We believe in…
Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer / product owner collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan
Taking RAD one step further, the goal was to work with people collaboratively to create software to help people and business. The initial meeting (SCRUM) with all hands attending, defined the features desired and their priority. Small, focused, uninterrupted (in theory) cohorts of developers and customer / product owners work together within a fixed period (Sprint) to create small, finished assets that can be used immediately by the customer. Customer / product owners own the product / need and Developers own the build and how long it will take. The Scrum Master facilitates meetings and clears trouble out of the way so the teams can continue. All roles are equal in authority. The project continues until the customer / product owners agree that they have what they need. You’ll be surprised about what happened next…
The Agile Manifesto was unveiled in the mid 80s. The teams who were building Personal Computers (PCs) and software, primarily on the West Coast of the US, started moving to this model. The large companies did not. New methods like Extreme Programming were first versions of this approach. In the last five years, suddenly Agile is all the rage. Large companies are working to bring Agile into their organizations. This creates one significant problem: who’s in control? In Agile, there are clear roles for developers, customer / product owners and the Scrum Master (facilitator). No one is in charge – everyone is. You’ll read about that in the next section.
Let’s go back to Waterfall. The easiest way to understand what the buzz is all about with Agile is to think of that model: Analysis, Design, Build, Implement, Transition. Imagine that you took one small need that the customer / product owner requested and defined, and you built just that little piece quickly with the customer / product owner’s collaboration. That’s what Agile is. As you’ll see in the next section, being Agile requires a different mindset, especially in roles.