What is Agile?

The term “Agile” as used in the context of this blog originated from the Agile Manifesto. This software development methodology was created in 2001 after several leading developers and engineers concluded that their best work was achieved by collaborating together and frequently delivering value to the customer.

As an Agile Coach, I coach individuals through the Agile transition. It is crucial to have a strong understanding of Agile before attempting to adopt various Agile practices such as Lean, Kanban and Scrum.

Over the years, I’ve witnessed transformations in team productivity, interpersonal dynamics and individual growth. The Agile methodology was founded on the *people* that build and use software. The practices used to improve their process are initially helpful as they force Agility and behaviors aligned with the methodology

This methodology and mindset extends far beyond software development.
This methodology can transform lives.

Agile4Life: Agile Manifesto Translation

The Agile Manifesto reaches past software developers. It is applicable to management, executives and human beings in general.
So, how does the Manifesto translate into everyday life? Below, I’ve outlined some suggested translation points where I have seen Agile extend out into everyday life.

The Agile Manifesto states that we value certain things over others. This does not mean we do not value the other components. It simply means that Agilists acknowledge and value the elements on the top.

We value individuals and interactions over process and tools.

Software Development: Human interactions are far more valuable than resorting to rules and processes and/or electronic tools. Rules and procedures serve a purpose, but there is much to be gained through direct face-to-face interactions with each other.
Agile4Life Translation: In today’s hectic society, it’s especially important to take time to *be* with each other. Our physical connections are key to experiencing what life has to offer and building lasting relationships.

We value working software over comprehensive documentation.

Software Development: A small component of working software is better than none at all. Produce work in iterations so you can deliver to customers earlier and adapt to how they use the product. Why waste time creating and developing from comprehensive documentation and requirements that are likely to be incomplete and obsolete when the final product is released.
Agile4Life Translation: Take action and spend time moving towards your goal rather than over-planning projects and events. Whether you’re building software, redesigning your backyard or buying a home; iterative progress builds confidence and allows you to relax, let go of the control and make better decisions with more information as it becomes available.

We value customer collaboration over contract negotiation.

Software Development: Our best work is the result of collaborating with the customers rather than negotiating requirements.
Agile4Life Translation: Work together with the individuals in our lives, be open to feedback, and continually improve for our “customers.” In our everyday lives, our customers are our friends, family and those who we interact with regularly.

We value responding to change over following a plan.

Software Development: Developing software in small increments allows us to adapt and adjust based on how the customers are using the product.
Agile4Life Translation: We are more effective if we are open to feedback and focused on continually improving. In all areas of life, we can benefit from having an open mind; allowing for change, rather than following a plan that may no longer serve us. Iterative progress allows for more flexibility and ease in adapting and allowing change.

Why be Agile?

So what are the benefits of Agile?