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12 Principles Behind the Agile Manifesto

Long before Agile came into existence, almost everything was done by the waterfall method. Its rigidity ensured that projects were easy to manage, but that also translated to more time to actually get a product deployed. So, it often happened that by the time the end product was ready to be deployed, the business requirements would have changed, thus making the product redundant. By the start of the millennium, markets had become more volatile, requirements were changing rapidly, and customers wanted quick fixes and accommodation of their changing needs.  That’s when 17 engineers got together and decided to come up with a new approach to software development that would address these problems. They came up with principles and values that would guide iterative software development. This document came to be known as the Agile Manifesto.  The authors of the Agile Manifesto came out with 4 values and 12 principles in order to help the professionals understand it easily and put it into practice. The manifesto created an impact and changed the future of project management. AGILE ESSENTIALS ESSENTIALS INTRODUCTION Agile Essentials is a set of resources intended to bring you up to speed on the concepts and principles of Agile. The Agile Essentials provide an overview of Agile values, principles, concepts, vocabulary, terms and roles to provide an understanding of the breadth of Agile and how it differs from traditional project management practices. AGILE 101:  Agile Development is a set of methods, principles and practices where solutions are integrated through the collaboration of self-organizing, cross-functional Development teams.  Agile methods, values and principles provide guidance on how to create and respond to change, deal with uncertainty and ultimately succeed in an uncertain and tumultuous environment. AGILE MANIFESTO The Agile Manifesto is a brief document built on 4 values and 12 principles for agile software development.  It was the work of 17 software development practitioners and was published in February 2001 to address the increasing need for an alternative to heavyweight software development processes. AGILE GLOSSARY Agile teams have created their own agile terminology to manage all these principles and practices. The glossary consists of 50 Agile Terms. Reference: Check URL https://www.agilealliance.org/agile101/agile-glossary/ for the list of agile terminologies. THE 12 PRINCIPLES The Agile Manifesto drafts out 12 principles for agile development practices. These 12 principles highlight on continuous delivery of valuable software in sprints and attention to technical excellence. The continuous delivery will involve quick feedback from the customer which will help reduce changes at the last minute. THE SUBWAY MAP The Agile subway map is a list of Agile practices grouped under different categories.  It helps to map out a specific practice that could help a team solve its problems.  The below picture depicts practices that are interconnected, while the colors at the bottom indicate each category. HISTORY OF THE AGILE MANIFESTO The vital value of agile development is that it should deliver value faster, ensure quality and certainty, and offer greater aptitude to respond to changes that correspond to market expectations. At a time when industries were growing rapidly and market expectations were changing, software needs and expectations were also changing and becoming more demanding. Agile software development history dates back to when the Agile Manifesto was created and Agile came into existence. In early 2001, a group of 17 developers held the (now famous) two meetings -- the first in Oregon and the second in Snowbird, Utah -- to discuss issues and solutions to overcome existing software development methodologies that were making it difficult to respond quickly to change.  The group comprised of 17 individuals, including Kent Beck, Mike Beedle, Arie van Bennekum, Alistair Cockburn, Ward Cunningham, Martin Fowler, James Grenning, Jim Highsmith, Andrew Hunt, Ron Jeffries, Jon Kern, Brian Marick, Robert C. Martin, Steve Mellor, Ken Schwaber, Jeff Sutherland, and Dave Thomas. All scenarios led to propose a working session. The working session organized by Dave, Robert and Jim had two objectives. Each person in the meeting will present to the group his lightweight method approach to build any complex software. Discuss the flow of heavyweight methods and how to address the complexities arising in the project development life cycle.THE FOUR VALUES OF THE AGILE MANIFESTO The Agile Manifesto thus tabled has 4 foundational values and 12 supporting principles. These values and principles lead to the agile approach to software development.  Agile methodology applies 4 values in different ways and these values guide the development and delivery of high-quality, working software. The four Agile Manifesto 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 INDIVIDUALS AND INTERACTIONS OVER PROCESSES AND TOOLS The Agile Manifesto values people higher than processes or tools because it is the people who respond to business needs and drive the development process. If the process or the tools drive development, the team is less responsive to change and less likely to meet customer needs. In case of individuals, communication flows and happens when a need arises. In the case of process, communication is designed and requires specific content. WORKING SOFTWARE OVER COMPREHENSIVE DOCUMENTATION Historically, a mammoth amount of time was spent on documenting the product for development and delivery. Technical specifications, requirements, prospectus, test plans, documentation plans, and interface design were the documents that were created which required lots of time. This mammoth list caused long delays in development. Agile does not eliminate documentation, but provides all the information that is required for the developer to complete the work without getting bogged down in finer points. CUSTOMER COLLABORATION OVER CONTRACT NEGOTIATION  Customers are involved in all the agile phases of the project. There is total transparency. The Traditional methodologies have customers negotiate before the project starts and the project ends. This results in wastage of both time and resources. In the agile development process customers are kept in the loop and information is provided to all stakeholders by the product owner; this ensures that the final product meets all the requirements as per the expectations of the client. RESPOND TO CHANGE OVER FOLLOWING A PLAN Changes should be avoided in Traditional software development as they are considered to be expensive. The intention was to develop elaborate plans, with a well-defined set of features. Higher priority features are developed first and the rest follow. Delivering in the order as prioritized by the product owner will help the team work on itemized sprints. With Agile, the iteration means priorities can be shifted from iteration to iteration and new features can be added into the next iteration as required. Agile accepts changes as they are ways to improve a project/product. THE TWELVE AGILE MANIFESTO PRINCIPLES The Twelve Agile Manifesto Principles are the guiding principles that are included under the title “The Agile Movement”. Agile Manifesto architecture demonstrates the movement’s intent as described by Alistair Cockburn, one of the signatories to the Agile Manifesto, which is to bring development into alignment with business needs. The twelve principles of agile development include: CUSTOMER SATISFACTION THROUGH EARLY AND CONTINUOUS SOFTWARE DELIVERY: Customers will be happy when the software is delivered early for testing and feedback and when they are kept in the loop about the progress, the implementations, and product developers acknowledge the delivery value by fulfilling their top priority requirements first. A completed Iteration has an outcome, a working code to respond to the ever-changing user requirements. ACCOMMODATE CHANGES EVEN LATE IN DEVELOPMENT: Agile methodology stresses on responding to change instead of staying strictly aligned to an approved plan as was the case in the traditional methodology. It is a simplified version of handling changes with no formal documentation or approval. The changes are integrated for the customer’s competitive advantage because it takes care of the market changes in the business to bolster your advantage to emerging opportunities. DELIVERING WORKING SOFTWARE FREQUENTLY: Provide immediate value to the customers by delivering features that are done. The development teams are wholly responsible for completion of sprints. They ensure that each feature developed is tested, and matches the customer’s requirements before it is delivered. The project team needs to focus on the delivery of value to the customer within a fixed delivery timeframe. BUSINESS PEOPLE AND DEVELOPERS WORK TOGETHER DAILY : Agile accepts changes in software development. It is hence important to clarify requirements on a timely basis to always keep all the team members notified and up-to-date during the development of the software. SUPPORT, TRUST AND MOTIVATE TEAM: Agile depends on focused, trusted, and motivated individuals to complete projects as per requirements of the client. Development teams have all the power to select the work they are most interested in by self-organization with no interference from the external management. FACE-TO-FACE CONVERSATION WITH DEVELOPMENT TEAM: Feedback via face-to-face interaction or video conference with development teams in different geographical locations is always encouraged as it assists in easy and smooth transfer of information amongst the members. WORKING SOFTWARE IS THE PRIMARY MEASURE OF PROGRESS: The only way to measure success factors is by delivering a working product that satisfies the customer’s needs. Delivering functional software to the customer is the ultimate way by which progress can be measured. AGILE PROCESSES TO SUPPORT A CONSISTENT DEVELOPMENT PACE: Teams establish the velocity rate at which they can deliver working software, and they follow the same process with each release. Agile methodology aims to keep the work-life balance of development teams and never burden them with huge amount of work, thus keeping them happy and motivated.  ATTENTION TO TECHNICAL EXCELLENCE AND DESIGN: The right technical skills and good design ensures the team can maintain the pace, constantly improve the product, and sustain market changes. SIMPLICITY: Focus on things that are important to add value to the project and customers. Develop the product as required and get the job done correctly. SELF-ORGANIZING TEAM ENCOURAGES GOOD ARCHITECTURE, REQUIREMENTS AND DESIGNS: In Scrum methodology, the team has overall control and is responsible for completing each sprint. The team performs in the best possible way needed to carry out the task. There is no interference of the project manager or from the human resources department. REGULAR REFLECTIONS ON HOW TO BECOME MORE EFFECTIVE: Self-improvement, process improvement, enhancing skills, and techniques help team members work more efficiently. It is imperative for Scrum teams to work and focus as a cognitive unit.  Working out new plans, checking requirements and adapting to changes will help the Scrum team to work more efficiently. THE GREAT AGILE DEBATE Agile development is a method based on iterative and incremental development. The requirements and solutions evolve in short sprint iterations through collaboration within self-organizing, cross-functional teams. The idea of the Agile method is to create a working software, compliant to change, and incorporate Face to Face interactions and collaboration over processes, tools or plans. It’s based on the principle of incremental delivery of the business value as quickly as possible through iterative development of software. The Agile Manifesto is the basis of the Agile practices, processes and principles etc used today. AGILE STRENGTHS:  It breaks tasks into small increments to allow the project to adapt and change quickly with the markets or client’s needs A project is developed in short iterations, or short time frames lasting from one to four weeks.  At the end of each iteration the agile approach allows teams to demonstrate the progress of the project to stakeholders; this ends the risk of bugs. Moreover, changes and additions can easily be adapted in each increment; this closely meets the client’s expectations. THE AGILE INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX The Agile community is now the Agile Industrial Complex.  It is that web of agile institutions, Agile thought leaders and Agile consulting firms that implicitly collude to make normal the very harmful and disrespectful imposition of Agile practices on teams without consent.  According to Martin Fowler agile had become mainstream in 2016. It is no longer exotic or frowned upon on, as in the early days. Growing agile industrial complex scenario: Organizations have spun the simple agile methodologies into complex industrial processes. This complex agile industrial has ballooned up and further used only for commercialization purposes. The agile-industrial complex trains people provide shiny certificates and pushes those people into consulting or managing positions. Focus on methodology: Every organization today focuses on agile methodologies for creating different products. This has resulted in the implementation of agile methodologies in organizations without any technical excellence of able and experienced engineers.  Focus on projects instead of products: Instead of connecting development team with clients and focusing on quality, the deadline and finishing of the project is prized or is given more importance. IS THE MANIFESTO STILL RELEVANT? The Agile Manifesto has made a profound effect on software development, even reaching beyond into the wider world of business. There’s ample evidence that the Agile Manifesto remains relevant in software development even today. The Agile Manifesto established some core elements of the best modern software development practices, which are still industry standard.  Examples of its influence include: Scrum:  A framework for small teams based on Agile Unified Process: A simplified version of The Unified Process (UP), or Unified Software Development Process Dynamic Systems Development:  An approach to project management and solution delivery Agile Alliance - Guide to Agile Practices: A collaboration between the Agile Alliance and PMI The emphasis on fast shipping had a major influence on changing the way physical goods are delivered around the globe.  WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN? Agility means development with incremental approach, making small changes quickly, and learning from it through stakeholder feedback, making adjustments to our understanding of problems and repeating this many times. What to do: Find out and Plan the development incrementally within sprints. Initiate small steps towards your goal with quick deliveries. Adjust the understanding based on the feedback received. Lessons learnt should be implemented efficiently. Repeat all the steps. Below are a few simple steps that really describe what agile is all about.  Decide the goal to achieve. Perform small changes, test it, learn from it, adjust and repeat. Try to write code in agile way which is easy to change later. Implement small changes, get immediate feedback, initiate small iterations and make decisions that remove impediments for future changes as much as possible. Resolving problems using these basic agile principles, step by step at a time will ensure smooth transitions. The tools and methodologies will help to achieve agility. Avoid adding more processes.  Agile is a simple and fast way of learning and improving by taking small steps, one after the other. CONCLUSION Implementation of agile values to the project development process promotes communication both horizontally and vertically throughout the organization. It enhances innovation through high-performance multidisciplinary development teams and enhances business value by involving the client throughout the incremental delivery process. Improved communication, teamwork, collaboration, and organizational change improve the business value of products during the preliminary stages and throughout the project development lifecycle stages. Below are the concluding thoughts about Agile implementation Agile was born to simplify the lives of software developers, testers, and organizations. Transition from plan-based approach to Agile should result in the reduction of management overhead and lessen the burden of formalities from the creative development team. Be mindful of eliminating the right column of Agile Manifesto i.e., processes, tools, documentation, contract negotiation and the plan.  Agile methodology leads to avoiding misconceptions and helps in creating complex products. 

