So,What is Agile Really?

So, you have been confused, what to call Agile ? Is it a process, a framework, a methodology or may be something beyond all of the above.

There have been many definitions, texts and books which talk about what Agile is and the definitions are myriad, varied, sometimes humorous and sometimes out-right ridiculous.

Agile Software Development as a term came into existence with the advent of Agile Manifesto in 2001 ( Almost 18 years to the date (Yay! Agile Manifesto is adult now :D. It can legally have  drink ;)))

But why did the authors of Agile Manifesto choose the name “Agile’ in first place.

As per the excerpts from Agile Alliance website:


“The authors of the Agile Manifesto chose “Agile” as the label for this whole idea because that word represented the adaptiveness and response to change which was so important to their approach.

It’s really about thinking through how you can understand what’s going on in the environment that you’re in today, identify what uncertainty you’re facing, and figure out how you can adapt to that as you go along”


But in the current times and context, can we still define What Agile is?


My favorite one is Agile being a Philosophy. A Body of knowledge which drives everything from Scrum to Devops to XP.

But Why call it a Philosophy?


First, let’s get into what a Philosophy is:

As per the early works from Cicero and Diogenes Laertius in 3rd century, AD, A Philosophy has 3 core divisions:

  • Physics
  • Ethics
  • Logic

So, let’s see how Agile fits into all these realms:

Physics is the study of Existence, objects and their properties, wholes and their parts, events, processes.

In an Agile world, this translates to a current state assessment, identify the events and processes the team needs to adopt to and also which process to use when.

Ethics is the study of good or bad , values , good and bad conduct.

It is important for an Agile team to understand these core values and their values as team. These form the basis of their transformation to a great team

Logic is the study of reasoning and argument.

It is about establishing the principles which need to be imbibed. It is about , what forms the core of the team.


The Principles and Values ( Logic and Ethics above) are the core to an Agile transformation.

Any organization, team and individual claiming to ‘Be Agile” needs to the very least align with and imbibe the principles and values as described in the Agile manifesto. But do these principles and values apply only to software development. Most certainly not

Because if you study them carefully, you would find that every single principle and value written there holds true everywhere in real life.

But the practices and frameworks you choose are a result of your metaphysical transformation as a team and an organization. What you want to achieve, what are your key pain areas, what’s the current state, How you want to transform.

Choose wisely here because sticking to wrong practices may make your transformation delayed and more painful!


Once the coaches, trainers, managers and leaders, understand this fundamental viewpoint about Agile, it becomes easier for them to identify and classify where they are right now and where they want to be!

Disclaimer: The views about Agile are purely from the author’s understanding and experience. These may vary from author to author and from different knowledge sources. Author in no way claims to represent his views to be perfect. 

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