What is Agile: Understanding Agile Methodologies and Principles [Updated] (2023)

There are many tools and techniques in today's world that can help you maximize the value of the output produced. Among the many options available, Agile is one of the most commonly used. This is because of its ability to enable teams to work in small increments and respond to changes quickly.

Before we can get started with Agile, we’ll need to really understand the waterfall model.

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What is Agile?

Agile is a Mindset

The values and principles of the Agile Manifesto serve as the foundation for the agile mindset. These values and principles offer direction on change, react, and handle uncertainty. Try something you think might work when faced with uncertainty, get feedback, and make adjustments as needed.

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What is Agile: Understanding Agile Methodologies and Principles [Updated] (1)

Agile Methodologies

1. Extreme Programming

It is a framework that enables teams to create high-quality software that helps improve their quality of life. It enables software development alongside appropriate engineering practices. It is applicable while handling changing software requirements risks caused due to new software, working with a small, extended development team, and technology that allows automated unit and functional tests.

2. Kanban

It is a method that’s used to design, manage, and improve the flow of systems. Kanban enables organizations to visualize their flow of work and limit the amount of work in progress. It is used in situations where work arrives unpredictably, and where it needs to be deployed immediately without waiting for other work items.

3. Lean

It is a set of tools and principles that focuses on identifying and removing waste to speed up process development. Value is maximized, and waste is minimized. It is used in just about every industry that produces waste in some form.

4. Scrum

It is a framework used by teams to establish a hypothesis, test it, reflect on the experience, and make adjustments. It enables teams to incorporate practices from other frameworks depending on the requirements. It is used by cross-functional teams that are working on product development, and the work is split into more than one 2-4 week iterations.

5. Crystal

It focuses on people and their interactions, rather than on tools and processes. Aimed to streamline processes and improve optimization, Crystal works on the principle that projects are unique and dynamic. It is used when the focus is on strengthening team communication, continuous integration, active user involvement, and configurable processes.

Next up, let’s take a look at some Agile principles.

(Video) What is Agile? | Agile Methodology | Agile Frameworks - Scrum, Kanban, Lean, XP, Crystal | Edureka

Agile Principles

To make a process Agile, the following principles need to be satisfied.

1. Customer Satisfaction

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The customer needs to be satisfied with the quick delivery of the product.

2. Welcome Change

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Even late in the development process, changing needs need to be addressed.

3. Deliver Frequently

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Focus on a shorter timescale, and ensure products are delivered frequently.

4. Work Together

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The business and development team need to work together through the course of the project.

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5. Motivated Team

What is Agile: Understanding Agile Methodologies and Principles [Updated] (8)

Team members must be motivated and trusted to complete the project successfully and on time.

6. Face-to-face

What is Agile: Understanding Agile Methodologies and Principles [Updated] (9)

Having face-to-face interactions is one of the most effective forms of communication.

7. Working Software

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Having working output is an indication of the progress made towards the final product.

8. Constant Pace

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Agile promotes sustainable development.

9. Good Design

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Improve agility by focusing on good design and technical excellence.

10. Simplicity

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The amount of time where work isn’t being done needs to be reduced.

(Video) What is Agile Development Methodology? (hint Agile isn't a methodology)

11. Self-Organization

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These types of teams provide the best designs, requirements, and architectures.

12. Reflect and Adjust

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The effectiveness of the team can be improved by regularly reflecting on their work and making improvements.

Now, let’s look at what makes Agile the first choice for several organizations worldwide.

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What is Agile: Understanding Agile Methodologies and Principles [Updated] (16)

Key Agile Concepts

Here are a few essential Agile concepts.

  • User Stories: The team divides the work into functional units known as "user stories" in consultation with the client or product owner. Each user story must add something valuable to the final product.
  • Daily Meeting: The team meets every day at the same time to update everyone on the information necessary for coordination:
  • Personas: When the project requires it, the team creates in-depth, fabricated biographies of hypothetical users of the intended product.
  • Team: A small group of individuals assigned to the same project or effort, almost all of whom work full-time, is referred to as a "team" in the Agile context.
  • Incremental Development: Agile teams prefer to use an incremental development strategy, which in an Agile setting means that each iteration of the product improves on the one before it by including user-visible functionality.
  • Iterative development: Agile projects intentionally permit "repeating" software development activities and the potential for "revisiting" the same work products, known as iterative development.
  • Milestone Retrospective: After a project has been running for a while, the team dedicates one to three days to examine the key moments.

