Our agile manifesto

We’re often asked how we implement agile in a digital world so I thought it would be useful to publish our Agile Manifesto; it’s our guiding light and philosophy rolled into one.

We follow these 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.

How we work:

  • We deliver for the benefit of the stakeholder
  • Everything we deliver is a step towards a shared goal and has a commercial benefit
  • Development is done in small chunks, released frequently and in a specific order
  • Feedback is received at every stage and we always have the ability to rollback
  • We focus on the 80% and release, don’t get caught up in the final resource-intensive bits
  • Timescales are fixed, deliverables can change
  • We deliver working products, until it is live it has no value, testing is inbuilt and continual
  • Decisions are made by the group, including the stakeholders and the developers, there is no middle or upper management sign-off
  • What’s being delivered is shared with all parties at all stages
  • If we can’t get an answer, make a decision and move on

What this gives us:

  • Increased productivity and value
  • Benefits from the outset
  • Greatly reduced management overhead
  • The ability to change as requirements change
  • Removal of unnecessary development
  • Continual and frequent improvements (kaizen)
  • No surprises

In our toolbox:

  • Project Central – Podio – everything we say and do lives here. To share our ideas, problems, information and to openly praise and chat
  • Stories – we live the purpose of the application and the application lives out the story
  • Regular scrums – Sharing what, as individuals, we’re going to deliver today and sharing any problems
  • Sprints – Giving focus to what we’re delivering for a project
  • Health checks – Communicating to everyone what’s happened, what’s going to happen and what’s changed
  • Timeboxing – Allocating a fixed period or amount of time that will be spent delivering something
  • Backlog – Deliverables are prioritised, we focus on the very next thing
  • Prototypes – Sharing ideas early for feedback
  • ‘The bell’ – Before the whole world falls to pieces, we ring the bell, step back, share the problem and work together to find a solution
  • Scoping – Sharing what we’re going to deliver, why, and how much it will cost

This is not cast in stone, this framework itself is agile and will change. When we understand every element of the above it will be past time to improve it.