12 Principles Behind the Agile Manifesto

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12 Principles Behind the Agile Manifesto

Long before Agile came into existence, almost everything was done by the waterfall method. Its rigidity ensured that projects were easy to manage, but that also translated to more time tactually get a product deployed. So, it often happened that by the time the end product was ready to be deployed, the business requirements would have changed, thus making the product redundant. 

By the start of the millenniummarkets had become more volatile, requirements were changing rapidly, and customers wanted quick fixes and accommodation of their changing needs.  That’s when 17 engineers got together and decided to come up with a new approach to software development that would address these problems. They came up with principles and values that would guide iterative software development. This document came to be known as the Agile Manifesto.  

The authors of the Agile Manifesto came out with 4 values and 12 principles in order to help the professionals understand it easily and put it into practice. The manifesto created an impact and changed the future of project management. 

AGILE ESSENTIALS 

ESSENTIALS INTRODUCTION 

Agile Essentials is a set of resources intended to bring you up to speed on the concepts and principles of Agile. The Agile Essentials provide an overview of Agile values, principles, concepts, vocabulary, terms and roles to provide an understanding of the breadth of Agile and how it differs from traditional project management practices. Agile Essentials

AGILE 101:  

  1. Agile Development is a set of methods, principles and practices where solutions are integrated through the collaboration of self-organizing, cross-functional Development teams.  
  2. Agile methods, values and principles provide guidance on how to create and respond to change, deal with uncertainty and ultimately succeed in an uncertain and tumultuous environment. 

AGILE MANIFESTO 

  1. The Agile Manifesto is a brief document built on 4 values and 12 principles for agile software development.  
  2. It was the work of 17 software development practitioners and was published in February 2001 to address the increasing need for an alternative to heavyweight software development processes. 

AGILE GLOSSARY 

Agile teams have created their own agile terminology to manage all these principles and practices. The glossary consists of 50 Agile Terms. 

Reference: Check URL https://www.agilealliance.org/agile101/agile-glossary/ for the list of agile terminologies. 

THE 12 PRINCIPLES 

The Agile Manifesto drafts out 12 principles for agile development practices. These 12 principles highlight on continuous delivery of valuable software in sprints and attention to technical excellence. The continuous delivery will involve quick feedback from the customer which will help reduce changes at the last minute. 

THE SUBWAY MAP 

  1. The Agile subway map is a list of Agile practices grouped under different categories.  
  2. It helps to map out a specific practice that could help a team solve its problems 

The below picture depicts practices that are interconnected, while the colors at the bottom indicate each category. 

SUBWAY MAP

HISTORY OF THE AGILE MANIFESTO 

The vital value of agile development is that it should deliver value faster, ensure quality and certainty, and offer greater aptitude to respond to changes that correspond to market expectations. At a time when industries were growing rapidly and market expectations were changingsoftware needs and expectations were also changing and becoming more demanding. Agile software development history dates back to when the Agile Manifesto was created and Agile came into existence. 

In early 2001, a group of 17 developers held the (now famous) two meetings -- the first in Oregon and the second in Snowbird, Utah -- to discuss issues and solutions to overcome existing software development methodologies that were making it difficult to respond quickly to change The group comprised of 17 individuals, including Kent Beck, Mike BeedleArie van Bennekum, Alistair Cockburn, Ward Cunningham, Martin Fowler, James Grenning, Jim Highsmith, Andrew Hunt, Ron Jeffries, Jon Kern, Brian Marick, Robert C. Martin, Steve Mellor, Ken Schwaber, Jeff Sutherland, and Dave Thomas. 

All scenarios led to propose a working session. The working session organized by Dave, Robert and Jim had two objectives. 

  1. Each person in the meeting will present to the group his lightweight method approach to build any complex software. 
  2. Discuss the flow of heavyweight methods and how to address the complexities arising in the project development life cycle.

THE FOUR VALUES OF THE AGILE MANIFESTO 

The Agile Manifesto thus tabled has 4 foundational values and 12 supporting principles. These values and principles lead to the agile approach to software development.  Agile methodology applies 4 values in different ways and these values guide the development and delivery of high-quality, working software. 

The four Agile Manifesto values are as follows: 

  1. Individuals and interactions over processes and tools 
  2. Working software over comprehensive documentation 
  3. Customer collaboration over contract negotiation 
  4. Respond to change over following a plan 

Agile Values

INDIVIDUALS AND INTERACTIONS OVER PROCESSES AND TOOLS 

The Agile Manifesto values people higher than processes or tools because it is the people who respond to business needs and drive the development process. If the process or the tools drive development, the team is less responsive to change and less likely to meet customer needs. In case of individuals, communication flows and happens when a need arises. In the case of process, communication is designed and requires specific content. Agile Values

WORKING SOFTWARE OVER COMPREHENSIVE DOCUMENTATION 

Historically, mammoth amount of time was spent on documenting the product for development and delivery. Technical specifications, requirements, prospectus, test plans, documentation plans, and interface design were the documents that were created which required lots of time. This mammoth list caused long delays in development. Agile does not eliminate documentation, but provides all the information that is required for the developer to complete the work without getting bogged down in finer points. 