Advantages of Agile

  • Agile enables a large amount of collaboration and interaction between the client and the project team.
  • Thanks to this, clients have improved transparency, and therefore a clearer understanding of the phases of the project is present.
  • The product is delivered predictably, or sometimes earlier than expected.
  • The cost of the project is predictable and follows a rigid schedule.
  • Changes can refine and re-prioritize the product backlog.
  • Enables the client to prioritize different features, allowing the team to ensure maximum project value.
  • The project is broken down into smaller units, providing high-quality development, testing, and collaboration.

Agile Disadvantages

  • Organizational cultures can conflict with agile values
  • Teams may use inconsistent practices
  • Teams may encounter resistance from organizations to change in adoption.

When Should You Use Agile Project Management?

Agile is a project management approach that is better suited for ongoing projects and projects where specific details are unclear from the beginning because of its core principles, which include continuous delivery, iteration, adaptability, and short time frames, among others. Therefore, an Agile approach is a good choice for a project lacking precise constraints, deadlines, or resources.

The Waterfall Model

What is Agile: Understanding Agile Methodologies and Principles [Updated] (17)

The waterfall model is the earlier approach used for software development. It involves teams following a step-by-step process, only proceeding after the previous steps are completed. Each phase needs to be completed before the next phase can begin.

Let’s have a look at the steps of the waterfall model.

(Video) What Is Agile? | Introduction To Agile Methodology? | Agile Frameworks Explained | Simplilearn

Requirement Gathering and Analysis

All the system requirements that need to be developed are collected in this phase and documented in a requirement specification document.

System Design

The requirements from the previous phase are studied, and the system design is set up. The system design helps specify the hardware and the system requirements. It also helps define the system’s architecture.

Implementation

Based on the system design, small programs called units are developed. These units are integrated into the next phase of the process. Each of these units is developed and tested for their functionality; this process is called Unit Testing.

Integration and Testing

After each unit is tested, it is integrated into a system. After this, the entire system is checked for faults and failures.

Deployment of System

Once functional and non-functional testing is completed, the customer environment is given access or released into the market.

Maintenance

To handle issues that come up in the client environment, patches are released. Maintenance can also help to enhance the project. Maintenance can help with delivering changes to the customer environment.

Using Agile and Waterfall Methodologies

Not all projects neatly fall into one of the two categories. An Agile-Waterfall hybrid approach can make sense for projects that could benefit from aspects of both a traditional approach and an iterative approach. It could imply, for instance, that planning and design get done using the Waterfall method while development is via Agile's short development cycles.

Next up, let’s talk about the disadvantages of the waterfall model.

The Waterfall Model’s Disadvantages

Here are some of the disadvantages of the waterfall model:

  • Working software isn’t created until late in the project life cycle
  • There’s a large amount of risk and uncertainty
  • Not suited for complex and object-oriented projects
  • It is unsuitable for long and ongoing projects
  • Measuring the progress within stages are difficult
  • Changing requirements cannot be accommodated
  • The end-user/client isn’t focused on
  • Testing is delayed until the project is completed

What is Business Agility?

People who seek Business Agility ask themselves, "How might we structure and operate our organization in a way that allows us to create and respond to change and deal with uncertainty,"

Business agility could be defined as the understanding that for individuals within an organization to operate with an Agile mindset, the entire organization must support that mindset. Before the organization altered its structure and operations to function in an uncertain environment, agile software development was never agile.

Agile Business Analysis or Agile Project Management

People involved in software development searched for a way to understand how these Agile concepts applied to their work as Agile Software Development gained popularity.

Software developers (along with a tester) wrote the Agile Manifesto and the 12 Principles to address problems they encountered.

Asking, "How might we perform project management in a way that allows us to create and respond to change and deal with uncertainty" will help you better understand Agile project management.

Conclusion

In this guide to help you understand Agile, we covered a number of different topics like the waterfall model, its disadvantages, what is Agile, Agile principles, advantages, and methodologies.

