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The Ultimate Guide to the Agile Manifesto

Are you interested in learning about what Agile Manifesto, what Agile’s core principles and values are and what they have to offer to help you benefit from the same in your organisation?Well, if you are, then you have come to the right place, because after reading this article, you will come to know about:What Agile Manifesto isThe purpose that Agile Manifesto servesThe history of Agile ManifestoWhat Agile Manifesto values areThe values of  Agile Manifesto principles.By the end of this article, you will have comprehensive knowledge about Agile Manifesto, its values and principles. Expansive as it may be, but it will feature core elements that define Agile in itself and how it can sort things out in any type of organisation.Firstly, Agile software development, also known as Agile, is an outlook to software development, one that unfolds requirements and solutions through the collaborated effort of self-organising, cross-functional teams and their clients or end users.It recommends planning using adaptive methods along with evolutionary development, empirical knowledge, and continual progress.This is a very short description out of the ocean of information about what Agile actually is. However, let’s stress on what Agile Manifesto is.What is Agile Manifesto?The Manifesto for Agile Software Development, commonly referred to as Agile Manifesto, Is a legal official order that includes twelve principles and four values to show the way for an iterative and people-centric approach to software development. It focuses primarily on testing while keeping the code simple, delivering the functioning bits of the application as soon as they are ready. It promotes an easy, clear and simple approach to developing software in short sprints so that each functioning bit of the software could be analysed and tested based on the client’s or the end user’s requirements, and may be changed if required to meet their needs.Although this set of values and principles were formed primarily for software development, the same can be applied to different forms of business.This makes Agile a very effective and flexible method for all forms of business.The history of Agile Manifesto and its developmentIt all began in Snowbird, Utah from February 11 to 13, 2001, where the ‘Manifesto for Agile software’ was formed. In the meet, seventeen developers formed this manifesto, ones such as Kent Beck, Ward Cunningham, Dave Thomas, Jeff Sutherland, Ken Schwaber, Jim Highsmith, Alistair Cockburn, and Bob Martin. They already had established themselves as leaders in the software industry and abandoned the ‘Waterfall’ approach.They realised the difficulty in creating good software and wanted to introduce new values to software development teams. This led to the desire of having a process etched on stone, a process that they were already practising on to bring a change in software development. Together, they published the ‘Manifesto to Agile Software Development’, that marked the beginning of the Agile movement.Agile Manifesto comprises of four fundamental values and twelve supporting principles, ones that head the Agile approach to software development. This manifesto defines the values and principles that software teams should embrace to achieve the landmark of creating good software.Agile Manifesto ValuesWe will discuss the four values of Agile, each value having two aspects, the ones at the left emphasise over the ones at the right. What is great about this manifesto is that it does not propose alternatives, but defining values, thus encouraging developers to pay attention to certain areas whilst not bypassing others.According to the Agile Manifesto, the four values are as follows:Individuals and interactions over processes and toolsWorking software over comprehensive documentationCustomer collaboration over contract negotiationRespond to change over following a planLet us see what these values individually have to offer and what we learn from them.1. Individuals and Interactions over processes and toolsThis stresses on the fact that although the right tools are vital to developing good software, it is very essential to have a cognitive unit to perform the task in the first place. A team of developers working together on a project with separate but unique tools in a single room will perform efficiently and quickly to deliver before or on the deadline day than isolated developers working with a well-defined process and a common set of state of the art and sophisticated tools in a huge office.We are not denying the fact that tools do not play an important part in creating good software. Of course, they do but we should bear in mind that tools do not work on their own and need people to make them work.And what are human beings in general?We are social beings and deliver quicker and with more efficiency when working together in a group. A cognitive unit of hard working and smart employees will work in tandem without any communication gap and make the flow of work smoother2. Working software over comprehensive documentationIn the past, there were records of lots of time being spent on documenting the product for development and delivery under tight deadlines. Test plans, technical requirements, documentation plans, interface design documents, technical specifications, technical prospectus, and approval required; the list was endless and this caused long delays in development. Documentation is important and serves the purpose of making the end users or co-workers understand how the software works. But there are times when the developers of a company are left with an uphill task of doing the documentation even before the commencement of developing the software, and if the company follows Agile methodology, then they should remember that the primary aim of a software developing company is to develop software, not to engage in the documentation for the majority of their time.Here, Agile comes into play and makes things easier for the developers. It breaks down the requirements of the client in the form of documents as user stories and that is exactly what each developer would need to begin working on developing the software.3. Customer Collaboration Over Contract NegotiationYour customer is the key to your success. Logically speaking, customers are the ones who help you in making better software. And How? Well, that is easy to explain. Customers are the users who will end up using a particular software. Developing