Principles Behind the Agile Manifesto – Part 1: Satisfaction, Changes and Frequency

Hello everyone! I’m back with another installment in my Back to Basics series. If this is your first look at the Back to Basics posts, or want a general overview of the Agile Manifesto and its principles, please check this post. This time, I’ll be talking about the first three principles listed, which will likely make this a series of four posts, covering a few principles each time.

Customer Satisfaction

Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.

Well that’s a good way to start. We’ve already identified the most important thing, no matter what you’re making, building, or doing: Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer.  It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, what your job title is, or who you report to. Every job, position, project or undertaking has a purpose behind it, and generally that purpose is to help someone. That someone is your customer. If your highest priority isn’t to satisfy that person, someone else will. Of course this principle also goes into how we can provide satisfaction: early and continuous delivery of value. Even if you’re not in software, this can still apply. Instead of holding all the value until you have a “complete product”, deliver working pieces of the product as soon as possible to ensure the customer is on the road towards satisfaction, then continue to deliver to keep that relationship positive.

Change is Power

Welcome changing requirements, even late in  development. Agile processes harness change for  the customer’s competitive advantage.

This ties right back into the first principle. If we want to satisfy our customer, then if the customer needs something to change, we must make adjustments. Regardless of how good a plan one has, or how long you’ve followed it, the plan is not valuable if it does not represent true value in the present. If your requirements seem to be fine, but then a sinkhole opens in front of you, are you going to change your plan, or jump right into the hole?  This seems simple, but changing momentum is hard, and having the courage to do so is even harder! Those who can harness change, however, will find greater satisfaction with the product, knowing that the best product possible was delivered.

High Frequency

Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.

Once again, we’re tying right back into principle numero uno here.  Deliver early. Deliver often. The shorter the time between delivery points, the more likely you will be to know what your customer needs. If you’re on the right track, they’ll be happy. If you’re not, you’ll change, and then they’ll be happy.  Some Agile teams deliver value so often, they are continuously integrating new features, taking even less than one day to complete and deliver a feature!

In Summary

The first 3 principles of the Agile Manifesto focus on delivering value and increasing customer satisfaction. By delivering early, often and frequently, and by allowing requirements to change whenever it is needed, we can ensure we deliver the most valuable product to our customers, thereby increasing the customers’ satisfaction! Happy customers make for happy workers!

Thanks for reading, more will be on the way soon. Please feel free to leave comments below!