Agile is an iterative approach to project management and software development that helps teams deliver value to their customers faster and with less headache. Rather than betting everything on a massive launch, an agile team provides work in small but consumable stages. Requirements, plans, and outcomes are continually evaluated so that teams have a natural mechanism to react quickly to changes.
Agile is not defined by a series of specific development techniques or ceremonies. Rather, Agile is a group of methodologies that demonstrate a commitment to tight feedback loops and continuous improvement.
Today, Agile is a well-known development methodology and the approach of choice for many development teams, especially those looking to create a continuous delivery environment.
When we think of Agile, we often think of high levels of collaboration and flexibility, as well as an iterative environment where requirements evolve with changing needs. As a result, we also tend to conceptualize Agile as an approach that helps development teams in various industries deliver new functions faster.
But how did we get there? What does the agile story entail? And how can understanding the history of agile help us better understand the methodology and its positive impact in today's development world? We'll see.
It all started in the spring of 2000 when a group of 17 software developers including Martin Fowler, Jim Highsmith, Jon Kern, Jeff Sutherland, Ken Schwaber, and Bob Martin gathered in Oregon to discuss how to accelerate development times for bringing new software to market faster. They recognized two key opportunities that achieving this goal would make possible:
- Shorten delivery times for users in order to solve the graveyard problems of product development and adaptation to the market
- Get quick feedback from users to confirm the new software's usefulness and keep improving accordingly.
While this meeting did not lead to the Agile methodology we know today, it was a milestone in the history of Agile, as speed to market, quick returns, and continuous improvement are the hallmarks of the Agile methodology.