What is Agile? Definition and Benefits of Agile

If you are a programmer, a project manager, or someone working in the information technology field, you have probably heard of the term Agile.

Agile is considered one of the most modern and effective project management trends today. But, what is Agile? What does the Agile method include? What are the benefits and disadvantages of Agile? Let's find out through this article by Recruitery, please!

The Definition of Agile

Definition of Agile

What is Agile? Agile is an English word meaning flexible and agile. In the context of project management, Agile is a set of principles and values put forth by 17 information technology professionals in 2001 in a document called the Agile Manifesto.

The Agile Manifesto includes 4 core values and 12 principles to guide software development teams to operate in an agile way, adapting to the market and customers.

The four core values of Agile Manifesto

Certainly, the four core values of the Agile Manifesto are:

  • Individuals and Interactions over Processes and Tools
  • Working Software over Comprehensive Documentation
  • Customer Collaboration over Contract Negotiation
  • Responding to Change over Following a Plan

These core values serve as the foundation of Agile methodology, guiding teams in their approach to software development and project management.

The twelve principles of Agile Manifesto

The Agile Manifesto consists of twelve principles that guide Agile software development:

  • 1. Priority of Customer Satisfaction: The highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.
  • 2. Embrace Change: Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer's competitive advantage.
  • 3. Deliver Working Software Frequently: Deliver working software frequently, with a preference for shorter timescales.
  • 4. Collaboration: Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.
  • 5. Motivated Individuals: Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.
  • 6. Face-to-Face Communication: The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.
  • 7. Working Software as a Measure: Working software is the primary measure of progress.
  • 8. Sustainable Development: Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
  • 9. Technical Excellence: Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.
  • 10. Simplicity: Simplicity, the art of maximizing the amount of work not done, is essential.
  • 11. Self-Organizing Teams: The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.
  • 12. Regular Reflection and Adjustment: At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.

These principles serve as a foundation for Agile methodologies and practices, emphasizing customer collaboration, flexibility, teamwork, and a focus on delivering valuable working software.

Methods of Agile

 methods of agile 

Agile has many different methods. Source: Krasamo

Besides learning what Agile is, the Agile method is equally important. This is a general concept that refers to project management methods based on the values and principles of the Agile Manifesto.

There are many different Agile methods, but they all have some common characteristics, including:

  • Breaking the project down into small, measurable, and valuable goals for the customer, called user stories.
  • Using short iterations, called sprints, to complete user stories in order of priority. Each sprint typically lasts from 1 to 4 weeks and ends with the delivery of a working version of the software to the customer.
  • Conducting daily meetings, called daily stand-ups, to track progress, handle problems, and improve team collaboration.
  • Conducting evaluations after each sprint, called sprint reviews, to get feedback from customers and stakeholders about the product.
  • Conducting learning experiences after each sprint, called a sprint retrospective, to comment on the team's work process and find ways to improve in the next sprint.

Some popular Agile methods today are:


Scrum is a framework for managing and developing complex products based on Agile principles. It is designed to help small and agile teams complete projects quickly and adapt to changes effectively.

In Scrum, a project is divided into cycles called sprints, typically lasting from 2 to 4 weeks. Each sprint includes the following steps:

  • Planning: Determine the tasks to be completed in this sprint based on the customer's list of requirements (product backlog) and their priorities.
  • Execution: Carry out the planned work, monitor progress, and address any issues encountered. Every day, the Scrum team holds a brief meeting (daily scrum) to report their completed work, upcoming tasks, and any challenges they've encountered.
  • Quality Assurance: Assess the quality and features of the finished product during the sprint, using testing, error checking, and error correction activities.
  • Review: The Scrum team, along with the customer and stakeholders, evaluates the sprint's results. They discuss what went well, areas that need improvement, and note any change requests for future sprints.

In Scrum, there are three main roles:

Product owner

Responsible for identifying and prioritizing customer requirements, creating and maintaining the product backlog, and ensuring that the end product delivers value to the customer

Scrum master

Support the Scrum team in applying Scrum principles and rules, resolving barriers and problems along the way, and facilitating collaboration between stakeholders

Development team

Team of developers with diverse skills, responsible for designing, building, testing and delivering a working product


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Extreme Programming (XP)

XP is a classic and popular Agile method, aimed at improving product quality and customer satisfaction through techniques such as:

  • Pair programming
  • Continuous integration
  • Test-driven development
  • Refactoring the source code

XP breaks development into short releases, typically ranging from one to four weeks. The development team selects requirements from customers to create the most important functionalities in each release.


Kanban is an Agile method that operates on the principle of "pull" rather than "push." Its key features include:

  • A Kanban board that displays the project's end-to-end workflow.
  • Tasks are recorded on cards and progress through columns representing various statuses, such as Waiting, Doing, and Done.
  • The aim is to reduce work completion time and enhance team performance.
  • Kanban does not require a change in the current process but instead limits the number of tasks in each state to prevent overloading and maintain workflow continuity.

Crystal Methodology

Crystal Methodology is a set of Agile methods proposed by Alistair Cockburn since 1991, adapted to each individual project. It operates on two fundamental assumptions: every project is different, and human communication is key to success.

