Understanding the Agile Manifesto Values

agile manifesto values - Understanding the Agile Manifesto Values

While agile promises big improvements, it is not the answer to everything wrong with projects. In fact, many teams struggle with agile. Remember, agile is also a mindset, so how do you make sure the team has the right mindset?

This is where the Agile Manifesto comes in. When the team understands the values and principles of agile, the team starts to think differently and it becomes more effective.

There are 4 values of the Agile Manifesto,

1. Individuals and interactions over process and tools

This does not mean that daily standups, user stories, burndown charts, retrospectives aren’t important/ Ask any Scrum Master or an Agile Project Manager and they will tell you the issues with daily standup. This is because the focus is not on individuals and interactions rather the focus is on a tool called daily standup. Individual people on the team are more important and any tool being introduced due to agile should improve their interactions with stakeholders

2. Working software over comprehensive documentation

Two people can interpret the same requirement or design document differently. Comprehensive documentation might actually make things worse. The most effective way for a user to judge how well the software works is by actually using it. But documentation is needed specially when measuring the quality. Without a certain level of documentation its impossible to figure out whether or not the software is working

3. Customer collaboration over contract negotiation

Contract Negotiation here does not represent actual contracts that consultants or procurement managers deal with. This is more about the attitude people have for e.g. in order to work together everyone must come to an explicit agreement and adhere to it strictly. Agile teams understand that projects change and people never have perfect information when starting off. So instead of nailing down exactly what would be built before the project starts, agile teams collaborate with customers for best results. Note that this doesn’t mean ‘contract negotiation’ isn’t important. It is necessary when customer isn’t collaborating and being unreasonable. For e.g. a customer keeps changing the requirements and doesn’t even give the time needed to make those changes.

4. Responding to change over following a plan

The issue with “plan the work, work the plan” is that an incorrect plan will lead to an incorrect product of the project. Another problem is that the plans are created in the beginning when the team knows the least about the project. Agile uses methodologies that have tools to constantly look for changes and respond to them. This is in direct contrast to the change control procedures of traditional waterfall projects. Progressive elaboration is used by drawing knowledge at every subsequent step. Planning is important but it is more important to realize that plans change as we work on the project

There is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more!

Individuals and interactionsOver process and tools
Working softwareOver comprehensive documentation
Customer collaborationOver contract negotiation
Responding to changeOver following a plan

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