Agile: what is it?

Agile: what is it?
Margaux Black
Margaux Black
2 min read

Agile, the definition is “able to move quickly and easily.” In development terms, the same definition holds strong. 

Agile is proven development and project management methodology that helps deliver value to customers faster. 
Instead of everything in one big launch, agile works in smaller, incremental sprints; with requirements and planning evaluated continuously - often resulting in the project adapting and changing as it goes. 

Some of the key agile principles are what sets this method apart from other project management and development styles. 

The project requirements are broken up 

This takes the project and divides it, and then it’s up to the team to establish which elements take priority for the business. Good documentation is useful, but it should not dictate the way things are built, but instead act as a guide for the actual development of the product. 

Collaboration is key

In order to divide and prioritise, the team needs to collaborate. With the client and each other. This is something that stays true throughout the whole duration of the project. A contract is important but it isn’t a substitute for working closely with customers and clients to understand what they need. 

Reflect, learn & adjust

As the definition of agile dictates, having flexibility is key. As you work through the project things may change, priorities could shift and assumptions could be proven wrong. Reflecting and changing as you go makes certain the end product will be in the best possible place. 

Integrate planning with execution 

In order for agile to work effectively, the planning must shift and evolve with the execution. Linking these points creates a working mindset that helps the team better respond to the changes that are common in an agile project. 

The core idea of agile, is that competent people need to work together effectively to solve problems, and that in itself is more important than a robust and clearly defined process. Although agile still needs project planning and scopes of work, they don’t dictate the entire project, they act as a guide to work from and pivot around to reach the best solution possible. 


"The Agile movement is not anti-methodology, in fact many of us want to restore credibility to the word methodology. We want to restore a balance. We embrace modeling, but not in order to file some diagram in a dusty corporate repository. We embrace documentation, but not hundreds of pages of never-maintained and rarely-used tomes. We plan, but recognize the limits of planning in a turbulent environment."

— Jim Highsmith, History: The Agile Manifesto.

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