the same while taking feedback and inputs from them will help you focus on the prime objective of giving the customers what they really want. They might not help in providing you with the next breakthrough idea, one which you have to come up with, but working closely with them and listening to their input will help you create what your customers desire for and as a result, develop flexible and successfully developed software.Sometimes, legal contracts with customers act as a barrier for you in communicating with your customers. You will need to devise a plan to separate the legal bounding that you have with your customers from the product relationship.Contract negotiations will be there as a part of the deal, but forming a relationship with the customer to facilitate communication will help you interact with the customers with a human touch, failing to do which will not help in developing great software. Creating a relationship with the customers will help in knowing their preferences, thoughts, and opinions. This might be a difficult task for you, but in the long run, doing so will help you achieve much better results.Remember,There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.- Sam Walton4. Respond to Change over Following a PlanChanges do happen in software development. Changes in technology, business trends and strategy, etc. Being flexible with the flow of change is what the fourth value of Agile all about.Following a project plan is fine. However, the same must be flexible and should have some room for changes or it will soon be forgotten as some misplaced faith of self-righteousness.This, on the other hand, makes the life of software testers difficult. Let me tell you why.The software testers analyse and test the functioning bits of the software after its development. However, due to sudden changes in the technical part, business plans or strategy, the testers are not aware of the sudden changes or updates that the developing team are made aware of and need to change their testing strategy accordingly.This results in communication gaps being formed between the testers and the developers thus putting the testers under tremendous pressure to deliver on time.In order to get this issue sorted out, you need to go back to the first value of Agile, which is communicating across teams to stay updated about the changes for a better and more effective workflow. It is more like an initiative to be taken by the testing team, that is, to communicate with the developers to stay in the loop of changes or a new course of action.Now that we have covered on the four values of Agile, let us move ahead to show you what the twelve principles of Agile have to offer and in what way they can help.Agile Manifesto PrinciplesThe twelve Agile principles form the ‘twelve commandments’ of the ‘Agile Movement’ methodology, ones which embrace change and consider the customer as the focal point. They also denote the movement’s intent, that is, to bring development into alignment with business needs, as described by one of the signatories of the manifesto, Alistair Cockburn.The twelve principles of Agile development include:1. Customer Satisfaction through Early and Continuous Software Delivery:The best way to make customers happy is by delivering the software early for testing and feedback, to let them know about the progress, the implementations, and acknowledge the delivery value by fulfilling their top priority requirements first. Each iteration has an outcome, a working code that can be applied to examine and respond to the ever-changing user requirements.2. Accommodate Changing Requirements Throughout the Development Process:This stresses on responding to change instead of staying strictly aligned to an approved plan. It involves a simplified version of handling change with the necessity of no formal documentation or approval. This is done to have control over change for the customer’s competitive advantage because it fastens the response to the latest changes in the business to bolster your advantage to emerging opportunities.3. Frequent Delivery of Working Software:This explains how to provide immediate value to the customers by delivering working features. Each iteration or Sprint must end up in yielding a product release. The teams ensure that each feature is fully developed, tested, customised, and styled according to the customer’s satisfaction before considering it as delivered. The structure of the project team can be bettered by focussing on the delivery of value with a fixed delivery timeframe.4. Collaboration between the Business Stakeholders and Developers throughout the Project:Agile development principles aim at keeping requirements and documentation light.The primary thought process is that it is fine and acceptable for changes to happen in software development. This results in close collaborations being given importance to clarify requirements on a timely basis to always keep all the team members notified during the development of the software.5. Support, Trust, and Motivate the people involved:Fruitful and competitive projects depend on focussed, trusted, and motivated individuals to get the job done. Team members are allowed to select the work they are most interested in by self-organisation with no interference of external management. Micromanagement and top-down approach is a strict no-no.6. Enable Face-to-Face InteractionsThis form of interaction is the best one of the lot. No other mode of communication could beat this one, especially when you need to get to the root of an issue. Feedback via face-to-face interaction or video conference (for the teams separated geographically) is always encouraged as it involves a smoother transfer of information amongst the members.7. Working Software is the Primary Measure of ProgressThis is done by collocating a number of teams in an open area and programmers are paired with each other at each workstation. So what that means is, each pair works in a symbiotic manner. The programmer at the keyboard, known as the ‘Driver’. The other one, known as the ‘Navigator’, actively works on the programming, thinking more about the overall direction. Normally, the job roles are to be switched to have a better understanding between each other.This results in better coding, as these symbiotic interactions help in clarifying the complexities and hidden details in the coding task in a better way. This also leads to a smoother exchange of information and knowledge amongst the team, hence reducing coordination