Crystal Methodology comes in different levels, distinguished by colors, depending on the size, complexity, and risk of the project. Here are some examples:

  • Crystal Clear: Designed for small, low-risk, fast-changing projects. It emphasizes direct communication, continuous feedback, and clean code.
  • Crystal Yellow: Suitable for average projects with moderate risk and frequent changes. It employs tools to support communication, involves writing test cases, and reviewing source code.
  • Crystal Orange: Tailored for large, high-risk projects with fewer changes. It involves creating a detailed project plan, including milestones, roles, responsibilities, and quality standards. Additionally, it includes the documentation of design and test processes.
  • Crystal Red: Intended for very large projects with very high risks and minimal changes. It follows a strict management process, including progress reports, change control, risk management, and security testing. Detailed documents are prepared for each phase of the project.

Feature-Driven Development (FDD)

FDD is an Agile method centered around product features and consists of five key steps:

1. Project planning

2. Creation of object models

3. Listing features

4. Planning each feature

5. Designing and building according to each feature

Each feature is typically completed within a two-week timeframe. Furthermore, FDD places a strong emphasis on cooperation within the team and with customers.

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The Benefits of Agile

Benefits of Agile

Beyond the definition of what Agile is, Recruitery also shared that Agile has many benefits compared to traditional methods, such as:

  • Increase the ability to adapt to changes in customer requirements and the business environment.
  • Increase customer satisfaction and engagement, by continuously demonstrating products and receiving feedback for improvements.
  • Increase product quality, by continuously testing, refactoring source code, and applying programming standards.
  • Increase team effectiveness, by creating a collaborative, transparent, and self-governing environment.
  • Reduce project risks and costs, by developing products in short-term batches and releasing them frequently.

Common Tools in Agile Management

To support Agile adoption, various tools are utilized for project management, progress tracking, requirement documentation, and team collaboration. Some of the most popular tools include:

  • Jira: Jira is a widely used tool for Agile project management. It supports Scrum, Kanban, and other Agile methodologies. It allows teams to plan, track, and manage their work, including user stories, sprints, and releases.
  • Trello: Trello is a visual project management tool based on Kanban boards. It is user-friendly and provides a simple way to manage tasks, prioritize work, and collaborate with team members.
  • Asana: Asana is a versatile project management tool that supports Agile methodologies. It offers features for task management, project planning, and team collaboration. It also provides templates for Agile workflows.

Some Advantages and Disadvantages of Agile

Besides learning what Agile is, it's essential to consider the pros and cons of Agile.

Certainly, here are the advantages and disadvantages of Agile methodology in project management:


  • Flexibility and Adaptability: Agile allows teams to adapt to changing requirements and priorities during the project. This flexibility is especially valuable in industries with rapidly changing market conditions.
  • Customer Satisfaction: Agile prioritizes delivering working software or products early and frequently, ensuring that customers receive value throughout the project. This leads to higher customer satisfaction.
  • Continuous Feedback: Agile encourages regular feedback from stakeholders, including customers and end-users. This feedback loop helps in course correction, reducing the risk of delivering a product that doesn't meet user needs.
  • Higher Quality: Agile practices, such as continuous testing and code refactoring, lead to higher product quality. Bugs and issues are addressed early in the development process.
  • Team Collaboration: Agile promotes close collaboration among team members, stakeholders, and customers. Cross-functional teams work together to achieve project goals.
  • Reduced Project Risk: Agile breaks the project into small, manageable iterations, reducing the risk associated with large-scale project failures.
  • Faster Time to Market: Agile projects typically deliver features or products faster due to shorter development cycles (sprints).


  • Customer Availability: Agile requires active customer involvement throughout the project. Some customers may not have the time or expertise to participate effectively.
  • Uncertain Costs and Timelines: Agile projects can be challenging to estimate in terms of time and cost because requirements can change frequently.
  • Lack of Documentation: Agile prioritizes working software over comprehensive documentation. This can be a disadvantage in industries with strict regulatory requirements.
  • Scope Creep: Agile's flexibility can lead to scope creep, where the project keeps expanding as new requirements emerge.
  • Not Suitable for All Projects: Agile is best suited for projects with evolving or unclear requirements. It may not be suitable for projects with well-defined, fixed requirements.
  • Technical Expertise: Agile requires team members with strong technical and communication skills. Teams lacking these skills may struggle with Agile practices.
  • Resistance to Change: Transitioning to Agile may face resistance from team members or stakeholders accustomed to traditional project management methods.
  • Continuous Involvement: Agile requires ongoing commitment and involvement from all team members. It may not work well if team members have conflicting responsibilities or time constraints.

How to Apply Agile to Projects

One way to apply Agile in project management is to use short iterations called sprints. Each sprint is a set period of time, typically one to four weeks, during which project teams complete a set of high-priority tasks.

After each sprint, project teams can evaluate results, receive feedback from customers, and adjust plans for the next sprint. This gives project teams more flexibility in dealing with constant challenges and changes.

Agile also encourages close collaboration between team members and customers, creating a positive and respectful work environment.

In conclusion, Recruitery hopes that this article has provided valuable insights into what Agile is and its significance in modern project management. We have explored the fundamental principles and values of Agile, various Agile methods, their benefits and drawbacks, as well as the tools commonly used for Agile project management. 

If you're wondering, "What is Agile?"—this article of Recruitery has offered a comprehensive answer, equipping you with the knowledge to thrive in the Agile-driven world of project management.