After attending a conference on a new methodology for software development known as Agile, Shel Skinner, CEO of Blue Cloud Development, a small software development company located in Mountain View, California, hired consultants to introduce the methodology.
At its core, Agile emphasized multiple iterations and short time frames. Created by a group of software developers, the Agile Manifesto (2001) declared:
We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it.
Through this work we have come to value:
Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan
That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more
In addition, Agile held 12 principles:
- Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.
- Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage.
- Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.
- Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.
- Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.
- The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face‐to‐face conversation.
- Working software is the primary measure of progress.
- Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
- Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.
- Simplicity—the art of maximizing the amount of work not done—is essential.
- The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self‐organizing teams.
- At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.
“These principles spoke to me on a very fundamental level,” said Skinner. “These folks were saying out loud for what I’d been thinking most of my career.”
- What was the trigger event that led Shel Skinner to adopt Agile?
- What is your evaluation of the change implementation steps followed by Skinner?
- What behavioral changes, if any, does Agile require of employees?
- How do you account for such widely varied responses to Agile among Blue Cloud employees?
- What should Skinner do now?