efforts greatly, and improving the flexibility of the pair to interruptions.8. Agile Processes to Support a Consistent Development PaceThe Agile methodology aims at keeping the perfect work-life balance and never over exhaust the employees, thus keeping them happy. By maintaining close collaboration and being alert and creative, extended work after normal working hours is avoided, especially at the weekends, the time when people try to recover from their hectic lifestyle.9. Attention to Technical Detail and Design Enhances AgilitySelf-organising teams are the key to yield the best architectures, designs, and requirements. The team engages in retrospective meetings that hold discussions on the things needed in order to be more effective, after which a decision is made on the next course of action depending on the situation. This ensures that whatever is learnt during the project can be reapplied in the next iteration.10. SimplicityThis principle hints at the application of the Pareto principle or the 80/20 rule. It means that as a matter of fact, 80% of the results may be achieved from just 20% of your efforts. What actually needs to be done is to focus on the ‘20%’ that will yield the majority of the results. You need to focus on the things that are important to add value to the project and customers. Ignore the things that do not add value, such as components, process, etc.11. Self-organizing teams encourage great architectures, requirements, and designsIn Scrum methodology, the team has complete control and is responsible to meet the target of each sprint, and on deciding how to achieve the same. Cutting long story short, the team knows the best way to carry out the task, the interference of the project manager or even the human resources department is not welcome.12. Regular reflections on how to become more effectiveTo get the right results, it is imperative for teams to work as a cognitive unit by focussing on working out new plans to be more effective, checking the requirements, tuning in to the change, and adapting accordingly. Changes do happen most of the time, so you will never come to know what changes in the requirements might emerge until the software is looked at and tested. And the external conditions might have changed while you spent lots of time analysing and reviewing the requirements and designing a solution.Purpose of Agile ManifestoThe basic ambition of Agile is to deliver better software, and that is achieved by presenting a structure which is transparent and direct by emphasising on iterative development, team collaboration and embracing change.Really, it is difficult to imagine how Agile Manifesto has given rise to numerous software and activity. Before the emergence of the same, developing software was not as quick as it is nowadays. This led to the cancellation of many projects because of the continual changes in business needs and was quite unsettling for the software developing industry.The Agile Manifesto is the heart of the Agile movement. Its twelve core principles and four values aimed at changing the process, speeding up productivity with quality and development time. It was noticed that Agile has been implemented even on fields outside software development. Agile stressed on lean manufacturing, collaboration, communication and quick development of smaller sets of features under the guidance of an all-inclusive plan whilst always adapting to changes.Agile Vs Scrum and other methodologiesEven though Agile and Scrum go along with the same system, they do differ in some aspects when compared with each other.While Agile explains a set of principles in the Agile Manifesto employing interactive development to build software, Scrum follows a specific set of rules when practising Agile software development. Agile forms the philosophy whereas Scrum is the methodology to implement the Agile philosophy.Scrum is one of the ways to implement Agile, so there is no surprise when both are similar in many aspects. Both base on delivering software sooner and at regular intervals. Both are iterative processes and have scope for changes too, not to forget their transparency and constant improvement.Here are the notable differences and similarities between Agile and Scrum:AspectsAgileScrumPhilosophyYesNoAdds processNoYesMethodologyNoYesAccommodates changeYesYesConstant improvementYesYesDeliver software early and oftenYesYesIterativeYesYesTransparencyYesYesWhen it comes to Agile and Waterfall, it can be said that Agile is much more flexible and ever-evolving while Waterfall is a rigid and inflexible process.The chances of finding similarities between these two are remote. As a matter of fact, Agile was brought into existence because of the shortfalls of Waterfall and is its polar opposite although they both strive at delivering quality products efficiently.Here are the notable differences and similarities between Agile and Scrum:AspectsAgileWaterfallSequentialNoYesRigid processNoYesFlexibleYesNoAccommodates changeYesNoContinually evolvingYesNoDeliver quality productsYesYesDefined requirementsNoYesOn comparing Agile with Kanban, although the latter implements the former in a visual manner, there are numerous differences and notable similarities, which are:AspectsAgileKanbanIterationsYesNoContinuous flowNoYesPhilosophyYesNoVisualisationNoYesContinually improvingYesYesCross-functional teamsYesNoTransparencyYesYesFaster deliveryYesYesSplitting projects into smaller segmentsYesYesUpfront planning is not necessaryYesYesEqually beneficial to all industriesNoYesNo project management methodology is 100% foolproof all the time. Different methodologies are introduced in different situations and prove useful too. It depends on the type of change you want to bring in your team. For example, Kanban is a better option if you want to introduce something on the top of existing infrastructure with small but incremental changes. However, Agile would be a better choice if your goal is to go for a bigger change.ConclusionSo, here we are, at the end of the line of this topic. We have discussed a lot about Agile Manifesto, its values and principles, and focussed on the benefits of its applications, not to forget about how different Agile is from the various methodologies.You can freely implement the magnificent set of values and principles of Agile to your own business or organisation. It will work wonders if followed religiously.All the best for your future!
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The Ultimate Guide to the Agile Manifesto

