What is Agile, anyway?

In my line of work, I often get asked a very simple question: What is Agile?

For me, the answer is also very simple, but before I give that answer, let me share what I think it's not.

Agile is not Scrum, SAFe, DSDM or any other methodology.

It's not Agile / Kanban Walls, Daily Stand Ups / Scrums or Stories.

It's also not behaviour-driven development, automated testing or continuous integration.

It's not even visibility, transparency and better communication.

All of the above are tools, techniques or ways of working that bring great value to an Agile team. But they are not Agile in and of themselves. Indeed, I have witnessed teams that have adopted some or all of these practices, and despite this significant investment in processes and learning, they were no more agile than they were before.

For me, Agile is summed up by the first principle of the Agile Manifesto:

"Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer
through early and continuous delivery
of valuable software."

It's not important whether your team has Certified Scrum Masters, a continuous delivery pipeline or daily Stands Ups, if they are not delivering on the customer's needs.

So, what is Agile?

It's when a team is delivering valuable software early and on a regular (continuous) basis.

All the rest are means to an end.



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