Agile Values

CUSTOMER COLLABORATION OVER CONTRACT NEGOTIATION  

Customers are involved in all the agile phases of the project. There is total transparency. The Traditional methodologies have customers negotiate before the project starts and the project ends. This results in wastage of both time and resources. In the agile development process customers are kept in the loop and information is provided to all stakeholders by the product ownerthis ensures that the final product meets all the requirements as per the expectations of the client. Agile Values

RESPOND TO CHANGE OVER FOLLOWING A PLAN 

Changes should be avoided in Traditional software development as they are considered to be expensive. The intention was to develop elaborate plans, with a well-defined set of features. Higher priority features are developed first and the rest follow. Delivering in the order as prioritized by the product owner will help the team work on itemized sprints. 

With Agile, the iteration means priorities can be shifted from iteration to iteration and new features can be added into the next iteration as required. Agile accepts changes as they are ways to improve a project/product. agile Values

THE TWELVE AGILE MANIFESTO PRINCIPLES 

The Twelve Agile Manifesto Principles are the guiding principles that are included under the title The Agile MovementAgile Manifesto architecture demonstrates the movement’s intent as described by Alistair Cockburn, one of the signatories to the Agile Manifesto, which is to bring development into alignment with business needs. 

The twelve principles of agile development include: 

Agile 12 principles

  • CUSTOMER SATISFACTION THROUGH EARLY AND CONTINUOUS SOFTWARE DELIVERY: 

Customers will be happy when the software is delivered early for testing and feedback and when they are kept in the loop about the progress, the implementations, and product developers acknowledge the delivery value by fulfilling their top priority requirements first. A completed Iteration has an outcome, a working code to respond to the ever-changing user requirements. 

  • ACCOMMODATE CHANGES EVEN LATE IN DEVELOPMENT: 

Agile methodology stresses on responding to change instead of staying strictly aligned to an approved plan as was the case in the traditional methodology. It is a simplified version of handling changes with no formal documentation or approval. The changes are integrated for the customer’s competitive advantage because it takes care of the market changes in the business to bolster your advantage to emerging opportunities. 

  • DELIVERING WORKING SOFTWARE FREQUENTLY: 

Provide immediate value to the customers by delivering features that are done. The development teams are wholly responsible for completion of sprints. They ensure that each feature developed is tested, and matches the customer’s requirements before it is delivered. The project team needs to focus on the delivery of value to the customer within a fixed delivery timeframe. 

  • BUSINESS PEOPLE AND DEVELOPERS WORK TOGETHER DAILY : 

Agile accepts changes in software development. It is hence important to clarify requirements on a timely basis to always keep all the team members notified and up-to-date during the development of the software. 

  • SUPPORT, TRUST AND MOTIVATE TEAM: 

Agile depends on focused, trusted, and motivated individuals to complete projects as per requirements of the client. Development teams have all the power to select the work they are most interested in by self-organization with no interference from the external management. 

  • FACE-TO-FACE CONVERSATION WITH DEVELOPMENT TEAM: 

Feedback via face-to-face interaction or video conference with development teams in different geographical locations is always encouraged as it assists in easy and smooth transfer of information amongst the members. 

  • WORKING SOFTWARE IS THE PRIMARY MEASURE OF PROGRESS: 

The only way to measure success factors is by delivering a working product that satisfies the customer’s needsDelivering functional software to the customer is the ultimate way by which progress can be measured. 

  • AGILE PROCESSES TO SUPPORT A CONSISTENT DEVELOPMENT PACE: 

Teams establish the velocity rate at which they can deliver working software, and they follow the same process with each release. Agile methodology aims to keep the work-life balance of development teams and never burden them with huge amount of work, thus keeping them happy and motivated.  

  • ATTENTION TO TECHNICAL EXCELLENCE AND DESIGN: 

The right technical skills and good design ensures the team can maintain the pace, constantly improve the product, and sustain market changes. 

  • SIMPLICITY: 

Focus on things that are important to add value to the project and customers. Develop the product as required and get the job done correctly. 

  • SELF-ORGANIZING TEAM ENCOURAGES GOOD ARCHITECTURE, REQUIREMENTS AND DESIGNS: 

In Scrum methodology, the team has overall control and is responsible for completing each sprint. The team performs in the best possible way needed to carry out the task. There is no interference of the project manager or from the human resources department. 

  • REGULAR REFLECTIONS ON HOW TO BECOME MORE EFFECTIVE: 

Self-improvement, process improvement, enhancing skills, and techniques help team members work more efficiently. It is imperative for Scrum teams to work and focus as a cognitive unit.  Working out new plans, checking requirements and adapting to changes will help the Scrum team to work more efficiently. 

THE GREAT AGILE DEBATE 

Agile development is a method based on iterative and incremental development. The requirements and solutions evolve in short sprint iterations through collaboration within self-organizing, cross-functional teams. The idea of the Agile method is to create a working software, compliant to change, and incorporate Face to Face interactions and collaboration over processes, tools or plans. It’s based on the principle of incremental delivery of the business value as quickly as possible through iterative development of software. The Agile Manifesto is the basis of the Agile practices, processes and principles etc used today. 

AGILE STRENGTHS:  

  1. It breaks tasks into small increments to allow the project to adapt and change quickly with the markets or client’s needs 
  2. A project is developed in short iterations, or short time frames lasting from one to four weeks.  
  3. At the end of each iteration the agile approach allows teams to demonstrate the progress of the project to stakeholders; this ends the risk of bugs. 
  4. Moreover, changes and additions can easily be adapted in each increment; this closely meets the client’s expectations. 

THE AGILE INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX 

The Agile community is now the Agile Industrial Complex.  It is that web of agile institutions, Agile thought leaders and Agile consulting firms that implicitly collude to make normal the very harmful and disrespectful imposition of Agile practices on teams without consent.  

According to Martin Fowler agile had become mainstream in 2016. It is no longer exotic or frowned upon on, as in the early days. 

  1. Growing agile industrial complex scenario: Organizations have spun the simple agile methodologies into complex industrial processes. This complex agile industrial has ballooned up and further used only for commercialization purposes. The agile-industrial complex trains people provide shiny certificates and pushes those people into consulting or managing positions. 
  2. Focus on methodology: Every organization today focuses on agile methodologies for creating different products. This has resulted in the implementation of agile methodologies in organizations without any technical excellence of able and experienced engineers.  
  3. Focus on projects instead of products: Instead of connecting development team with clients and focusing on quality, the deadline and finishing of the project is prized or is given more importance. 

IS THE MANIFESTO STILL RELEVANT? 

The Agile Manifesto has made a profound effect on software development, even reaching beyond into the wider world of business. 

There’s ample evidence that the Agile Manifesto remains relevant in software development even today. The Agile Manifesto established some core elements of the best modern software development practices, which are still industry standard.  

Examples of its influence include: 

  1. Scrum:  A framework for small teams based on Agile 
  2. Unified Process: A simplified version of The Unified Process (UP), or Unified Software Development Process 
  3. Dynamic Systems Development:  An approach to project management and solution delivery 
  4. Agile Alliance - Guide to Agile Practices: A collaboration between the Agile Alliance and PMI 
  5. The emphasis on fast shipping had a major influence on changing the way physical goods are delivered around the globe.  

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN? 

Agility means development with incremental approach, making small changes quickly, and learning from it through stakeholder feedback, making adjustments to our understanding of problems and repeating this many times. 

What to do: 

  1. Find out and Plan the development incrementally within sprints. 
  2. Initiate small steps towards your goal with quick deliveries. 
  3. Adjust the understanding based on the feedback received. Lessons learnt should be implemented efficiently. 
  4. Repeat all the steps. 

Below are a few simple steps that really describe what agile is all about.  

  1. Decide the goal to achieve. Perform small changes, test it, learn from it, adjust and repeat. Try to write code in agile way which is easy to change later. 
  2. Implement small changes, get immediate feedback, initiate small iterations and make decisions that remove impediments for future changes as much as possible. 
  3. Resolving problems using these basic agile principles, step by step at a time will ensure smooth transitions. 
  4. The tools and methodologies will help to achieve agility. Avoid adding more processes 

Agile is a simple and fast way of learning and improving by taking small steps, one after the other. 

CONCLUSION 

Implementation of agile values to the project development process promotes communication both horizontally and vertically throughout the organization. It enhances innovation through high-performance multidisciplinary development teams and enhances business value by involving the client throughout the incremental delivery process. 

Improved communication, teamwork, collaboration, and organizational change improve the business value of products during the preliminary stages and throughout the project development lifecycle stages. 

Below are the concluding thoughts about Agile implementation 

  • Agile was born to simplify the lives of software developers, testers, and organizations. 
  • Transition from plan-based approach to Agile should result in the reduction of management overhead and lessen the burden of formalities from the creative development team. 
  • Be mindful of eliminating the right column of Agile Manifesto i.e., processes, tools, documentation, contract negotiation and the plan.  
  • Agile methodology leads to avoiding misconceptions and helps in creating complex products. 
Rajesh

Rajesh Bhagia

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Rajesh Bhagia is experienced campaigner in Lamp technologies and has 10 years of experience in Project Management. He has worked in Multinational companies and has handled small to very complex projects single-handedly. He started his career as Junior Programmer and has evolved in different positions including Project Manager of Projects in E-commerce Portals. Currently, he is handling one of the largest project in E-commerce Domain in MNC company which deals in nearly 9.5 million SKU's.

