Introduction to Agile for Newbies

Steve Bailey
6 min readSep 29, 2021
Photo by Leon on Unsplash

There is an enormous amount of content related to ‘Agile’ seconds away with a search query in a browser. In this article I would like to introduce Agile for those who would like to have a broader understanding of Agile. With more companies & industries taking note of the transformative benefits of an organisation adopting Agile behaviours, it is no wonder why McKinsey stated in a 2019 article that ‘Agility is catching fire’. I was introduced to the concepts of Agile in 2018 and since then have begun a journey of shifting my approaches to be closer aligned to the Agile behaviours. I still have some way to go at executing Agile effectively, however I am enjoying all the learnings and developing as an individual and as a leader. I would like to share my thoughts centered around a broad introduction on the topic.

Defining Agile

The Agile Alliance, which was founded on the Manifesto (we will get to later) for Agile Software Development, describes Agile as the ability to create and respond to change. It is a way of dealing with, and ultimately succeeding in, an uncertain and turbulent environment. Atlassian, the company behind one of the most successful project management software on the market — JIRA states that — Agile is an iterative approach to project management and software development that helps teams deliver value to their customers faster and with fewer headaches. Within ‘Building the Agile Business Through Digital Transformation’, Neil Perkin & Peter Abraham describe how businesses can reach a new level of Agility from combining three critical factors, which they express as a formula:

Agility = Fast x Focused x Flexible.

Waterfall Methodology

Agile’s origins are linked to deficiencies in an older project methodology called Waterfall. The Waterfall methodology has key differences to Agile, chiefly it is a sequential development process. A typical waterfall model would have the below phases, where the next phase cannot begin until the current one is complete. When the sequential processes are mapped like the below example, it resembles a Waterfall.