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What is Agile: History, Definition, and Meaning
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Agile Definition | Agile Explained | Agile History | Agile Meaning | Agile Overview

What is Agile: History, Definition, and Meaning

Mangesh Shahi
Mangesh Shahi
Mangesh Shahi is an Agile, Scrum, ITSM, & Digital Marketing pro with 15 years' expertise. Driving efficient strategies at the intersection of technology and marketing.

What is Agile?

As per Oxford Dictionary, Agility means “being able to move fast and smoothly”. In the business world, “agile” is a trendy word used to describe people and companies that can adapt quickly to new technologies and changing business demands. It’s all about being flexible and responsive.

The term “agile” has evolved over time. Originally, it was a concept rooted in software development, emphasizing iterative and flexible approaches to project management. However, its use has expanded beyond IT and software into various industries, becoming a broader philosophy of adaptability and responsiveness to change. This shift highlights how agility has become a valuable trait in many aspects of modern work and life, emphasizing the ability to adjust and thrive in a rapidly changing world.


Agile in Project Management

Agile in project management is an approach that focuses on flexibility, collaboration, and delivering value in incremental stages. It’s a departure from traditional, linear project management methods. In Agile, a project is broken down into smaller, manageable parts, often called “sprints” or “iterations,” with a focus on constant feedback and adaptation.

Key Characteristics of Agile in Project Management include:

  1. Iterative Development
  2. Customer-Centric
  3. Collaboration
  4. Adaptability
  5. Value Delivery

Key characteristics of Agile in project management


Popular Agile methodologies include Scrum, Kanban, and Lean. Agile is widely used in software development, but its principles have been applied successfully in other fields, such as product development, marketing, and even construction. The goal of Agile project management is to increase project success rates by being more responsive to change and delivering products or services that better meet the needs of customers or stakeholders.


Agile in Software Development

Agile in software development is an approach that emphasizes flexibility, collaboration, and customer-centricity to create software applications. It’s a departure from traditional, rigid, and sequential development methods. In Agile, the software development process is broken down into smaller, manageable iterations, typically lasting two to four weeks, during which teams work on delivering a functional piece of the software.

Key principles and practices of Agile in software development include:

  1. Iterative Development
  2. Customer Collaboration
  3. Cross-Functional Teams
  4. Adaptability
  5. Prioritization and Value Delivery

Key principles and practices of Agile in software development


Some popular Agile methodologies used in software development include Scrum, Kanban, Extreme Programming (XP), and Lean Software Development. Agile principles have been widely adopted in the software industry because they improve the chances of delivering software that better aligns with customer needs, reduces development risks, and increases team productivity. This approach has proven effective for managing complex and rapidly changing software projects.


The History of Agile

The history of Agile is rooted in the need for more flexible and adaptive approaches to software development. It emerged as a response to the limitations of traditional, rigid project management methods. Here is a brief overview of the history of Agile:


The History of Agile


Notable milestones in the history of Agile include:

  • The creation of the Agile Alliance in 2001 to promote Agile principles and practices.
  • The growth of Scrum as a popular Agile methodology.
  • The development of the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) for applying Agile principles to large organizations.
  • The adoption of Agile methodologies by a wide range of industries, including finance, healthcare, and manufacturing.


Today, Agile has become a widely accepted and established approach to project management and development, with its principles being continuously adapted to various contexts and industries to enhance adaptability and customer-centricity.

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