In his role as Project Manager at MNC company, Rajesh fosters an environment of teamwork and ensures that strategy is clearly defined while overseeing performance and maintaining morale. His strong communication and client service skills enhance his process-driven management philosophy.

Rajesh is a certified Zend Professional and has developed a flair for implementing PMP Knowledge Areas in daily work schedules. He has well understood the importance of these process and considers that using the knowledge Areas efficiently and correctly can turn projects to success. He also writes articles/blogs on Technology and Management

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Top-paying Scrum Master Certifications to Consider in 2020

A series of courses and qualifying Examinations can get you a Scrum Master’s Certification. Professionals in the field of software development and project management are enhancing their skills, knowledge and aptitude in Scrum and Agile methodology for managing complex projects. The role most sought after is that of the Scrum Master, which shoots your monthly pay package into six figures.    Scrum Certification exams and courses that professionals undertake validate their knowledge, skills and aptitude in Scrum, as well as giving them expertise in the Agile methodology and framework for managing complex projects.Numerous accreditation bodies exist around the globe which provide Scrum training and certification programs, most of which are widely accepted and recognized.  This article discusses a few top Scrum Training and Certification options which are available, starting right from the basics. Read along to know more!A few words about the Agile Methodology. Fast catching up with organizations around the world, Agile provides a way of doing projects (mostly for Software Development) that differs from traditional project management in that it empowers the solution development teams to respond quickly to unpredictability through iterative and incremental work cadences called Sprints.There are many Agile Methodologies in use today. Scrum, Kanban, Crystal, Lean, ASD, XP, FDD and DSDM fall under the umbrella of Agile. All of them share the same principles and philosophy but the recipe of implementation is different for each one of them.   Scrum is the most popular amongst them, being lightweight with broad applicability for managing and controlling iterative and incremental projects of all types. It is simple to understand yet difficult to master. Scrum is a process framework which can be used to manage complex product development. Under its framework one can continuously improve the efficacy of product management. As per the Scrum Guide, Scrum can be defined as, “A framework within which people can address complex adaptive problems, while productively and creatively delivering products of the highest possible value.” The Scrum framework comprises of Scrum Teams and their Roles, Events, and Artifacts. The Scrum Theory is founded on empiricism which asserts that knowledge comes from experience and making decisions based on what is known. That is why Scrum Methodology believes in iterations and an incremental approach to solving a problem.The three pillars that hold empiricism are Transparency, Inspection and Adaptation.Development Team: The Development team is a group of self-organized, cross-functional people, who work together to create products as well as test the incremental releases of the products at the end of each sprint. Scrum Master: The Scrum Master serves as a facilitator for team members. It is the Scrum Master’s responsibility to ensure that the Team adheres to the Scrum practices and rules.  A Scrum Master acts as a coach to the development team, product owner and stakeholders, and works towards removing the impediments that the team faces. Product Owner: A Product Owner is responsible for conveying the vision of the project to the team members who are building it. They are accountable for managing the product backlog and testing the incremental work that is completed. The Scrum Team comprises of a Product Owner, the Solution Development Team and a Scrum Master. They deliver the products iteratively and incrementally; thereby maximizing opportunities for feedback and deliveries of ‘Done’ product. We shall focus on the role of a Scrum Master because that is our area of interest. The Scrum MasterScrum Master is a servant leader for the Scrum Team. They provide service to the product Owner, SDT and to the Organization.Scrum Masters interact with all and are responsible for:Ensuring that Scrum is understood and enacted by Scrum Team.Maximizing the value created by the team.Coaching the Development Team.Helping the Development Team create high-value products.Removing all impediments in the way of SDT’s progress.Causing change that increases the productivity of Scrum Team.Leading and coaching the organization in several ways to plan the implementation of Scrum.Having seen the duties of a Scrum Master it is now pertinent to discuss the type of Scrum certifications available in the market.Types of Scrum CertificationsThere are a number of Scrum Certifications available all over the globe but the top seven amongst them along with the kind of salary that one is likely to get are tabulated below:-Top Scrum Certifications1. Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM®):CSM is among the most popular and pursued Scrum Master Certifications. With the help of this certification process, you can learn about the Scrum framework and get a better understanding of team events, roles and artifacts.Accreditation body: Scrum Alliance®Prerequisites: The CSM® course can be taken by any professional who wants to deepen their Scrum understanding. CSM® certification is usually taken up by professionals working in IT and Non-IT industries. Therefore, it is recommended that one becomes familiar with the basics of Scrum to understand the overall framework perfectly in the shortest possible time.Who can take up this certification?The following individuals can take this course:Anyone who would like to build a career as a Scrum MasterTeams transitioning to ScrumManagers of Scrum teamsScrum team members such as product owners and developersIf you are already working as a Scrum Master, then taking this course will help you to strengthen your Scrum knowledge and skills.Certification Procedure: You will have to attend a training of two days duration, after which you will be required to take an online test. The two-day training is conducted by a Certified Scrum Trainer who has been authorized by the Scrum Alliance.The CSM certification has to be renewed every two years by paying a fee of $100 without any additional examination or training.Job opportunities after Scrum Master Certification:  After attaining your Scrum Master Certification, you can take on the role of a Scrum Master. Scrum Masters can opt to become mentors, coaches, managers, product owners or advance as a senior level Scrum Master in more challenging situations.  Cost: Depending on factors like location and trainer, the cost of Scrum Master Certification is approximately between $700 to $1500. The price bracket of the CSM certification varies across the globe. Click here to know more.Average Salary: The average salary of a Certified Scrum Master ranges between $100,00 to $130,000 across the United States.CertificationScrum Master CertificationAccreditation BodyScrum AlliancePrerequisitesBasics of Scrum to understand the overall framework perfectly in less time.Exam InformationAnswer a set of 50 within an hour; out of which 37 should be answered correctly to pass.Career PathScrum Master, Mentor, Coach, Manager, Product Owner.Average Salary$100,00 to $130,000Training Cost$1000Cost of Certification$700 to $1500.Average Salary$100,00 to $130,000Renewal Cost$1002. Advanced CSM (A-CSM℠):If you are a Certified ScrumMaster then your next natural progression in the world of Scrum certificates would be the Advanced Certified ScrumMaster certification. This course will help you get a deeper insight of Scrum along with its practical usage and multiple ways to coach the Product owner and the team members.Accreditation Body: Scrum AlliancePrerequisites: As a Certified ScrumMaster, you should have a minimum of twelve months of working experience to become an Advanced CSM. You should also have a basic understanding of Scrum along with its usage and implementation.Who can take up this certification?The following individuals can take this course:Anyone who would like to build a career as a Scrum Master after completing the CSM courseScrum Team managersTeams which are transitioning to ScrumScrum team members such as product owners and developersAnyone who wishes to distinguish himself in the global market.Certification Procedure: You will have to attend an education offering for certified A-CSM to learn techniques and skills which go beyond the basics of Scrum, like interaction, coaching, facilitation and team dynamics. Also, you will be required to have an experience of 12 months as a working Scrum Master in the last five years.The certification has to be renewed every two years by paying a fee of $175 without any additional examination or training.Job opportunities after Advanced Scrum Master Certification:Work towards becoming a more professional practitioner of Scrum, learn how to untap the underlying potential of your team. Work as a Scrum Master, coach, mentor or a Product Owner.Cost: Depending on different factors like location and trainer, the cost of Advanced Certified ScrumMaster Certification ranges approximately between $1295 to $1495.Average Salary: The average salary of an Advance Certified ScrumMaster ranges between $100,000 to $130,000 across the United States.CertificationAdvanced Scrum Master CertificationAccreditation BodyScrum AlliancePrerequisitesBasics of Scrum to understand the overall framework perfectly in less time.Twelve months of working experience as a Scrum Master in the