What Is Agile?

(Excerpted from Transitioning to Agile by Rick Freedman)

Agile is an evolutionary and revolutionary way of thinking for enterprises. Agile practices encourage team collaboration, incremental delivery, and continuous planning and learning within organizations. What started as an approach to managing individual software projects has blossomed into a powerful group of principles and practices that any organization can implement to stay successful in an ever-evolving business environment.

Agile does more than just replace heavy, bureaucratic software development life cycles. Agile requires significant changes to culture, roles, methods, and metrics. Like the Lean production methods that inspired it, Agile requires executives, managers, and team members to bring new skills and new attitudes to the development of software and, indeed, of all new products.

At its creation, the Agile Manifesto initially focused on software developers iterating through an incremental process. Agile rookies learn Agile as a series of practices, like standups, demonstrations, and retrospectives. Many firms begin their Agile journey by piloting these practices in small enclaves within IT. As Agile matures in an enterprise, these new software engineering practices end up touching the entire organization, as faster delivery cycles affect marketing and logistics, and enhanced quality and maintainability free developers from drudge work and enable even higher productivity.

However, if we take ...

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