(Video) What is Agile Methodology?

Think you need more skilling up to do? You can check out Simplilearn’s Agile Scrum Master Certification Training Course. We cover how Agile can be implemented in the course, different Agile methodologies, scrum concepts, and much more in detail. The course will also enhance your ability to develop and deliver quality products to customers.

And in case you have any questions, let us know in the comment section of this article, and our experts will get back to you right away!

FAQs

What are Agile principles and methodologies? ›

Definition of agile principles

It is built on 12 principles created by a team of software developers back in 2001. Their manifesto outlined a set of key principles, which are designed to ensure companies prioritize the right things; namely: customer satisfaction, collaboration, adapting to change, and more.

How do I explain the Agile methodology in an interview? ›

The Agile methodology doesn't tell you to stick to a set of prescribed steps or processes. It emphasizes adapting to the needs of your team, customer, and the changes in your environment and project requirements. The goal of Agile is to produce working results in a way that's repeatable and continuous.

What is the main purpose of agile methodologies? ›

Agile methodologies aim to deliver the right product, with incremental and frequent delivery of small chunks of functionality, through small cross-functional self-organizing teams, enabling frequent customer feedback and course correction as needed.

What are the 4 principles of Agile? ›

The four core values of Agile software development as stated by the Agile Manifesto are:
  • individuals and interactions over processes and tools;
  • working software over comprehensive documentation;
  • customer collaboration over contract negotiation; and.
  • responding to change over following a plan.

What is Agile methodology in simple words? ›

The Agile methodology is a way to manage a project by breaking it up into several phases. It involves constant collaboration with stakeholders and continuous improvement at every stage. Once the work begins, teams cycle through a process of planning, executing, and evaluating.

What is Agile in simple terms? ›

At its simplest, Agile simply means continuous incremental improvement through small and frequent releases. The term Agile is most commonly associated with software development as a project management methodology.

What is agile best answer? ›

Agile is a method of software development and project management that is gradual and iterative. Scrum is an agile methodology that aims to deliver incremental project builds in sprints. Working software is the most important indicator of progress in agile.

How do you say I am in agile? ›

How to Pronounce Agile - YouTube

Who uses Agile methodology? ›

These are large organisational changes that embrace agile working in small multidisciplinary teams that focus on delivering results in a fast, experimental and iterative manner. Well-known companies that use Agile include Apple, IBM, Microsoft and Procter & Gamble.

What are the benefits of agile? ›

Today we'll discuss the primary benefits of Agile, including:
  • Increased visibility.
  • Increased adaptability (agility)
  • Increased alignment.
  • Increased product quality.
  • Increased business value.
  • Increased customer satisfaction.
  • Decreased risk.

What are the 5 phases of agile project management? ›

There are five different phases of Agile Project Management framework that occurs within a project development.
  • Envision Phase: The envision phase is the initial phase of project management within an APM framework. ...
  • Speculate Phase: ...
  • Explore Phase: ...
  • Adapt Phase: ...
  • Close Phase:
14 Sept 2021

What are the 3 pillars of Scrum? ›

Understand Scrum

If you carefully scrutinize scrum, you will find again and again the three pillars of empirical process control: transparency, inspection, and adaptation.

What type of methodology is Agile? ›

Agile methodology is a “step by step” dynamic focused on short-term visibility but never losing the long-term product goal. There are 5 main Agile methodologies: Scrum, Kanban, Extreme Programming (XP), Lean Development e Crystal.

What is the Agile life cycle? ›

The Agile software development life cycle is the structured series of stages that a product goes through as it moves from beginning to end. It contains six phases: concept, inception, iteration, release, maintenance, and retirement.

What is the difference between Scrum and Agile? ›

The key difference between Agile and Scrum is that while Agile is a project management philosophy that utilizes a core set of values or principles, Scrum is a specific Agile methodology that is used to facilitate a project.

What is Agile example? ›

Examples of Agile Methodology. The most popular and common examples are Scrum, eXtreme Programming (XP), Feature Driven Development (FDD), Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM), Adaptive Software Development (ASD), Crystal, and Lean Software Development (LSD).