last five years.Career PathScrum Master, Mentor, Coach, Manager, Product Owner.Average Salary$100,00 to $130,000Cost of Certification$1295 to $1495Renewal Cost$1753. Certified Scrum Professional (CSP-SM)This course focuses on topics like lean concepts, system thinking, coaching, emotional intelligence, facilitation, deeper understanding of the Scrum Framework and scaling Scrum to big organizations.Accreditation Body: Scrum AlliancePrerequisites:An active A-CSM certification24 months of experience as a Scrum Master in the last five yearsAttend a CSP-SM workshop which is conducted by the Scrum Alliance approved ‘Path to CSP Educator’.Who can take up this certification?The following individuals can take this course:Scrum team members such as developersTeams transitioning to ScrumManagers of Scrum teamsJob opportunities after Certified Scrum Professional (CSP-SM) Certification: Work towards becoming a more professional practitioner of Scrum for big organizations, and learn how to tap the underlying potential of different teams. Work as a Scrum Master, coach, mentor or a Product Owner. Get various opportunities to attend exclusive CSP events along with many other leaders in Scrum and AgileCost: Depending on various factors, the cost of the certification costs around $1295.Average Salary: The average salary of a Certified Scrum Professional (CSP-SM) is calculated to be approximately $115,000 across the United States.CertificationCertified Scrum Professional (CSP-SM)Accreditation BodyScrum AlliancePrerequisitesBasics of Scrum to understand the overall framework perfectly in less time.An active ACSM certification24 months of working experience as a Scrum Master in the last five years.Career PathScrum Master, Mentor, Coach, Manager, Product Owner for big organisations.Average Salary$115,000Cost of Certification$1295Renewal Cost$2504. Professional Scrum Master (PSM)Professional Scrum Master Training (PSM), is a two-day course which covers the theory and principles of the Scrum Framework and the roles of a Scrum Master. This course combines team-based exercises with instructions in order to teach the heart of the Scrum and Agile movement.Accreditation Body: Scrum.orgPrerequisites: The PSM course can be taken by any professional who wants to deepen their Scrum understanding. It is recommended to familiarize with the basics of Scrum to understand the overall framework perfectly in a shorter course of time.Who can take up this certification?This course is apt for professionals who are involved in product delivery using the Scrum Framework. It is particularly beneficial for Scrum Masters, Team members and managers, that is, professionals who are accountable for getting the most out of Scrum..Job opportunities after Professional Scrum Master Training (PSM): After being a certified Professional Scrum Master, the candidate can apply for various fields, to name a few:Scrum MasterAssociate Scrum MasterProduct OwnerCoachMentorCost: Starts from  $150.Average Salary: $100,500CertificationProfessional Scrum Master Training (PSM)Accreditation BodyScrum.orgPrerequisitesBasics of Scrum to understand the overall framework perfectly in less time.Exam InformationAnswer a set of 80 questions within an hour.Passing score: 80 per cent.Career PathScrum Master, Mentor, Coach, Manager, Product Owner for big organisations.Average Salary$100,500Cost of Certification$1505. SAFe 4.0 Scrum Master (SSM)It is a two-day course, during which the attendees gain a proper understanding of the roles of a Scrum Master in the context of SAFe enterprise while at the same time, prepare them to plan and execute the Program Increment(PI) successfully. PI is an enabler of alignment for all the levels of a SAFe organisation, which includes the facilitation of Scrum in the enterprise and executing the Iteration Planning.This course will validate that you can now perform the role of a Scrum Master in a SAFe environment, which will help you increase your value to organisations and teams which are implementing SAFe.Accreditation Body: Scaled Agile, Inc.Prerequisites: Regardless of experience, this course can be attended by anyone. But it is recommended to have the following prerequisites for the ones who intend to take the SAFe® Scrum Master (SSM) certification exam:They should be familiar with Agile concepts and practices.Basic knowledge and awareness of Scrum, eXtreme Programming (XP) and Kanban.Proper working knowledge of hardware as well as software development processes.Who can take up this certification?This course can be taken up by Scrum Master who are new to this and need to perform the role. While this course can also be taken up by the existing Scrum Masters who wish to know about their role as a Scrum Master in a SAFe environment.Other than them, Team leads who wish to understand the roles of Scrum Master can also take up this course.Job opportunities after SAFe 4.0 Scrum Master (SSM): Based on the candidates' experience, the candidate can apply for various roles. To name a few:Scrum MasterSenior Scrum MasterAgile Scrum MasterAgile Project ManagerAgile Project DirectorAgile CoachProduct OwnerCost: The first attempt of the exam is included in the course registration fee, provided the exam is taken within 30 days after completing the course. After that, each retake costs $50.Average Salary: $114,546CertificationSAFe 4.0 Scrum Master (SSM)Accreditation BodyScaled AgilePrerequisitesFamiliarity with Agile concepts and practices.Basic knowledge and awareness of Scrum, eXtreme Programming (XP) and Kanban.Proper working knowledge of hardware as well as software development processes.Exam InformationAnswer a set of 45 questions within a duration of 90 minutes; out of which 33 should be answered correctly.Career PathScrum MasterSenior Scrum MasterAgile Scrum MasterAgile Project ManagerAgile Project DirectorAgile CoachProduct OwnerAverage Salary$114,546Cost of CertificationThe first attempt of the exam is included in the course registration fee, provided the exam is taken within 30 days after completing the course. After that, each retake costs $50.Renewal Cost$100; Every one year from the date of certification earned.6. Scrum Master Certified (SMC)The professionals who are certified as Scrum Master Certified (SMC) ensure that the Scrum team is working in an environment which helps them in completing their project successfully. The Scrum Master has the responsibility to ensure that the Scrum process is being followed. He guides the Scrum practices to everyone who is involved in the project.Accreditation Body: SCRUMstudyPrerequisites: There are no particular prerequisites for this certification, but a SDC™certified professional is more preferred.Who can take up this certification?This course is apt for professionals who are involved in product delivery using the Scrum Framework. It is particularly most beneficial for Scrum Master, Team members and managers, that is, those people who are accountable for getting the most out of Scrum.Job opportunities after Scrum Master Certified (SMC): After completion of the course, you can opt for the following job opportunities:Scrum MasterAssociate Scrum MasterSenior Scrum MasterCoach Scrum MasterProduct Owner/ManagerCost: $450 USDAverage Salary: The average salary for a Scrum Master Certified professional ranges between $100,00 to $130,00 USD.CertificationScrum Master Certified (SMC)Accreditation BodySCRUMstudyPrerequisitesThere are no particular prerequisites for this certification, but a SDC™certified professional is more preferred.Exam InformationAnswer a set of 100 questions within a duration of two hours.Career PathScrum MasterAssociate Scrum MasterSenior Scrum MasterCoach Scrum MasterProduct Owner/ManagerAverage Salary$100,00 to $130,00 USDCost of Certification$450 USDRenewal CostEarn 40 recertification credits every three years.7. Agile Scrum Master (ASM)The Agile Scrum Master certification combines scrum practices and agile methodologies with practical assignments. It tests the ability of the professional that is required to facilitate, enable and coach a cross-functional Scrum Team as a Scrum Master.Accreditation Body: Exin.Prerequisites: You are required to have successfully completed an EXIN Accredited Agile Scrum Master Training, which is mandatory.Who can take up this certification?This certification aims the managerial professionals who are in the fields of IT project management, business management, software development, and IT service management.Job opportunities after Agile Scrum Master (ASM): The professional can look forward to the following job opportunities after completing the Agile Scrum Master course:Scrum MasterAgile CoachAssociate Scrum MasterProgram ManagerCost: $260 USDAverage Salary: The average salary of an Agile Scrum Master ranges between $100,00 to $130,000 across the United States.CertificationAgile Scrum Master (ASM)Accreditation BodyEXINPrerequisitesThe candidate is required to have successfully completed an EXIN Accredited Agile Scrum Master Training, which is mandatory.Exam InformationAnswer a set of 40 questions within a duration of 90 minutes; Pass mark being 65%.Career PathScrum MasterAgile CoachAssociate Scrum MasterProgram ManagerAverage Salary$100,00 to $130,00 USDCost of Certification$260 USDSCRUM CERTIFICATIONS AND THEIR FEATURES IN TABULAR FORMAT FOR BETTER UNDERSTANDINGType of Cert /FeaturesAccreditation BodyCost of CoursePre- RequisitesAverage SalaryCertified Scrum Master (CSM) Scrum AllianceApprox $700 to $1500.Basics of Scrum$100,00 to $130,000 across  USAdvanced Scrum Master CertificationScrum Alliance$1295 to $1495.Basics of ScrumTwelve months of work experience as a Scrum Master in the last five years$100,00 to $130,000Certified Scrum Professional-Scrum Master (CSP-SM)Scrum AllianceAround $1295An active A-CSM certification 24 months of experience as a Scrum Master in the last five years. Attend a CSP-SM   workshop conducted Scrum Alliance  Approx $115000 across USProfessional Scrum Master (PSM)Scrum.org$150Basics of Scrum$100,500SAFe 5.0 Scrum Master (SSM)Scaled Agile, IncThe first attempt of the exam is included in the course registration fee, provided the exam is taken within 30 days after completing the course. After that, each retake costs $50Familiarity with Agile concepts and practices. Basic knowledge and awareness of Scrum, eXtreme Programming (XP) and Kanban. Working knowledge of hardware as well as software development processes$114,546Scrum Master Certified (SMC)Scrum Study$450There are no particular prerequisites for this certification, but a SDC ® certified professional is preferred$100,00 to 130,000Agile Scrum Master (ASM)EXIN$260Should have mandatorily completed an EXIN Accredited Agile Scrum Master Training.