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The Agile Manifesto, published in 2001, is a brief but insightful document built on four values and 12 principles for software development. Software development practitioners noticed the ever-increasing need for a solid alternative to documentation-driven and heavy software development processes and came together to create the Agile Manifesto.

The Agile Manifesto is designed to not only improve software development methods but also addresses the inefficiencies and flaws of the traditional development process. More specifically, their dependency on heavy documentation and a big opportunity for oversight.

agile manifesto

The History of the Agile Manifesto 

In mid-February 2001, a group of 17 software developers gathered at a Utah ski resort. They were there to ski, relax, eat, and drink, of course, but more importantly, they were there to solve a problem. 

Despite having wildly differing perspectives on how to approach software development, the team agreed on one thing: the status quo was not working. There was a growing demand for a software development method that was not dependent on documentation.

They agreed that the problem was that companies were so preoccupied with planning and documenting their software development cycles that they had lost sight of what really mattered: satisfying their consumers.

Companies may have promoted corporate ideals such as “excellence” and “integrity,” but these values did little to steer people—particularly software developers—in the right direction. This had to change. Many of the developers had ideas about how to bring in the new era of software development, and the journey to the mountains gave them the opportunity to talk things out. 

With only 68 words, the Agile Manifesto was born, and the short and concise statement went on to transform software development forever. Although the Agile Manifesto was created for the software development community, it has also become a valuable resource for project planning across a wide range of industries, including IT, operations, marketing, HR, and sales. 

This group of developers became known as the Agile Alliance. Following the publication of the Agile Manifesto, the alliance developed to become a global non-profit organization with over 72,000 members. The Agile Alliance holds conferences on a regular basis and organizes projects to help local groups. 

4 Agile Values

  1. Individuals and interactions over processes and tools 
  2. Working software over comprehensive documentation
  3. Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  4. Responding to change over following a plan

The 12 Agile Principles

  1. Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.
  2. Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage.
  3. Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.
  4. Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.
  5. Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.
  6. The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.
  7. Working software is the primary measure of progress.
  8. Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
  9. Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.
  10. Simplicity–the art of maximizing the amount of work not done–is essential.
  11. The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.
  12. At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.

More than two decades have gone by since the Agile Manifesto was first published. In that time, teams all throughout the world have embraced the document’s four ideals and 12 principles, including New Target.

Why New Target Loves the Agile Manifesto 

At New Target, the principles of the Agile Manifesto guide all of our projects. It is a helpful resource for our software development team because it provides a flexible framework for our project managers while adhering to Agile best practices, allowing for creativity and freedom within a project while keeping our customers at the forefront of their minds. 

The Agile Manifesto also outlines what matters in Agile project management, allowing our different teams, from development to marketing, to prioritize their tasks and match their goals. 

For example, on any given project, our software developers are able to understand the importance of customer happiness, allowing them to build and develop solutions with that goal always in mind. 

There are no specific processes, procedures, or best practices for agile in the Agile Manifesto. This is done on purpose and one of the many reasons New Target loves it. The designers had no intention of creating a prescriptive framework or technique. Rather, they developed a philosophical approach to software development. 

A global team with offices in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles, Ca., we provide digital strategy, digital marketing, web design, and creative for brands you know and nonprofits you love.

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