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The twelve principles of agile software development were laid out in the Manifesto for Agile Software Development in 2001. The manifesto, written by a group of software developers, offers an alternative approach to the traditional method of waterfall development which often resulted in inefficiencies among teams.
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Although there are twelve principles in total, there are four key principles of agile development that lie at the core of this methodology.
- Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
- Working software over comprehensive documentation
- Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
- Responding to change over following a plan
The core principles are the basis of agile. Chiefly, they emphasize the importance of people, collaboration, and flexibility in software development. They also highlight the importance of delivering working software to customers early and often. In this way, developers can incorporate feedback into the development process. Overall, this is one of the key reasons for adopting agile methodology into software development.
The remaining eight principles of the agile manifesto further develop the practicing guide for implementing and executing agile methodology for software development. The developeers who wrote the manifesto originally intended these principles specifically for the development of software. However, other industries have since adopted agile methodology, as it helps to enhance and reinforce:
- Sustainable development, which basically means that a team is able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely
- Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design
- Simplicity—the essential art of maximizing the amount of work not done
- The robust architectures, requirements, and designs that emerge from self-organizing teams
- Team reflection at regular intervals, providing them with opportunities to become more effective by tuning and adjusting their behavior accordingly
- Building projects around motivated individuals, giving them the environment and support they need, and trusting them to do the job brilliantly
- Face-to-face conversation, the most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team
- The daily and vital working together of businesspeople and developers throughout the project
The key to these principles is that teams must prioritize continuous improvement within development projects. They must also work as part of a well-structured, self-organized team to produce the most effective and efficient results. Above all, they must meet the requirements of the customer’s needs.
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By implementing agile methodology into software development teams, there are a number of benefits to be had. This is true not only for team members and customers, but also for the organization as a whole. Specifically, these benefits include:
- Faster delivery of software: Agile teams deliver working software to customers frequently, which means that customers get the features they need sooner.
- Increased customer satisfaction: Agile teams work closely with customers to gather feedback and incorporate it into the development process. This helps to ensure that the software meets the needs of the customers.
- Improved quality: Agile teams focus on technical excellence and good design. This helps to improve the quality of the software and reduce the number of defects.
- Increased team morale: Agile teams are self-organizing and motivated. This creates a positive work environment that leads to increased productivity and job satisfaction.
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