$100,00 to 130,000Notes:-  For courses CSM, A-CSM, CSP-SM and PSM duration of the course is 2 days and renewal every 2 years at cost $100 to $175. You will also be required to earn SEUs to maintain your Scrum Alliance certifications.For SAFe 5.0 Scrum Master (SSM) renewal every year is @ $100For SMC Course , retake SMC® Recertification exam every 3 years or earn any SCRUMstudy™ CertificationHere is a quick list of what benefits can be attained by a Scrum Certification.Get in-depth knowledge about Scrum: Having a Scrum certification will help you attain a solid base of Scrum knowledge as well as train you with the required skills to utilize it in an effective manner.Learn to think the Scrum way: It is necessary to develop an Agile mindset to work with Scrum effectively. This will help you to have better team collaboration, make your projects more successful, and will lead to a decrease in disagreements.Scrum Artifacts: Scrum concepts like product backlog, sprint backlog, burndown, etc. act as a pillar in a Scrum project, which help organizations to deliver the project in iterations.Become more relevant and marketable: A Scrum certification will provide you with in-depth practical knowledge, which will help you become more marketable and relevant in your field or in an industry which engages with Agile values. This certification will act as a validation that you have knowledge of Agile concepts and that you have an Agile mindset.Scrum Certification benefits your organization: Scrum Certification trains you to use the latest tools, technologies as well as resources, which leads to business processes and a better-organized team which costs less time and money.Influence your organization to adopt Agile methodology: Adopting Agile methodologies will help your organization as it will ensure better yields, lesser time to market, timely insights, improved productivity, better ROI, sellable products after each sprint and much more.Better interaction with your peers: Having a Scrum certification will help you to build a better understanding of Scrum while working with your colleagues. It helps to promote productivity while at the same time it helps you communicate and collaborate with your peers in a better manner.Prove and put Scrum knowledge into practice: The process to earn Scrum Certification requires you to go through a rigorous Agile Scrum training, which helps you get a better job and career opportunities.Join the community of Scrum experts: With a Scrum Certification, you can connect with various professionals. This ensures continuous improvements that you will learn and achieve with an Agile approach.Enhance sale: Make your Scrum team work in a more flexible manner, ensure fast delivery and quick releases. Being Scrum Certified enables you to make a difference to your organization.What is Scrum?Scrum is a lightweight framework with the help of which people can address complex problems to deliver projects of the highest possible value. It is primarily used for software development processes by using iterative and incremental practices to work towards a well-defined goal.It is a subset of Agile as it follows the Agile Manifesto, which expresses a set of values and principles to help make decisions on how to develop higher-quality software in a quicker and better manner. Organisations have benefitted by Agile Scrum process as:It increases the productivity of the team.It increases the quality of deliverable products.Helps in getting a better grip of the project schedule.It provides a better estimate while less time is spent on creating themIt keeps the stakeholders and customers satisfied.Scrum Events: The Scrum Events consist of five components, namely Sprint, Sprint Planning, Daily Stand-up, Sprint Review, Retrospective.Sprint: A Sprint is a time-boxed period within which a Scrum Team completes a specific task or tasks so that they can be ready for a review. A Sprint can be as short as one week.Sprint Planning: During a Sprint Planning meeting, the tasks which must be accomplished during a Sprint are decided upon. It discusses the product backlogs which are needed to be delivered and how it can be achieved.Daily Stand-up: It is a short meeting of 15-minutes duration which is conducted on an everyday basis. The main objective behind this short meeting is to make sure that the whole team is on the same page and is aligned to the sprint goal. The tasks covered in the previous 24 hours are discussed and the tasks to be carried out during the next 24 hours are planned out.Sprint Review: A Sprint Review is conducted after the Sprint ends. The increment completed and the tasks that have not been completed are discussed during the Sprint Review.Sprint Retrospective: During a Sprint Retrospective, the whole team comes together and reflects on the Sprint process, that is, discusses what tasks were completed and what problems they faced. The main motive behind this is continuous improvement.According to The 13th Annual State of Agile Report, the top 5 Agile Techniques are:  Daily standup Sprint/Iteration Planning Retrospectives Sprint/Iteration Review Short Iterations Scrum Artifacts Scrum Artifacts include product backlog, sprint backlog and product increment. Product Backlog:  It is a document which consists of an ordered list of all the product requirements. The Product Owner looks after the Product Backlog, and prioritizes them as per the requirement. Sprint Backlog: The Sprint Backlog is a specific list of all the items from the Product Backlog which are to be worked on in a sprint. Product Increment: A product increment is the sum of all the completed product backlogs since the software release. How are Scrum and Agile related  Scrum and Agile are related, but distinctly. Agile is a methodology that describes a set of guiding principles to build software through iterative development, which is described in the Agile Manifesto. Scrum follows a set of rules while practicing agile software development. Even though these two models look similar and function in a similar manner, there are differences as well. Scrum aims for a product team with firm rules and guidelines. It is an incremental and iterative development methodology of Agile, that is, it can be said that it is an agile framework for developing software. Scrum does not state any detailed description or template of the process of software development, unlike many other software development methodologies. It states the desired outcome that is required, leaving it on the agile scrum team to determine the solutions to the problems that they are facing or will come across. It may be used for software maintenance projects or software development. Scrum increases the flexibility and speed of the process of product development. Organizations which have switched to agile processes like Scrum have experienced many benefits like higher stakeholder satisfaction, higher productivity, etc.  Scrum Certifying Accreditation Bodies The following is a list of the foremost Scrum Certifying Bodies. Scrum Alliance Scrum.org Scaled Agile, Inc APM Group International SCRUMstudy 1. Scrum Alliance:  Scrum Alliance was founded in the year 2011. Being a globally renowned organization, it supports Scrum adoption, research and networking, focusing on organizational transformations. It is the largest, most established organization for Agile membership and certifications that has trained more than 750,000 professionals worldwide. 2. Scrum.org: Scrum.org provides training, assessments and certifications based on the principles of Scrum and Agile manifesto in order to improve software delivery. They empower people and organizations all around the world to achieve agility through Scrum. The global organization was founded in the year 2009 by Ken Schwaber. 3. Scaled Agile, Inc. (SAI):  Scaled Agile, Inc. (SAI) is the leading provider of SAFe® courses. Being a knowledge base for enterprises to adopt Agile, it uplifts the career growth of an individual as it offers various role-based courses and certifications. 4. SCRUM study:  SCRUMstudy is a globally acknowledged accreditation body for Agile and Scrum certifications. It has a large global partner network of ATPs (Authorized Training Providers) delivering training and certifications. The SBOK™ Guide has been authored by the SCRUMstudy, which is a comprehensive guide to deliver projects successfully using Scrum. 5. EXIN:  EXIN offers professionals certifications in a wide range of exams in the field of IT qualifications. It innovates in a continuous manner by developing exams in-house. The developed exams are both independent and offered through partners, which is done in order to enhance EXIN’s portfolio as well as broaden the scope of the exams that are offered. Summary: Various accreditation bodies provide various Scrum Certifications around the globe. The main objective behind all the Scrum Certifications is the making of a knowledgeable and reliable Scrum Master who in turn will help his/her organization achieve business goals by following the procedures of the Scrum framework. Choose the best certification course according to your requirements and make the best out of it! Happy Scrumming. 
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Top-paying Scrum Master Certifications to Consider...