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The Ultimate Guide to the Agile Manifesto

Are you interested in learning about what Agile Manifesto, what Agile’s core principles and values are and what they have to offer to help you benefit from the same in your organisation?

Well, if you are, then you have come to the right place, because after reading this article, you will come to know about:

  • What Agile Manifesto is
  • The purpose that Agile Manifesto serves
  • The history of Agile Manifesto
  • What Agile Manifesto values are
  • The values of  Agile Manifesto principles.

By the end of this article, you will have comprehensive knowledge about Agile Manifesto, its values and principles. Expansive as it may be, but it will feature core elements that define Agile in itself and how it can sort things out in any type of organisation.

Firstly, Agile software development, also known as Agile, is an outlook to software development, one that unfolds requirements and solutions through the collaborated effort of self-organising, cross-functional teams and their clients or end users.

It recommends planning using adaptive methods along with evolutionary development, empirical knowledge, and continual progress.

This is a very short description out of the ocean of information about what Agile actually is. However, let’s stress on what Agile Manifesto is.

What is Agile Manifesto?

The Manifesto for Agile Software Development, commonly referred to as Agile Manifesto, Is a legal official order that includes twelve principles and four values to show the way for an iterative and people-centric approach to software development. It focuses primarily on testing while keeping the code simple, delivering the functioning bits of the application as soon as they are ready. It promotes an easy, clear and simple approach to developing software in short sprints so that each functioning bit of the software could be analysed and tested based on the client’s or the end user’s requirements, and may be changed if required to meet their needs.

Although this set of values and principles were formed primarily for software development, the same can be applied to different forms of business.

This makes Agile a very effective and flexible method for all forms of business.

The history of Agile Manifesto and its development

It all began in Snowbird, Utah from February 11 to 13, 2001, where the ‘Manifesto for Agile software’ was formed. In the meet, seventeen developers formed this manifesto, ones such as Kent Beck, Ward Cunningham, Dave Thomas, Jeff Sutherland, Ken Schwaber, Jim Highsmith, Alistair Cockburn, and Bob Martin. They already had established themselves as leaders in the software industry and abandoned the ‘Waterfall’ approach.

They realised the difficulty in creating good software and wanted to introduce new values to software development teams. This led to the desire of having a process etched on stone, a process that they were already practising on to bring a change in software development. 

Together, they published the ‘Manifesto to Agile Software Development’, that marked the beginning of the Agile movement.

Agile Manifesto comprises of four fundamental values and twelve supporting principles, ones that head the Agile approach to software development. This manifesto defines the values and principles that software teams should embrace to achieve the landmark of creating good software.

Agile Manifesto ValuesAgile Manifesto Values

We will discuss the four values of Agile, each value having two aspects, the ones at the left emphasise over the ones at the right. What is great about this manifesto is that it does not propose alternatives, but defining values, thus encouraging developers to pay attention to certain areas whilst not bypassing others.

According to the Agile Manifesto, the four values are as follows:

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Respond to change over following a plan

Let us see what these values individually have to offer and what we learn from them.

1. Individuals and Interactions over processes and tools

Individuals and Interactions over Processes and Tools

This stresses on the fact that although the right tools are vital to developing good software, it is very essential to have a cognitive unit to perform the task in the first place. A team of developers working together on a project with separate but unique tools in a single room will perform efficiently and quickly to deliver before or on the deadline day than isolated developers working with a well-defined process and a common set of state of the art and sophisticated tools in a huge office.

We are not denying the fact that tools do not play an important part in creating good software. Of course, they do but we should bear in mind that tools do not work on their own and need people to make them work.

And what are human beings in general?

We are social beings and deliver quicker and with more efficiency when working together in a group. A cognitive unit of hard working and smart employees will work in tandem without any communication gap and make the flow of work smoother

2. Working software over comprehensive documentation

Working software over comprehensive documentation

In the past, there were records of lots of time being spent on documenting the product for development and delivery under tight deadlines. Test plans, technical requirements, documentation plans, interface design documents, technical specifications, technical prospectus, and approval required; the list was endless and this caused long delays in development. Documentation is important and serves the purpose of making the end users or co-workers understand how the software works. But there are times when the developers of a company are left with an uphill task of doing the documentation even before the commencement of developing the software, and if the company follows Agile methodology, then they should remember that the primary aim of a software developing company is to develop software, not to engage in the documentation for the majority of their time.

Here, Agile comes into play and makes things easier for the developers. It breaks down the requirements of the client in the form of documents as user stories and that is exactly what each developer would need to begin working on developing the software.

3. Customer Collaboration Over Contract Negotiation

Customer Collaboration Over Contract Negotiation

Your customer is the key to your success. Logically speaking, customers are the ones who help you in making better software. And How? Well, that is easy to explain. Customers are the users who will end up using a particular software. Developing the same while taking feedback and inputs from them will help you focus on the prime objective of giving the customers what they really want. They might not help in providing you with the next breakthrough idea, one which you have to come up with, but working closely with them and listening to their input will help you create what your customers desire for and as a result, develop flexible and successfully developed software.

Sometimes, legal contracts with customers act as a barrier for you in communicating with your customers. You will need to devise a plan to separate the legal bounding that you have with your customers from the product relationship.Contract negotiations will be there as a part of the deal, but forming a relationship with the customer to facilitate communication will help you interact with the customers with a human touch, failing to do which will not help in developing great software. Creating a relationship with the customers will help in knowing their preferences, thoughts, and opinions. This might be a difficult task for you, but in the long run, doing so will help you achieve much better results.

Remember,

There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.

- Sam Walton

4. Respond to Change over Following a Plan

Respond to Change over Following a Plan

Changes do happen in software developmentChanges in technology, business trends and strategy, etc. Being flexible with the flow of change is what the fourth value of Agile all about.

Following a project plan is fine. However, the same must be flexible and should have some room for changes or it will soon be forgotten as some misplaced faith of self-righteousness.This, on the other hand, makes the life of software testers difficult. Let me tell you why.

