What is agile ?

What is agile ?
What is agile ?

Returning to basics often helps in gaining a better understanding of certain terms. What is agile, and why agile? This article aims to shed light on these questions.

What is Agile ? A Genuine Mindset

First and foremost, agile is a mindset, a concept best represented by this image, encompassing all elements that define the mindset as a whole.

Agile wheel
Agile wheel

While other terms may complement or align with those in this illustration, the agile mindset comprises:

  1. A culture
  2. Customer-centricity
  3. Teamwork
  4. Common goals
  5. Collective decision-making
  6. A positive attitude
  7. Embracing mistakes
  8. Continuous learning
  9. Quality excellence
  10. Team autonomy

What Are Its Origins?

The origins of the agile movement are not entirely straightforward. Often associated with the world of software, this approach has deeper roots.

The term “agile” gained popularity in 1991 with the concept of agile manufacturing, not in 2001 with the Agile Manifesto. You may want to read this article I wrote to learn more.

Read Article: The Origin of Agility

Interestingly, Scrum, often viewed as the most popular framework of this approach, existed before the Agile Manifesto. While it was officially established in 1995, it was being experimented with in companies as early as 1990.

Although this framework is entirely aligned with the agile approach, it has different origins: new-generation project management methods (dating back to 1980-1986). These methods introduced the crucial concept of short iterations.

While these methods aligned with Agile Manufacturing, they did not originate it officially. I recommend reading this article to delve deeper into this topic.

So, how do we define this term?

In reality, this term defines an organizational “mindset.” Frameworks like Scrum became part of this approach in 2001 with the writing of the manifesto.

This is why we constantly emphasize the importance of understanding this mindset before implementing frameworks or practices. It’s represented by the Agile pyramid we see below.

pyramid of agility
pyramid of agility

I hope this article provides you with a clearer understanding of a term that has become widespread but is often misunderstood. In the 2000s-2010s, many companies associated this term with chaos. However, in reality, frameworks in this realm impose more rigor than traditional working methods. Fortunately, today, companies have a much clearer perspective on this concept.

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About Judicaël Paquet 368 Articles
Judicaël Paquet (agile coach and senior devops) My Engagements in France and Switzerland: - Crafting Agile Transformation Strategies - Tailored Agile Training Programs - Raising Awareness and Coaching for Managers - Assessing Agile Maturity and Situational Analysis - Agile Coaching for Teams, Organizations, Product Owners, Scrum Masters, and Agile Coaches Areas of Expertise: Scrum, Kanban, Management 3.0, Scalability, Lean Startup, Agile Methodology.

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