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What is Agile?

15 January 2018

Vivek Garg
Tata Consultancy Services

Most people have misconceptions about Agile and the philosophy behind it. They think that by following Agile practices, such as conducting certain Scrum/Agile ceremonies or meetings, they are being Agile. But this thinking is not correct.

Merely following a ceremony in the absence of the Agile mindset, Agile principles, and Agile values is not being Agile. Agile is more of a philosophy than a framework.

Agile philosophy (Agile mindset, Agile principles, and Agile values)

Agile is a mindset described by the 4 values and the 12 principles of the Agile Manifesto, and it is manifested through an unlimited number of practices, tools, and processes. Still, implementing the practices, tools, and processes without the Agile mindset, values, and principles of the Agile Manifesto is not considered being Agile.

Agile is a collection of beliefs that the team can use to decide on how to do the work (developing software, for example). Agile (or agility) is a mindset — a way of thinking about product development. Therefore, a strong focus should be on the mindset, values, and principles — not just on Agile practices. Agile practices are just tools to achieve the work. These practices must be tailored according to the organization or project requirements, or according to the Agile maturity of the team or organization.

Opinions represent those of the author and not of Scrum Alliance. The sharing of member-contributed content on this site does not imply endorsement of specific Scrum methods or practices beyond those taught by Scrum Alliance Certified Trainers and Coaches.

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