Agile is a set of iterative processes enabling teams to deliver valuable products or services in short continuous learning cycles. Agile can be considered an umbrella encompassing different frameworks and methodologies all with a focus on creating value in short iterative cycles. While Agile first focused on developing software products, the concepts, principles and mindset have proven effective in almost every aspect of business.
The Agile Manifesto is a set of 4 Values and 12 Principles created by 17 thought leaders of varying software development principles. The original Agile Manifesto was signed on February 13, 2001. The original document has been referred to as the Agile ‘Software Development’ Manifesto by Jim Highsmith (one of the original signatories).
In 2016, fifteen years after the Agile Manifesto was created, Harvard Business Review and many others agreed that Agile was not only spreading across the globe in software delivery but also into every aspect of business.
Agility is the ability to respond quickly and thoughtfully to new information while continuing a journey of learning and value realization. While Agile can be considered a set of processes for teams, Agility often requires an entire ecosystem or environment to be able to respond thoughtfully to changing information. Agility should not be confused with “Churn” or constantly changing directions without providing value. Agility is best achieved when value is defined, and every change is focused on achieving the defined value.
Being Agile is an emotional and intellectual state of mind where people openly and honestly reflect on the current state and accept there is always a way to provide more value. While an Agile Mindset often applies to asking how things can be improved and adjusting processes based on new information, Being Agile adds the emotional openness to accept what we’ve long believed to be true, may not be any more.