Chapter 2. Understanding Agile Values

We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.

Aristotle, Nichomachean Ethics

Agile, as a movement, is different from any approach to software development that came before it, because it started with ideas, values, and principles that embody a mindset. It’s through the lens of these ideas that you can begin to become more agile as a practitioner, and more valuable as a member of your project team.

The agile movement is revolutionizing the world of software development. Teams that adopt agile have consistently reported improvements—sometimes huge leaps—in their ability to build great software. Teams that successfully adopt agile build better, higher quality software products, and they do it faster than before.

Our industry is at a turning point with agile. Agile has gone from being the underdog to becoming an institution. For the first few years of agile, people adopting it struggled to convince their companies and teammates that it worked, and that it was worth doing. Now, there is little question that agile development is a highly effective way to build software. In fact, in 2008, an important survey2 found that more than half of all software teams surveyed were using agile methodologies, practices, or principles—and agile has only grown since then. And agile teams are increasingly going beyond ...

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