The software testers analyse and test the functioning bits of the software after its development. However, due to sudden changes in the technical part, business plans or strategy, the testers are not aware of the sudden changes or updates that the developing team are made aware of and need to change their testing strategy accordingly.

This results in communication gaps being formed between the testers and the developers thus putting the testers under tremendous pressure to deliver on time.

In order to get this issue sorted out, you need to go back to the first value of Agile, which is communicating across teams to stay updated about the changes for a better and more effective workflow. It is more like an initiative to be taken by the testing team, that is, to communicate with the developers to stay in the loop of changes or a new course of action.

Now that we have covered on the four values of Agile, let us move ahead to show you what the twelve principles of Agile have to offer and in what way they can help.

Agile Manifesto Principles

Agile Manifesto Principles

The twelve Agile principles form the ‘twelve commandments’ of the ‘Agile Movement’ methodology, ones which embrace change and consider the customer as the focal point. They also denote the movement’s intent, that is, to bring development into alignment with business needs, as described by one of the signatories of the manifesto, Alistair Cockburn.

The twelve principles of Agile development include:

1. Customer Satisfaction through Early and Continuous Software Delivery:

Agile Manifesto Principles

The best way to make customers happy is by delivering the software early for testing and feedback, to let them know about the progress, the implementations, and acknowledge the delivery value by fulfilling their top priority requirements first. Each iteration has an outcome, a working code that can be applied to examine and respond to the ever-changing user requirements.

2. Accommodate Changing Requirements Throughout the Development Process:

Agile Manifesto Principles

This stresses on responding to change instead of staying strictly aligned to an approved plan. It involves a simplified version of handling change with the necessity of no formal documentation or approval. This is done to have control over change for the customer’s competitive advantage because it fastens the response to the latest changes in the business to bolster your advantage to emerging opportunities.

3. Frequent Delivery of Working Software:

Agile Manifesto Principles

This explains how to provide immediate value to the customers by delivering working features. Each iteration or Sprint must end up in yielding a product release. The teams ensure that each feature is fully developed, tested, customised, and styled according to the customer’s satisfaction before considering it as delivered. The structure of the project team can be bettered by focussing on the delivery of value with a fixed delivery timeframe.

4. Collaboration between the Business Stakeholders and Developers throughout the Project:

Agile Manifesto Principles

Agile development principles aim at keeping requirements and documentation light.The primary thought process is that it is fine and acceptable for changes to happen in software development. This results in close collaborations being given importance to clarify requirements on a timely basis to always keep all the team members notified during the development of the software.

5. Support, Trust, and Motivate the people involved:

Agile Manifesto Principles

Fruitful and competitive projects depend on focussed, trusted, and motivated individuals to get the job done. Team members are allowed to select the work they are most interested in by self-organisation with no interference of external management. Micromanagement and top-down approach is a strict no-no.

6. Enable Face-to-Face Interactions

Agile Manifesto Principles

This form of interaction is the best one of the lot. No other mode of communication could beat this one, especially when you need to get to the root of an issue. Feedback via face-to-face interaction or video conference (for the teams separated geographically) is always encouraged as it involves a smoother transfer of information amongst the members.

7. Working Software is the Primary Measure of Progress

Agile Manifesto Principles

This is done by collocating a number of teams in an open area and programmers are paired with each other at each workstation. So what that means is, each pair works in a symbiotic manner. The programmer at the keyboard, known as the ‘Driver’. The other one, known as the ‘Navigator’, actively works on the programming, thinking more about the overall direction. Normally, the job roles are to be switched to have a better understanding between each other.

This results in better coding, as these symbiotic interactions help in clarifying the complexities and hidden details in the coding task in a better way. This also leads to a smoother exchange of information and knowledge amongst the team, hence reducing coordination efforts greatly, and improving the flexibility of the pair to interruptions.

8. Agile Processes to Support a Consistent Development Pace

Agile Manifesto Principles

The Agile methodology aims at keeping the perfect work-life balance and never over exhaust the employees, thus keeping them happy. By maintaining close collaboration and being alert and creative, extended work after normal working hours is avoided, especially at the weekends, the time when people try to recover from their hectic lifestyle.

9. Attention to Technical Detail and Design Enhances Agility

Agile Manifesto Principles

Self-organising teams are the key to yield the best architectures, designs, and requirements. The team engages in retrospective meetings that hold discussions on the things needed in order to be more effective, after which a decision is made on the next course of action depending on the situation. This ensures that whatever is learnt during the project can be reapplied in the next iteration.

10. Simplicity

Agile Manifesto Principles

This principle hints at the application of the Pareto principle or the 80/20 rule. It means that as a matter of fact, 80% of the results may be achieved from just 20% of your efforts. What actually needs to be done is to focus on the ‘20%’ that will yield the majority of the results. You need to focus on the things that are important to add value to the project and customers. Ignore the things that do not add value, such as components, process, etc.

11. Self-organizing teams encourage great architectures, requirements, and designs

Agile Manifesto Principles

In Scrum methodology, the team has complete control and is responsible to meet the target of each sprint, and on deciding how to achieve the same. Cutting long story short, the team knows the best way to carry out the task, the interference of the project manager or even the human resources department is not welcome.