What is Agile skill? ›

Key agile skills

An ability to cut through unnecessary work and focus only on essential work. Sound judgment under pressure and the ability to remain calm under stress. Strong motivation and coaching skill to guide and support teams throughout a project.

What is a project in Agile? ›

Agile Project Management is an iterative approach to planning and guiding project processes that breaks them down into smaller cycles called sprints, or iterations. Just as in Agile software development, an Agile project is completed in small sections.

How would you describe your Agile experience? ›

Agile work experience shows a person's ability to function at a high level, in an environment that's ever-changing. This type of person is an asset to the business and someone who can continue to adapt to the demands of a growing, changing business.

Who is Scrum Master in Agile? ›

A Scrum Master is a professional who leads a team using Agile project management through the course of a project. A Scrum Master facilitates all the communication and collaboration between leadership and team players to ensure a successful outcome.

How do you write an Agile experience on a resume? ›

To describe your ability to manage agile teams in your resume, you may include examples of previous projects you managed where you successfully implemented agile methods. This can show hiring managers how you could achieve success in the open role.

What is sprint and backlog? ›

A sprint backlog is a list of work items your team plans to complete during a project sprint. These items are usually pulled from the product backlog during the sprint planning session. A clear sprint backlog prevents scope creep by clarifying exactly what your team will be doing—and not doing—during each sprint.

What is sprint in Agile methodology? ›

What are sprints? A sprint is a short, time-boxed period when a scrum team works to complete a set amount of work. Sprints are at the very heart of scrum and agile methodologies, and getting sprints right will help your agile team ship better software with fewer headaches.

Who is an agile person? ›

Being agile means having the ability to be able to evolve or adapt to changing circumstances quickly.

What does agile thinking mean? ›

Agile thinking is the ability to actively switch your thinking according to what's needed across different contexts. It is an effective and efficient way of managing uncertainty and turbulent environments.

What does agile mean in the workplace? ›

Agile working is about bringing people, processes, connectivity and technology, time and place together to find the most appropriate and effective way of working to carry out a particular task. It is working within guidelines (of the task) but without boundaries (of how you achieve it).

What is the best Agile methodology? ›

Scrum is the most popular and widely followed Agile methodology worldwide. The Scrum framework was designed to address two critical pain points of software development; speed and changing client requirements. In this approach, the software development project is executed in phases, each phase known as a Sprint.

What are the 5 methodologies? ›

5S stands for the 5 steps of this methodology: Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize, Sustain. These steps involve going through everything in a space, deciding what's necessary and what isn't, putting things in order, cleaning, and setting up procedures for performing these tasks on a regular basis.

Which projects use Agile? ›

Agile is used for complex projects that have a deadline. If at the end of each project iteration the elements of the products or services can not be released or deployed, Agile might not be needed. It will only be essential for projects that have planning and implementation clearly stated.

What is Agile company example? ›

Agile organizations like Gore, ING, and Spotify focus on several elements: Implement clear, flat structures that reflect and support the way in which the organization creates value. For example, teams can be clustered into focused performance groups (for example, “tribes,” or a “lattice”) that share a common mission.

How many projects use Agile? ›

80% of IT projects use Agile methodology.

As far as the private sector goes, 71% of companies have or are implementing Agile, including several Fortune 500 companies, and 86% of software developers around the world use Agile methodology.

Why is Agile testing important? ›

Agile testing improves product quality and enables development teams to release software on shorter cycles. And effective test case management helps Agile testers. You'll find and fix errors faster. So, you'll lower the risk of finding a bug at the very end of testing — and missing a deadline.

What are the challenges you faced in Agile? ›

7 Testing Challenges in Agile and How to Master Them
  • Changing Requirements. ...
  • Not Enough Information. ...
  • Continuous Testing. ...
  • Technical Skills. ...
  • Frequent Regression Cycles. ...
  • Lack of Communication. ...
  • No Quality Measurement.

What are the strength of Agile process? ›

It is one of the easiest and traditional model to manage. Because of its traditional development nature, each phase has specific deliverables and a review process. It works well in smaller size projects where requirements are easily understandable. It has a faster product delivery model.

What is Agile first part? ›

Stage 1: Ideation

Working closely with stakeholders, the business team, developers, and the future users of the app, the Agile product owner pieces together the vision for the project by: Defining the purpose and goal of the new software. Determining and documenting business and user requirements.

