19 Apr 2023

What is Agile?

So what is Agile? Agile is an iterative approach to project management that emphasizes flexibility, collaboration, and customer satisfaction. It is a response to the limitations of the traditional Waterfall method, which was the dominant project management approach in the software industry for many years.

The Waterfall method is a linear, sequential approach to software development, where each phase of the project is completed before moving on to the next. This approach assumes that all requirements can be defined upfront, and the project team can execute the plan without significant changes.

However, in practice, this approach often fails because requirements change over time, and it's difficult to predict everything at the beginning of a project. Changes to the plan can be costly and time-consuming, leading to delayed delivery and unsatisfied customers.

In response to these challenges, a group of software development thought leaders came together in 2001 to create the Agile Manifesto, a set of values and guiding principles for agile software development.

Manifesto for Agile Software Development

It spawned from many frameworks that encompassed the values and principles of this customer-centric, value driven approach to delivery such as Scrum, DSDM, Kanban or Lean.


Individuals and interactions over processes and tools

Working solutions over comprehensive documentation

Customer collaboration over contract negotiation

Responding to change over following a plan


The signatories of these value acknowledged that “while there is value in the items on the right”, they “value the items on the left more”.

These values emphasize the importance of flexibility, customer satisfaction, and collaboration in software development. Agile projects prioritize delivering value early and frequently, welcoming change throughout the development process, and working closely with customers to understand their needs and feedback.

The benefits began to spread into many other parts of organisations which led to a slight adaption of the original values to cover non-I.T. projects.


By adopting agile processes, teams could stay productive and focused on customer needs, being able to adapt to increasingly complex and uncertain environments. Agile has a specific focus on people and providing useful outputs and value as you go rather than waiting right until the end to deliver everything in one go.