12. Regular reflections on how to become more effective

To get the right results, it is imperative for teams to work as a cognitive unit by focussing on working out new plans to be more effective, checking the requirements, tuning in to the change, and adapting accordingly. Changes do happen most of the time, so you will never come to know what changes in the requirements might emerge until the software is looked at and tested. And the external conditions might have changed while you spent lots of time analysing and reviewing the requirements and designing a solution.

Purpose of Agile ManifestoPurpose of Agile Manifesto

The basic ambition of Agile is to deliver better software, and that is achieved by presenting a structure which is transparent and direct by emphasising on iterative development, team collaboration and embracing change.

Really, it is difficult to imagine how Agile Manifesto has given rise to numerous software and activity. Before the emergence of the same, developing software was not as quick as it is nowadays. This led to the cancellation of many projects because of the continual changes in business needs and was quite unsettling for the software developing industry.

The Agile Manifesto is the heart of the Agile movement. Its twelve core principles and four values aimed at changing the process, speeding up productivity with quality and development time. It was noticed that Agile has been implemented even on fields outside software development. Agile stressed on lean manufacturing, collaboration, communication and quick development of smaller sets of features under the guidance of an all-inclusive plan whilst always adapting to changes.

Agile Vs Scrum and other methodologies
Agile Vs Scrum and other methodologies

Even though Agile and Scrum go along with the same system, they do differ in some aspects when compared with each other.

While Agile explains a set of principles in the Agile Manifesto employing interactive development to build software, Scrum follows a specific set of rules when practising Agile software development. Agile forms the philosophy whereas Scrum is the methodology to implement the Agile philosophy.

Scrum is one of the ways to implement Agile, so there is no surprise when both are similar in many aspects. Both base on delivering software sooner and at regular intervals. Both are iterative processes and have scope for changes too, not to forget their transparency and constant improvement.

Here are the notable differences and similarities between Agile and Scrum:

AspectsAgileScrum
PhilosophyYesNo
Adds processNoYes
MethodologyNoYes
Accommodates changeYesYes
Constant improvementYesYes
Deliver software early and oftenYesYes
IterativeYesYes
TransparencyYesYes

When it comes to Agile and Waterfall, it can be said that Agile is much more flexible and ever-evolving while Waterfall is a rigid and inflexible process.

The chances of finding similarities between these two are remote. As a matter of fact, Agile was brought into existence because of the shortfalls of Waterfall and is its polar opposite although they both strive at delivering quality products efficiently.

Here are the notable differences and similarities between Agile and Scrum:

AspectsAgileWaterfall
SequentialNoYes
Rigid processNoYes
FlexibleYesNo
Accommodates changeYesNo
Continually evolvingYesNo
Deliver quality productsYesYes
Defined requirementsNoYes

On comparing Agile with Kanban, although the latter implements the former in a visual manner, there are numerous differences and notable similarities, which are:

AspectsAgileKanban
IterationsYesNo
Continuous flowNoYes
PhilosophyYesNo
VisualisationNoYes
Continually improvingYesYes
Cross-functional teamsYesNo
TransparencyYesYes
Faster deliveryYesYes
Splitting projects into smaller segmentsYesYes
Upfront planning is not necessaryYesYes
Equally beneficial to all industriesNoYes

No project management methodology is 100% foolproof all the time. Different methodologies are introduced in different situations and prove useful too. It depends on the type of change you want to bring in your team. For example, Kanban is a better option if you want to introduce something on the top of existing infrastructure with small but incremental changes. However, Agile would be a better choice if your goal is to go for a bigger change.

Conclusion

So, here we are, at the end of the line of this topic. We have discussed a lot about Agile Manifesto, its values and principles, and focussed on the benefits of its applications, not to forget about how different Agile is from the various methodologies.

You can freely implement the magnificent set of values and principles of Agile to your own business or organisation. It will work wonders if followed religiously.

All the best for your future!

KnowledgeHut

KnowledgeHut

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KnowledgeHut is an outcome-focused global ed-tech company. We help organizations and professionals unlock excellence through skills development. We offer training solutions under the people and process, data science, full-stack development, cybersecurity, future technologies and digital transformation verticals.
Website : https://www.knowledgehut.com

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1 comments

Manova Matthew 18 Jun 2019 1 likes

The perfect guide about the agile manifesto loved it. Thanks

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All You Need To Know About The Roles Of A Scrum Master

