History, Principles, Relevance

Agile development methods are more suited to today’s increasingly complex business practises and projects than traditional waterfall processes and project development methods. We support you through every step of the agile transformation of your enterprise.

The Rugby-Approach

The roots of agile development reach back to the early 1980s. In fact, agile principles were first used in designing physical products, only to be adapted later for software development.

Agile methods can be traced to the publication of “The New New Product Development Game” by Hirotaka Takeuchi and Ikujiro Nonaka in the Harvard Business Review in 1986. Both academics had examined six product development projects and were able to determine the superiority of the “Rugby Approach”, as they called it, over the traditional waterfall approach. The projects all involved complex mechatronic products – from photocopiers to city vehicles.

Takeuchi and Nonaka identified six factors of success:

  • Built-in instability
  • Self-organizing project teams
  • Overlapping development phases
  • “Multilearning”
  • Subtle control
  • Organizational transfer of learning

The Agile Manifesto

Agile development methods were crucially refined for software development during the mid-1990s. But in 2001, 17 software developers gathered in Snowbird, Utah, expressing common ideas and approaches that became the Agile Manifesto. Its four tenets are the foundation for agile approaches, suitable for the development of software and hardware:

  • individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • working software over comprehensive documentation
  • customer collaboration over contract negotiaton
  • responding to change over following a plan

© 2001, the Agile Manifesto authors

12 agile principles

The agile manifesto is formulated by twelve principles. You can read them here: https://www.agilealliance.org/agile101/12-principles-behind-the-agile-manifesto/

Empirical process control

In recent years, high levels of uncertainty have shaped complex business areas and projects. That uncertainty extends to demands of the marketplace, to clients and to the types of technological solutions they require. Under these circumstances, empirical process control outdoes defined process control. As such, agile development methods like Scrum, Kanban, SAFe® or LeSS® are more suited to these changeable times.

Generating transparency, analysing development results and adapting solutions: this control circuit sequence has proved to be successful in many occasions. On the one hand, companies are able to receive feedback from clients on the current state of development, which can be fed into the development process. On the other hand, they can ensure the quality of their products, reducing technological uncertainty and attaining high-quality design output that conforms to market standards.

Agile principles date back to successful hardware development projects
  • In the 1980s, Hirotaka Takeuchi and Ikujiro Nonaka analysed six successful complex mechatronic development projects.
  • They identified six success factors on which the foundation of agile development was built.
  • Agile methods were later adapted for software development.
  • The Agile Manifesto describes four tenets of agile development, extended to twelve principles.
  • Empirical process control is superior to defined process control when it comes to complex business areas and projects.
  • The purpose of agile methods is value-oriented, regular, reliable and accurate delivery of product increments.