What is Agile?
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What is an Agile Methodology?

In the late 80’s, increasing dependence on the success of IT projects and their high failure rate spurred the re-evaluation of the development methodologies of the day. IT projects were beginning to be recognized as the complex, chaotic animals that they are. The very structured, well defined, and rigid prescriptions of traditional methodologies such as Waterfall, PSP, Unified Process, etc. failed to allow for the dynamics of change, and in many cases failed to deliver a product before customer needs had already evolved to make the project inappropriate.

Development strategies that expected and embraced change, intensively involved the people who would ultimately use the product, and focused on building a business solution rather than an IT solution began to be formed by individuals, organizations, and consortiums. In the mid 90’s these evolving new ideas began to coalesce into branded methodologies (DSDM, Scrum, FDD, Extreme Programming, Crystal, and others) which collectively became labeled as Agile Methodologies.

Agile methods place a key focus on the following concepts:

  • User/Customer Involvement –achieving user/customer investment and ownership
  • Incremental development and early delivery of benefit
  • Adaptable to change through prioritized requirements, scope control, and short development increments.
  • Create end-to-end BUSINESS solutions, not IT solutions
  • Continuous review and testing of the product under development via prototyping and integrated testing
  • Use of collaboration and facilitation techniques and processes to ensure speed, increase communication, and to drive decision making about features and functionality to users and developers.