1. IntroductionHaving worked on Agile projects for a while, I was surprised to find out that “Scrum” came from the process word scrummage, a word used in rugby sports. In rugby, scrummage refers to restarting the game where the players are coming close to each other with their heads down and gaining a possession of the ball. The players work together in a unified manner relying on their strengths in order to overcome and break across their opponents, taking incremental steps collectively as a team.Traditional waterfall approach as a software development methodology is successfully practiced over many years as a structured and proven method. It emphasizes a lot on proper documentation and proper process control. In Traditional waterfall methodology, the entire stage is completed before moving sequentially to the next stage. The method, however, is rigid to changes during the software development cycle.Agile software development methodology, on the other hand, is quite the opposite, it looks into ensuring flexibility and incorporating regularly users inputs as a way to build better user products.Scrum software development methodology is a subset of the Agile methodology. “Scrum” methodology was the brainchild of 2 Japanese Hiro Takeuchi and Ikujiro Nonaka. Who wanted to create “a flexible and holistic product development strategy where a development team works as a unit to reach a common goal.” 2. Who is a Scrum Master?A Scrum Master is a facilitator of the Agile development team. He is not the project manager nor the product owner. A Scrum Master is not a position but a role.However, having said that it doesn’t mean this role is less important than the role of a project manager. In fact, a scrum master is a crucial role in the success of an agile project.3. What does a scrum master do?Scrum Master is “A Servant Leader”.  The roles and responsibilities of the Scrum Master include:Making sure the team follows the agile processes.Shielding the team.Facilitating Scrum Ceremonies.Championing information radiators.Working with stakeholders to get tools and training for the team.4.  What Qualities does a Scrum Master have?A Scrum Master does not need a particular type of qualification to assume the responsibilities.  However, he or she should possess particular qualities necessary for the role.Traits of a good Scrum Master are-a) Influential - able to convince others, have empathy and respect for people and showing by exampleb) Collaborative - seek to collaborate with others in the organization and not for self-gloryc) Observant - alertness to identify issues and problem areasd) Knowledgeable - not only on agile processes but has some technical and project management knowledge5. Roles and Responsibilities of the Scrum MasterSome organization practices rotation of Scrum Master roles among the team members, this is up to each Scrum Team.However, the roles and responsibilities of the Scrum Master are common:SM is the Agile framework custodian and process owner for the team.SM is a facilitator and Servant Leader who never discourage but encourages and expects self-organization from the Agile development team. SM builds close collaboration across roles and functions in the organization, works on matters collectively and is not individualistic.SM protects the team from distractions which includes both external and internal.SM removes impediments, so the team can focus on the development work and tasks.SM is not typically a manager or lead, but he/she is an influential leader who does not do direct command and control.SM is a coach, give the bits of advice to the team and discussed issues encountered.SM is an adviser and is equipped with technical and project management know-how, this is so that he/she understands the problems and be able to provide a proper guidance and advice to the team.6. Scrum master skillsThese are the essential skills a Scrum Master should have:Encourage a self-organising teamRemove barriers and Shield the teamEncourage Collaboration and Resolve ConflictsCoach and Advises the teamEstablish partnerships (team, product owner, stakeholder)Facilitate and is a Servant Leadera) Encourage a self-organizing team - The scrum master needs to know when to hold his views and keep quiet to allow the team to be self-organizing. That said he should be actively listening attentively to the team members inputs and learning points and guide the team to perform better in subsequent sprints.b) Remove barriers and shield the team - The scrum master should shield the development team from outside distractions. At the same time, the job of the scrum master is to remove any project barriers and impediments including resolving resource issues. Allowing the team to focus on their development works and tasks. c) Encourage Collaboration and Resolve Conflicts - The scrum master should have respect for people. He should encourage collaboration among team members and also across teams. He should be a collaborator who is able to resolve conflicts within and across teams by focusing on the scrum values of openness, respect, and honesty.d) Coach and Advises the team - The scrum master should read widely and coaches the team on agile processes. Other than being a teacher to the team to explain scrum processes clearly and enforcing the practice for agile. The scrum master should have technical and project management knowledge. 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What are the benefits of having a Scrum Master Certification?Why should you be interested in becoming a Certified Scrum Master?According to scrumalliance.org based on a survey with about 5000 people in February 2015, 87% agrees that Scrum improves the quality of work life for their team. At the same time, 81% of Scrum Masters who received certification agree that it has significantly helped to improve their practice.Check our CSM certification training schedules in Top cities of IndiaCertificationPlaceSchedulesCertified Scrum MasterBangaloreView SchedulesHyderabadView SchedulesChennaiView Schedules8.  Scrum master learning path (how to become a scrum master)How to become a Certified Scrum Master (CSM®)?Step 1: Attend a 2-day Certified Scrum Master course or seminarStep 2: In 30 to 90 days, register online for the Scrum Master Accredited Certification ProgramStep 3: Upon successful registration, you will receive your Exam Access Code instantly onlineStep 4: Take the online test anywhere, anytime on the multiple-choice questionsStep 5: Get your lifetime and international valid Scrum Master Accredited Certification Document instantly onlineIn a meanwhile, you can take a glimpse of the Certified Scrum Master (CSM®) training at KnowledgeHut.9.  Scrum Master training and certificationRequirements for CSM® (from scrumalliance.org)The first step toward your CSM® is to familiarize yourself with the Scrum framework.Then, attend an in-person, two-day  (16 hour) CSM® course taught by a Certified Scrum Trainer® (CST®) where you’ll get a comprehensive overview of how to organize and support a Scrum Team. After the course, you’ll need to pass the CSM® exam. After you pass the CSM® exam and accept the License Agreement, complete your Scrum Alliance membership profile and enjoy the benefits of certification.The Certified Scrum Master Exam is conducted online. The exam consists of 35 multiple choice questions and to pass the certified scrum master exam, you need to get at least 24  correct answers. You can take up the exam only after the completion of two days of training. The test takes about an hour to get completed.Scrum Alliance allows a candidate to make two attempts on the exam. This is available at no cost. However, subsequent attempts after the second time will be chargeable.For people who are Certified Scrum Masters, the next step in the Agile journey will attain the Advanced Certified Scrum Master (A-CSM®℠) certification.In order to prepare for the Certified Scrum Master exam (CSM exam), you can refer this Scrum tutorial. This is a complete guide that will help you in preparing for the Scrum Master examination.Requirements for A-CSM®  (from scrumalliance.org)Attend a certified educational offering to get techniques and skills that go beyond the basics and mechanics of Scrum, expanding into interaction, facilitation, coaching, and team dynamics.Successfully complete all educator-designed components of an approved educational offering. This may include pre- or post-course work as deemed necessary by your approved educator to complete the learning objectives.Validate at least one year of work experience specific to the role of ScrumMaster (within the past five years).Hold an active Certified ScrumMaster (CSM®) certification with the Scrum Alliance.NOTE:  You may take the A-CSM® course at any time after completing your CSM® certification, but must have at least 12 months of Scrum Master experience logged into your Scrum Alliance profile before you can receive your A-CSM® certification.You can opt for the Scrum Mock tests which will help you in raising your confidence level of passing the CSM exam with an excellent scope. Click here for CSM practice test online.10. Benefits of a Scrum Master CertificationThere are many reasons why people take the Scrum Master Certifications and here are just some of them:Expand career options across industry sectors using Scrum and Agile methodologyExpand career options across industry sectors using Scrum and Agile methodologyDemonstrate the attainment of Scrum knowledgeMeet like-minded Scrum professionals and networking Continuous learningIf you are ready to encourage your team and advance your  Scrum career, then it is an ideal opportunity to become a Certified Scrum Master (CSM®). Get enroll for the CSM® certification course today and start preparing for the success.Begin your Scrum Master journey today!
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When a Scrum development team works on the productivity of a team using the Agile methodology, the first thing that comes to attention is the metric used to measure how much work the team does in an iteration: velocity. On the contrary, using velocity helps a Scrum development team to determine a team’s average capability on a normal sprint followed by how much they will agree to achieve in the next sprint iteration. The velocity is not preferred to determine the team’s productivity as it is just a simple indicator based on past sprints.The thing that matters at the end is the result and what the team has produced. A team is not recommended to be pushed to fasten its velocity. In the end, the outcome might be unpredictable as the team might economize on acceptance testing, avoid fixing bugs, or minimize restructuring to reach the target velocity. The key to increasing the velocity of the team is to resort to focusing on optimal velocity over time instead of maximized velocity. 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All the concerns and ideas put across and need solutions during the meetings can be parked so that all of them can be addressed together. Any topic not related to the purpose of the meeting can be talked about at a fixed but separate time of the day.Furthermore, communicating with each other during the meeting will help in exchanging more information.4. Product backlog The backlog is the key to knowing where a product goes and what needs to be created on priority. So, everything in a project must be kept and properly maintained via a backlog. User Stories should have enough details and can be reordered in case of a change in priority. More accurate User Stories lead to less time consumption for the development team to understand them.An up to date and well-maintained backlog during an Agile project should have enough User Stories for at least one or two sprints.5. 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Advantages of Agile Testing Methodology

