Mike Cushing / Development / August 21st, 2013

A Manifesto for Agile Web Development

We’ve been talking about our transition to agile web development for a while now, and for good reason: It’s improved employee morale, increased our production and created stronger client relationships.

But we haven’t talked much about what we value as agile web developers, about what makes working in an agile environment so attractive. Recently, I worked with one of our development teams and our CEO Geoff  to develop the core principles of agile web development, not only to remind ourselves what sets agile apart from the traditional waterfall model, but to offer inspiration to other digital agencies and web development companies interested in exploring agile.

We started by looking at the guiding principles of agile software development, the genesis of agile web development.

Agile has long been the dominant method of software development, and in 2001 a group of leading software developers, programmers and Scrum Masters met to build a framework of values and principles for agile, and the Manifesto for Agile Software Development was born.

As we transitioned to agile, we needed our own manifesto to help define our work. Unlike the software world, web projects are deeply integrated with designers, user experience specialists, marketing strategists, and quality assurance testers at every step of project development. Plus, software development timelines are often measured in months or years: We deliver viable websites in weeks.

So, while we were impressed and inspired by the beliefs of agile software development, we developed our own core values and principles for agile web developers, values that we believe every web development shop can benefit from.

values-of-agile-web-development
The Values of Agile Web Development

Those familiar with the Agile Software Development Manifesto will notice that our principles include terms that the software developers shied away from, namely “lightweight.”

While certain members of their “Agile Alliance” felt “lightweight” expressed feebleness, we feel it highlights one of the chief differences between software and web development. Working in an agile, we can provide a “lightweight” website in weeks to give our clients a platform for growth, iteration and expansion of features. We get our clients up and running in weeks, test our performance and then build new features that the site’s users demand.

You’ll find these in more detail at AgileWebDevelopmentManifesto.com. Our values helped us define why we work, but the principles of agile web development lay out how our teams work together to achieve success on every web project:

  • Cross-functional teams produce the strongest web development result. 
  • Each team should remain together throughout the entire web development project. 
  • Each team member shares full responsibility for the success of every aspect of the web development project. 
  • Technology choices should fit the project and its goals. 
  • Plan for change. 
  • A functional website, delivered quickly, is more important than a flashy website. 
  • Communication should be constant – especially with the client or stakeholder. 
  • Accountability works best if it is self-created. 

By implementing these values and principles, you will see incredible results. It improves your productivity, increases quality client outcomes and builds a stronger, team-based culture.

We know it has for us.

Feature image: visualpun.ch, Flickr
  • Bill Todd

    I really like the web development manifesto that you guys have come up with!