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What is Agile?

  1. The Agile way of work

    Agile is a way of work. As a way of work, Agile is best characterised as a mindset that is based on a set of principles and practices. Human beings are inherently ‘Agile’ as we constantly make trade-off decisions between variables such as value, quality and cost without the need to form complex governance structures, write lengthy documents or satisfy bureaucratic requirements... ( more )

    Agile is a way of work.

    As a way of work, Agile is best characterised as a mindset that is based on a set of principles and practices.

    Human beings are inherently ‘Agile’ as we constantly make trade-off decisions between variables such as value, quality and cost without the need to form complex governance structures, write lengthy documents or satisfy bureaucratic requirements (think about the last time you planned a holiday). This is demonstrated on small scale by people who can achieve significant outcomes in short space of time with limited resources (think about any inventor worth mentioning). On a larger scale, the Agile way of work has been applied by organisations to achieve outcomes in a fraction of the timeframe when compared to traditional approaches (think about start-ups).

    When applied in business, Agile provides forward-thinking organisations a massive advantage through the provision of:

    • Increased customer focus by delivering genuine business value
    • Adaptability to change
    • Faster delivery of products with lower risk, lower costs and greater relevance
    • Increased discipline in execution
    • Empowered individuals working in cross functional teams
    • Increased engagement ...and making work fun! ( less )
  2. Agile manifesto re-imagined

    The term ‘Agile’ was first conceived and applied as a business discipline in 2001 by a group of 17 respected, independent thinkers from various software development schools of thought. They got together to re-invent software development by moving away from a heavy, documentation-driven process to a principle based approach. Through this they developed the... ( more )

    The term ‘Agile’ was first conceived and applied as a business discipline in 2001 by a group of 17 respected, independent thinkers from various software development schools of thought. They got together to re-invent software development by moving away from a heavy, documentation-driven process to a principle based approach. Through this they developed the Manifesto for Agile Software Development (http://agilemanifesto.org).

    Agiledirect has used this manifesto to uncover better ways of delivering business outcomes and helping others to do so. Through this work we have re-imagined the original Manifesto and declare the following value drivers for using Agile in the broader business context:

    • Conversation over documentation
    • High performing team over a team of high performers
    • Clarity over certainty
    • Course correction over planning perfection
    • Outcomes over comprehensive documentation
    • Sufficient quality rather than over-elaborate solutions
    • Bad news delivered early over good news delivered late

    That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more. ( less )

  3. Agile principles

    Agiledirect has re-imagined the original principles outlined in the Agile Manifesto. These 12 principles at the core of Agile to set up a business activity (e.g. a project) for success. Deliver benefits: The highest priority should be to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of business value. No one can know... ( more )

    Agiledirect has re-imagined the original principles outlined in the Agile Manifesto. These 12 principles at the core of Agile to set up a business activity (e.g. a project) for success.

    1. Deliver benefits: The highest priority should be to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of business value. No one can know everything at the beginning of a project (referred to as the 'illusion of certainty'). Only when work has started can we become more certain of the time, cost and quality requirements.
    2. Embrace change: We welcome changing requirements, even late in the project. Agile processes harness change for the customer's advantage. It is the customer that possesses agility in an Agile project as they can change direction with minimal risk and cost impacts.
    3. Get on with it: Deliver working outcomes frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale. This lets the customer see the effect of the changes early and avoids significant rework found in traditional project methodologies.
    4. Daily collaboration: Business people and project teams must work together daily throughout the project.
    5. Engaged and enabled people: Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done. A cross-functional autonomous team is best equipped to leverage “wisdom of the crowd” to solve problems in ingenious and cost-effective ways.
    6. Optimal communication: The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a team is face-to-face conversation.
    7. Outcome oriented: Outcomes are the primary measure of progress. Measurement of activities ignores the progress towards business value at the expense of micro-managing a team.
    8. Sustainable cadence: Agile processes promote a sustainable delivery cadence. The extended project team should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely. See Agile 2.0 for examples of how to take a mature agile team to the next level of self-organising productivity.
    9. Focus on the things that matter: Attention to excellence and good design enhances agility.
    10. Simplicity and sufficiency: The art of maximising the amount of work not done.
    11. Wisdom of the crowd: The best ideas, understanding of requirements, and designs emerge from self-organising teams.
    12. Continuous improvement: At regular intervals, the team pauses to reflect on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behaviour accordingly. The team is transparent in delivering bad news early and ensuring course corrections are deliberate and beneficial. ( less )
  4. Want to know more?

    If you want to find out if your business or organisation should be using Agile, then try our Quizzes. They are seriously fun way of reviewing the agility of you, your team or your business. You can also find out more about how Agile works in practice with our practical guide to Agile Tools and techniques. Maybe you have more questions? Then check... ( more )

    If you want to find out if your business or organisation should be using Agile, then try our Quizzes. They are seriously fun way of reviewing the agility of you, your team or your business.

    You can also find out more about how Agile works in practice with our practical guide to Agile Tools and techniques.

    Maybe you have more questions? Then check out our FAQ.

    Agile does introduce some new words and phrases into the corporate vocabulary. If you want to better understand the lingo then check out our Glossary of Agile Terms. ( less )