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What is Program Increment Planning and its importance in SAFe®?

PI Planning or Program Increment Planning can be said to be the heartbeat of the Agile Release Train(ART). Even more precisely, it sets the tracks for the train to ensure that all rail cars(scrum teams that are a part of ART) travel in the same direction. It is similar to Iteration planning in crum. It is an extension of Iteration planning under a bigger umbrella i.e ART.  PI Planning sessions are regularly scheduled activities held during the year where various teams within the same Agile Release Train (ART) collaborate to agree with a common vision, discuss functionality, prepare the roadmap and define cross-team dependencies. It's a fixed timebox for planning , designing, and validating a complete system, showing value, and having quick feedback.  When you first follow SAFe, chances are, it will start with PI Planning. This is because it forms the basis for the Scaled Agile FrameworkTM. The PI Planning ceremony is the foundation of your transformation and the driver for SAFe. We will take a deep dive into PI planning in detail in this article and understand its importance in SAFe.What is SAFe®?Before understanding SAFe ,let’s first understand what Scrum is. Scrum is an iterative product creation approach focusing on a regular production cadence. It relies on cross-functional teams, a set of ceremonies, and certain specific supporting roles to help drive these deliveries.SAFe is an extension of Scrum at the larger organizational level. SAFe or the Scaled Agile FrameworkTM is a set of principles and strategies designed to help deliver resilience to all departments and levels of the organization. The system is designed to enhance visibility, coordination and cooperation which will result in improved efficiency , better outcomes and faster delivery.Image SourceIntroduction to Program Increment :PI Planning is particularly useful for agile companies of large scale. Let 's look at some figures, to understand the effect. Some bigger companies , for example, may have 300-400 teams and 5,000 developers. These teams may never have spoken to each other before, in the old way of working until a crucial issue forced them to collaborate.Previously, coordination would have been at the level of the leadership team, and they would have had several levels of managers in between who would trickle down details, but the people on the teams would never speak to each other. There would always be a constant struggle to work on the biggest projects for money, budget, and opportunities.Projects had a habit of overlapping - one team would release something which would then break something in the project of another team. PI Preparation is the first time that many of these very large businesses have joined their teams in a space or on the same call to speak to each other. They are given the opportunity to nut out those crucial talks about who is working on what. When you enter a code or a code repository, you need to know how it can affect another team. You may also need to do some work to allow another team to work first (and vice versa) on their feature.An ART (agile release train) is a shared objective accomplished by the soul of the different teams that work together. In very large companies, there can be three trains working together, and that is the reason why the teams need to step back every eight to 12 weeks and make sure that they continue to work towards the overall vision and company goals.Here’s what PI Planning enforces:CommunicationVisibilityCollaborationAs a result, teams can more easily get work done, deliver more updates in less time, and remain on budget.Executing the PI /Agenda- It is very important to understand the steps involved in executing PI. Let's try to understand the same:1) Preparation: It will cover the prerequisites for successful PI.Organization preparation : PI meetings are supposed to be arranged well in advance, and it is important to call into account all the stakeholders and leaders involved in the program. Usually, large organizations arrange this as a quarterly meeting, which helps to talk about the end of the preceding quarter and to set all in order for the start of the next quarter.Content preparation: For the launch the preparation on the aim and the vision has to be made well in advance. This should be drilled into the team from day one, which is done by the Company owners and the leaders of the projects who are in the best position to do so.  Facility preparation: A spacious room that is twice the size of the amount of people should be prepared, where the employees are able to walk around and ask other employees questions.2) Agenda:Setting the agenda is very important and should be mapped out at the outset. Motivational speakers should be called in, who can take time to remember the successes of the last PI. Always provide some time for introductions through ice breaking games. It is important that the teams get to know each other, so that they can work well together. All these can be helpful in work teambuilding and bringing a social aspect to the case.Here is an example of an agenda from ScaledAgileFramework.com. It outlines the critical steps for a successful case.Day OneBusiness Background – The background of the business is  provided by a senior management member or a company owner who offers insights on business performance and on how they are able to keep up with market demands and customer needs.Product / Solutions Strategy- The Project management will outline the company vision for the next PI. The salient features that will help achieve these targets will be defined by the company management.Architecture Vision & Development Practices – Next, the Systems Architect or IT department will talk about the systems and architectural vision for infrastructure upgrades that will help increase market time and will affect growth during the upcoming PI. Process changes associated with Agile that would improve speed and communication will be discussed.Preparation Background & Lunch – After this, it is the turn of the Release Train Engineer (RTE) to explain the planning process for PI and what the teams and the general meeting are required to do. The planned results for the meeting will be discussed, and any questions from the Team will be addressed.Team breakouts- Teams will meet around the boards (analogue or digital) to measure their pace for each iteration and look at their backlogs and what needs to be progressed to help the functionality outlined in the vision. They will apply their draft plans to review and provide input to all the teams. They'll need to recognize and mitigate possible threats and addictions.Draft Plan Review- During this time-boxed meeting, teams will deliver their draft plans and receive input from product owners, company owners,  stakeholders and other teams. They may use the feedback to fine-tune their drafts before consulting the management. They will also discuss possible issues to be addressed by the management.Review by Management and Problem Solving- Draft plans would also raise problems with design, scale, and people and resource constraints. Only the management renegotiation and future features may often solve these problems. The RTE (Release Train Engineer) organizes this meeting and stakeholders and business owners must come out of the meeting with a new set of goals or features for the teamsDay 2 AgendaProgram Adjustments- At the start of the day,  changes or decisions taken at the problem-solving meeting by management and stakeholders will be considered. Teams are apprised of these changes and decisions and priorities may be revisited. These adjustments will be put on the board of the company so that all departments can take a look and reorganize themselves.Breakouts- During breakouts, teams take the changes back to their discussion meeting and come back to the program board with their PI targets. Company owners may assign values to each of the goals and rate them for execution. At this stage, teams will get a clearer sense of their targets in the context of the iterations ahead.Final Plan Review and Lunch- Finally, each team will carry their plans to the front and present them. Threats and dependencies will be listed out at the finish of the presentation. While this is not the time to try and fix those problems, the various plans are posted to allow the teams to review and get inputs from others.Program Risks-All teams listed their risks and dependencies in the preceding phase. Now that all the goals are written, the teams will tackle each risk in turn and decide whether they can be resolved. The risks fall into one of below categories:Resolved- The teams conclude after discussion that the topic is no longer a problem.  Owned – Someone on the train takes ownership of the item to work on a later resolution of the issue.  Accepted – Certain threats are simply facts or future issues that need to be acknowledged and embraced.  Mitigated- Teams will strategize together to mitigate a risk item 's effects. The solution or fix is implemented.Trust Vote – Once all the challenges and targets are discussed and addressed, the teams can vote on their conviction that the target can be achieved in the coming PI. The Trust vote is a quintessential vote, when team members can hold up one to five fingers in a show of hands. Anything that is less than a three-finger ballot should be re-looked at.The team member who has an issue with that particular goal would need to give more clarity, so that the teams can fix it. Once the issue has been resolved, the target of achieving a vote of confidence for the coming PI is again put to vote.Retrospective – The RTE will have a brief retrospective on the PI Planning case at the very end of the meeting to collect input about what was going well for the case, and what needs to be modified or enhanced for the next event.Day 18:00am - 9:00amBusiness context9:00am - 10:30amProduct/solution vision10:30am - 11:30amArchitecture vision & development practice11:30am - 1:00pmPlanning context & lunch1:00pm - 4:00pm Team breakouts4:00pm - 5:00pmDraft plan review5:00pm - 6:00pmManagement review & problem solving                                                                                                                           Day 28:00am - 9:00amPlanning adjustment9:00am - 11:00amTeam breakouts11:00am - 1:00pmFinal plan review & lunch1:00pm - 2:00pmProgram risks2:00pm -2:15pmConfidence vote2:15pm - X:XXPMPlan rework (if needed)When readyPlanning retrospective & moving forwordThis plan may be ideal for you or you can change it according to the needs of your team. Distributed teams, very large ARTs, and other factors can require the schedule to be modified in a creative way. You will find some sessions require more time, while others may need to be shortened. If it's your first PI Planning experience, try the regular agenda, get input from your team and play with different formats.PI Output- The output which comes out from PI planning is as follows :Smart goals are set by each participating team.The program manager updates the program board based on PI output. The feature list is accepted by each participating team.The new release date for features is aligned between teams.Dependencies of roles (between teams and other ARTs) are set.Milestones are noted down.Planning for PI offers many business advantages including:  Setting up face-to - face contact with the stakeholders and all team members – It is critical to keep everybody focused on the event.  Establishing the social network depends on the ART – The purpose of icebreakers and team-building games is to help instill trust and collaboration even for remote team members.Matching progress on business goals with the business background, vision, and priorities of the Team and Program PI – Everyone comes together so that they feel like a part of the process and are able to grasp the vision of the organization.Finding similarities and promoting cross-team and cross-ART communication – Many people who have been virtually in touch are now able to put a face to a name. When resolving concerns, dependencies and threats, it's important for everyone to feel comfortable reaching out for support and finding out how the teams can work together.Quick decision making –No need to worry if they have received your text or wait for someone to get back to you when everyone is together. Rather than days or weeks, discussions and decisions take place in minutes or hours.When is PI Planning held?Many businesses think that the correct period of time for an increment is 8-12 weeks (which adds up to 4-6 x 2-week iterations).  Some firms keep PI Planning quarterly, for example:  Q1 PI: December  Q2 PI: March  Q3 PI: June  Q4 PI: September  But timing and duration depend on how long each phase of the program is planned to last. The positive thing about PI Organizing activities is that they happen regularly on a set timetable, so you can plan well in advance for them. That means there is plenty of notice from teams and business owners to ensure they can turn up for the case.What is a pre-PI Planning event and when is it needed?Since the two-day PI Preparation case obviously is just not enough, pre-planning events may be required. These exist for a very good purpose  -to make sure the ART is synchronized before PI Preparation is carried out within the wider Solution Train. It's all about synchronizing with the other ARTs to ensure that the answer moves in the right direction, along with the organization. What normally happens is that key people from the Solution Train, along with members from the ARTs and related suppliers get together. Here are some of the people you'll find at such an organizing event :  Solution Train EngineerSolution ManagementSolution Architect/EngineeringSolution System TeamRelease Train EngineersProduct ManagementSystem Architects/EngineersCustomersThey'll look at the top Project Backlog, Project Goal, Vision, and Solution Roadmap capabilities. It's a lot like PI Preparation, but at a higher level, through the solution as a whole and not just the individual work. The event begins with each ART summing up its previous increment and achievements in order to set the context. A senior executive would then brief the attendees on the current situation before Project Management addresses the new vision of the project and any improvements from what had previously been discussed.Remote Teams must be engaged and accountableThe Agile Manifesto says, "A face-to - face interaction is the most effective and efficient method of conveying information to and within a development team."  Keeping the members of the remote team involved and focused on the planning tasks can be challenging indeed. A range of video conference services are available on the market that allow teams not only to carry out video conferencing with individual members, but also to interact with local teams with cameras. Everyone can see and communicate with one another in the same way as if they were all seated in a conference room together.  Applications like Zoom / Web ex / Google Meet /Microsoft Team offer video conferencing facilities for teams and can be used for group sessions for PI preparation. Remote participants can be asked to keep their cameras on so they can be seen.ConclusionWithin the grand scale of today's development environment, teams are often divided across geographies. Team members who are going to be on-the-spot can attend the PI meeting in person, but entire groups might not be ready to participate from the same location. Remote teams should be able to collaborate and give their feedback, in order for SAFe to develop.In such cases, RTEs and company owners need to think outside the box as online technologies evolve. They must prepare to organize and train teams to use these technology resources for effective collaboration.  The more frequently the teams use the tools, the simpler it'll be to use them for major events like PI Preparation and alternative iteration conferences and ceremonies. For answers to questions, often teams operating within the same building will profit from providing a remote source of knowledge and a common source of truth within the organization. It can also help to encourage team members to know their stakeholders and product managers, so that at the right time the right people can answer the right questions.Teams who are able to meet this challenge will benefit from the largest pool of skills and expertise, and can get set to reap the highest chance of success in this fast-paced industry.
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What is Program Increment Planning and its importa...