What is Agile Testing? As the name implies, agile course projects are executed very quickly and with flexibility. Agile methods involve tasks executed in short iterations or sprints.Agile Testing is also iterative and takes place after each sprint, rather than towards the end of the project. Testing courses iteratively helps to validate the client requirements and adapt to changing conditions in a better manner. As soon as the build is out, testing is expected to get started and  bugs if any should be reported at once. As a Tester, you must work with the team and share your thoughts on the client requirements at the beginning rather than towards the end of the project. Emphasis has to be laid down on the quality of the deliverable despite the short timeframe. This will further help in reducing the cost of development and your feedback will be implemented in the code which will avoid the defects coming from the end user. Advantages offered by Agile Methodology: The most significant advantage of Agile Methodology is the saving of time and money. There is less documentation required. Although documents help to a great deal in verifying and validating the requirements, considering the time frame of the project, this approach focuses more on the application rather than on documentation. Since it is iterative in its form, there is regular feedback from the end user so that any changes can be implemented as soon as possible. And because all phases of SDLC need to be completed very quickly, there is transparency with regard to the work done by each individual working on the project during each phase. Another advantage that Agile Methodology offers is that any changes or enhancements can be implemented without any budget constraint. These changes may necessitate some adjustment in the already allotted time frame which will not be difficult . Daily meetings and discussions on the Agile project  can help to determine any issues well in advance and work on addressing them. Quick coding and Testing makes the management aware of the gaps existing in the requirements or technology used, and they can try to find a workable solution for the same. Hence, with quicker development, testing and constant feedback from the user,  Agile methodology becomes the most appropriate approach for projects that are required to be delivered in a short span of time.
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