What Does It Mean to Be Agile?

Laurie Williams, a professor at North Carolina State University, recently conducted a survey to find out which principles and practices are used by agile teams. If you read my monthly newsletter, you probably saw the announcement asking for people to participate. She had over 300 responses. Among the findings were that these are the most important principles based on the number of respondents rating their importance as “Very High”:

  1. Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.
  2. Working software is the primary measure of progress.
  3. Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.
  4. Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.
  5. At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.

The survey also asked which agile project management practices were essential for a team to be considered agile. The top five were:

  1. Short iterations (30 days or less)
  2. Continuous integration
  3. “Done” criteria
  4. Automated tests are run with each build
  5. Automated unit testing

She is doing a follow-up survey about the agile principles. You can take that survey online. I will share the results here when they are available.