PI Planning or Program Increment Planning can be s... Read More

Ten agile metrics you won't hate

A long-standing platitude says: “What gets measured gets done”, and in today’s context the phrase is upgraded to “What gets measured gets improved”. Either way, the emphasis is on measurement. In this article today, we will learn some basic agile metrics that can be used by the development teams to access and improve development, and optimize ways of working. With a strong competitive market, there’s a need to stay ahead of your peers, and provide optimal solutions. Here, we will discuss 10 agile metrics that can help teams carve their path towards success.What is an agile metric?Just going the agile way or adopting agile practices won't help much if the output is not measured. Agile metrics help to monitor productivity and quality across different phases during development. Metrics are standards of measurement that help the team to keep the performance in check and help to expose any gaps in performance early.Why should the teams use agile metrics (Benefits)?  There are multiple benefits of using Agile metrics. Let’s first take a look at some questions that get answered:What are the problems that need to be addressed?Is the team on track?Is the value being generated out of the efforts invested?Is the team improving?Is the team working on the right things?Are the deliverables abiding by the quality standards?Top Ten Metrics  1. Sprint BurndownThis is one of the basic and most popular metrics used to measure the work remaining during the execution of the sprint. The graphical representation through a chart helps to keep a check on the rate of work completion, and how much needs to be accomplished.  The chart comprises of X-axis and Y-axis, where the horizontal X-axis denotes time/no. of days and the Y-axis denotes the total amount of work. The total work can be estimated both in terms of man-hours or story points. The burndown helps in the prediction of whether the team will be able to complete the target sprint goal in the said sprint timeline.Image sourceComponents in the Burndown Chart:Total Estimate – The output of the sprint planning is in the form of work items or user stories that have been broken down further into tasks. Each task has an estimate with the unit in hours. The sum of the estimate from all the work items constitutes the total estimate which is represented in the Y-axis.Remaining Effort – With each passing day in a sprint, the team will be burning efforts on the tool according to the work completed. This creates a slope in the chart as the remaining effort gets decreased towards the end. This is the component that gets tracked in the burndown down the chart.Total Days – When the sprint length is defined, a set number of days are locked as the length. On the chart the total no. of days is represented on the X-axis. If there’s a holiday/weekend, the chart will show a flat line as the team will not burn any effort. This, again, depends on the tool and its customization. Some tools omit weekends and just represent the working days.Ideal Effort – It is represented through a diagonal line cutting across the chart and represents the ideal burning pattern. This is usually an auto-generated line to guide the team.2. VelocityVelocity is one of the powerful metrics in agile which is simple and easily adoptable. It is the sum of units delivered in a sprint, which is usually in story points. For example, if a scrum team commits 30 points in a sprint and delivers 28, then the velocity for that sprint is 28. As the team matures, the average velocity is calculated to predict the future capacity for the sprints. Velocity helps in getting the teams to predict correctly the amount of work that can be completed. If the average velocity of the team is 30, they know they can finish 300 story points worth of work in approx. 10 sprints.Velocity is not the measure of productivity, as it is just an average calculated unit based on the last few sprints. There might be fluctuations in the velocity due to an unstable team, holidays, legacy code, etc. It should be used as a planning tool for defining the work in a sprint. Each teams’ velocity is unique, and no two teams should be compared in terms of velocity.3. Cumulative flow diagram CFDs are stacked area charts that represent the number of work items in each column for a particular period. The lowest layer specifies the number of items in the completed state. The graph provides an essential way to envision project development and supports to visualize any possible difficulties. It represents the count of Backlog items on the Y-axis and maps them according to the state on the timeline represented on the X-axis. The cumulative flow diagram can be customized as per category or as per status.4. Release BurnupThe Release Burn Up Chart shows the current work progress against the total work planned. It also displays the total planned work, and the total work accomplished to date. One of the important aspects of this chart is the scope line which captures the deviation between the release start and the end dates.  The horizontal axis (X-axis) represents the time; it can be sprints, phases, or just the timeline representing the completion of a quarter or the project or just a particular period in discussion.  The vertical axis(Y-axis) represents the total story points in the backlog.  The Burnup charts make it easy to read the total completed work, the scope changes, and their impact on the timeline, and the remaining effort to reach the completion. Along with this, it also helps in forecasting to achieve the release plan.5. Control ChartAs per Wikipedia “Control charts, also known as Shewhart charts or process-behavior charts, are a statistical process control tool used to determine if a manufacturing or business process is in a state of control. It is more appropriate to say that the control charts are the graphical device for Statistical Process Monitoring.” A control chart is used to monitor quality regularly. It helps to measure the impact of process change, or any team composition changes. It supports to evaluate the team’s historical performance and forecast the future work pattern. This helps the teams in setting up the goals. The Control Chart displays the Cycle Time or Lead Time for your project or sprint. It takes the time consumed by a respective problem in a certain status and plots it over a stated period. A Control Chart helps you categorize whether statistics from the existing sprint can be used to govern forthcoming performance.6. Lead TimeLead Time metric originated from the manufacturing method, more specifically from Toyota Production System. It is the total time elapsed from the initial request being made by the customer to the final product being delivered. When talking of software development, it is the movement of a requirement from ‘New’ state to ‘Completed’ state. In simple words, it is the time between the start and finish for any work item.   For example, when you stand in a queue to order a burger, the time between when the order is placed and the time when the burger is received is the Lead Time. In Scrum, the lead time is defined as the time it takes from a requirement being added to the backlog to when it’s ready for delivery.7. Blocked TimeDuring the execution of the sprint, there might be situations that block the way of smooth sprint delivery. For example, an environment issue where the test cannot be performed on the code on the higher environment. Or a case where a technical dependency is blocking the way for the development team. The reasons can be countless, but it is important to capture the total time the team got blocked in the entire sprint. The scrum team can either block the task or raise a block card on the system/tool. The management can pull the real-time report on the blocked cards and help the team move forward. This should also be a part of the retrospective discussion for further improvisation. 8. Escaped DefectsNot every product delivered is error-free, as although multiple rounds of testing are done still some of the defects go unnoticed. They are found by the customers after the release date. These are termed Escaped defects. The cost of fixing a defect increases considerably the later it is found. The appetite for RAG(Red/Amber/Green) count/percentage varies across organizations. Getting more than 3 escaped defects can make the report RED for some. It is measured by the number of issues (bugs, defects, etc.) found in the product once it has been delivered to the user.9. Story Completion RatioWhen the team collectively comes up with the work items committed in a sprint during the sprint planning meeting, they come up with a list of user stories to be completed. The story completion ratio is the percentage of the total no. of stories delivered in a sprint against the committed ones. So, if a team commits 10 user stories in a sprint and delivers 9, the story completion ratio will be 90%. Story Completion Ratio = (Total No. of Stories Delivered / Total no. of Stories Committed) * 100This can also be used in the retrospection as a discussion point to identify the root causes and solutions for better delivery.10. Net Promoter ScoreThe Net Promoter Score is an index that measures the readiness of clients to commend a company’s products or services. To calculate NPS, one can ask, “How likely are you to recommend us to a friend or colleague?” and score the answers on a zero-to-ten scale. Based on their rating, customers are then classified into 3 categories: detractors, passives, and promoters.ConclusionMetrics help in building up the organization by analyzing the results and striving to make it better. They provide quantifiable awareness into the team's performance and deliver assessable goals for the team. Metrics helps the team to define a way for a better customer experience and a healthy work environment. The organization should opt for only those metrics that support the systems to flourish and not to counter the individuals or the team.  
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Ten agile metrics you won't hate

A long-standing platitude says: “What gets measu... Read More