What is Agile?

I met with a potential client last week and found my self answering the question, “what, in a nutshell, does agile mean?”.

To date I’ve never had a canned answer to this and can come from various directions perhaps talking about the history and how it’s an umbrella term for a whole bunch of things or maybe talk about what it’s like working on an agile team. On this occasion I was quite pleased with the answer that fell out:

  • Agile is about delivering business value!
  • Businesses tend to exist in a state of constant change so if we want to deliver something valuable to them then we need to be willing and able to embrace that change and deliver quickly.
  • In order to deliver quickly and deal with change we have found that quality is a necessary. This is particularly true if we want to continue to deliver over a sustained period.
  • At the bottom of this stack, underpinning all the elements mentioned so far is the need to treat workers with respect and empower them to do the right thing. Without this you wont achieve the quality or speed that you need.


Value <- Embrace Change <- Quality <- Respect & Empowerment.

Is there any more to it?

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