Agile Manifesto

This definition is part of our Essential Guide: All about Agile and ALM
Contributor(s): Christina Torode

The Agile Manifesto, also called the Manifesto for Agile Software Development, is a formal proclamation of four key values and 12  principles to guide an iterative and people-centric approach to software development. 

Agile software development focuses on keeping code simple, testing often and delivering functional bits of the application as soon as they're ready. The Agile Manifesto was created as an alternative to document-driven, heavyweight software development processes such as the waterfall approach. 

The four core values of  agile software development as stated by the Agile Manifesto emphasize:

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

The 12 principles laid down in the Agile Manifesto have been adapted for managing a variety of business and IT-related projects, including business intelligence (BI).  They include:

  1. Satisfying 'customers' through early and continuous delivery of valuable work.
  2. Breaking big work down into smaller components that can be completed quickly.
  3. Recognizing that the best work emerges from self-organizing teams.
  4. Providing motivated individuals with the environment and support they need and trust them to get the job done.
  5. Creating processes that promote sustainable efforts.
  6. Maintaining a constant pace for completed work.
  7. Welcoming changing requirements, even late in a project.
  8. Assembling the project team and business owners on a daily basis throughout the project.
  9. At regular intervals, having the team reflect upon how to become more effective, then tuning and adjusting behavior accordingly.
  10. Measuring progress by the amount of completed work.
  11. Continually seeking excellence.
  12. Harnessing change for competitive advantage.

See also: agile project management, kaisen, Scrum

This was last updated in September 2011 ???publishDate.suggestedBy???

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I like how the principles have been stated in a brief, concise and comprehensive manner. They are much easier to retain than those I have read before.
The agile manifesto is the core for any agile development undertaking and it is sufficient to get all the benefits if it is implemented properly. Unfortunately I see very often that there is a lack of knowledge and understanding to the agile manifesto and particularly the 12 principles. "The Agile Manifesto Unfolds" is a good book to dive deeper on that subject. People should invest more time reading about it instead of starting with the scrum guide or other frameworks or user story books for example. 
Thanks for sharing the guidelines. Agile is all about developing software products faster, adding transparency and supporting continuous development and delivery. Once you understand, adopt and follow these set of rules, you are going to be a high performing company.
Satisfying 'customers' through early and continuous delivery of valuable work." How to assure that? What does it mean valuable work? I'm sorry, but in one or two months you can't guarantee the delivery of a valuable work for most cases. It depends on what you are doing.

"Welcoming changing requirements, even late in a project." Is that a joke? Everyone knows that when changing requirements occurs late, probably the project will be in dangerous status, even more when there aren´t enough documentation to value the impact.


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