What are the processes of Agile? ›

The 11 Agile Processes We Use to Run an Efficient Software Team
  • Daily standup meeting.
  • Sprint planning.
  • Sprint turnover.
  • Sprint retrospective.
26 Jul 2017

How do you start an Agile project? ›

How to Run an Agile Project
  1. Assign your team. Your project team will include a Scrum master, a product owner, and any other team members you need to develop, produce, and test the end product.
  2. Document requirements. ...
  3. Create your sprints. ...
  4. Plan and execute your sprint. ...
  5. Host a retrospective. ...
  6. Repeat steps four and five.

Who can cancel a sprint? ›

A Sprint could be cancelled if the Sprint Goal becomes obsolete. Only the Product Owner has the authority to cancel the Sprint. This opens it up to the Scrum Team to decide what comes next should a Sprint Goal become obsolete, and the PO decide to cancel a Sprint.

What are the 5 Scrum values? ›

A team's success with scrum depends on five values: commitment, courage, focus, openness, and respect.

How many agile principles are there? ›

The Agile Manifesto is comprised of four foundational values and 12 supporting principles which lead the Agile approach to software development.

What is Agile example? ›

Examples of Agile Methodology. The most popular and common examples are Scrum, eXtreme Programming (XP), Feature Driven Development (FDD), Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM), Adaptive Software Development (ASD), Crystal, and Lean Software Development (LSD).

What is the best Agile methodology? ›

Scrum is the most popular and widely followed Agile methodology worldwide. The Scrum framework was designed to address two critical pain points of software development; speed and changing client requirements. In this approach, the software development project is executed in phases, each phase known as a Sprint.

What are the 5 phases of agile project management? ›

There are five different phases of Agile Project Management framework that occurs within a project development.
  • Envision Phase: The envision phase is the initial phase of project management within an APM framework. ...
  • Speculate Phase: ...
  • Explore Phase: ...
  • Adapt Phase: ...
  • Close Phase:
14 Sept 2021

What are agile skills? ›

Key agile skills

An ability to cut through unnecessary work and focus only on essential work. Sound judgment under pressure and the ability to remain calm under stress. Strong motivation and coaching skill to guide and support teams throughout a project.

What are the six stages of Agile methodology? ›

It contains six phases: concept, inception, iteration, release, maintenance, and retirement. The Agile life cycle will vary slightly depending on the project management methodology chosen by a team. For example, Scrum teams work in short time periods known as sprints, which are similar to iterations.

What is difference between agile and Scrum? ›

The key difference between Agile and Scrum is that while Agile is a project management philosophy that utilizes a core set of values or principles, Scrum is a specific Agile methodology that is used to facilitate a project.

What are the 3 pillars of Scrum? ›

Understand Scrum

If you carefully scrutinize scrum, you will find again and again the three pillars of empirical process control: transparency, inspection, and adaptation.

What are the benefits of Agile? ›

Today we'll discuss the primary benefits of Agile, including:
  • Increased visibility.
  • Increased adaptability (agility)
  • Increased alignment.
  • Increased product quality.
  • Increased business value.
  • Increased customer satisfaction.
  • Decreased risk.

What is the first Agile principle? ›

Agile Principle 1: Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable product. In other words, our priority is to focus primarily on delivering valuable products to customers early and continuously.

What is the most important in agile projects? ›

According to the Agile Manifesto, the more important values are individuals and interactions, working software, customer collaboration, and responding to change. Agile organizations use processes and tools, appropriate documentation, contracts, and plans to support the more important values.

What are the most important components of agile? ›

The 4 core values of Agile are:
  1. Individuals and interactions over processes and tools. ...
  2. Working software over comprehensive documentation. ...
  3. Customer collaboration over contract negotiation. ...
  4. Responding to change over following a plan.
18 Mar 2022

What is agile mindset? ›

The agile mindset is a thought process that involves understanding, collaborating, learning, and staying flexible to achieve high-performing results. By combining the agile mindset with processes and tools, teams can adapt to change and deliver incremental value to their customers.

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2. What Is Agile? | What Is Agile Methodology? | Agile Methodology Explained Simply | Simplilearn
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