bullet / fits all approach. ‘Agile’ is not even one tangible method, but holds the common principles to a number of methods, that are as such stated in the Agile Manifesto.

I try to address this topic with the presentation of key characteristics. For both ‘Agile’ and traditional methods. That seems to be very recognizable.

Key characteristics of traditional methods:

  • Plan-Ceremony driven;
  • Single pass waterfall (sequential model);
  • Success = compliancy with predictive plan, i.e. end = original set destination;
    • Progress = ‘deliverables’ (specs/design/code/reviews/signatures);
    • Resisting/blocking ‘change’.

    Key characteristics of Agile methods:

    • Change-People driven;
    • Iterative-incremental process;
    • Success = delivered Business Value;
    • Progress = frequent delivery of working software;
    • ‘Embrace change’. Even encourage change!

    It is quite possible to get organized upon these general principles, and find a way through it and successfully build software. It is however a lot faster and more productive to select an existing, tangible process. Start by implementing it ‘from the book’ to get a firm grip on it. In a next step, it can still be optimized upon specific circumstances.

    And, while you’re at it, have a good look at Scrum. It is the most spread Agile method worldwide, has lots of communities with well-documented cases, is technology-independent and there are great coaches to assist a Scrum transition. A good starting pointing might be Scrum.org

    2 thoughts on “Definition of… Agile

    1. Olivier FLEBUS

      From a management point of view, you could add “Command & Control” & “Servant-Leadership”. I don’t need to state which one is agile ;-)

      • Olivier, very good point indeed. An important differentiator as well. Hope to meet you some time @ Capgemini!

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