The Agile Principles These Companies Live By — And Why

by Alton Zenon III
December 11, 2019

The first principle of the Agile Manifesto says that early and continuous software delivery breeds customer satisfaction. 

Wojciech Szela, director of engineering at NexTravel, said this tenet is his team’s North Star when working to create tools that help businesses around the world book, manage and expense employee travel.

The Agile framework touches on topics ranging from minimizing work to the benefits of face-to-face communication. We spoke with Szela and Builder Founder Sachin Dev Duggal about which Agile principles serve their team — and which they don’t find useful.

 

The Agile Manifesto's 12 principles

  1. Customer satisfaction by early and continuous delivery of valuable software.
  2. Welcome changing requirements, even in late development.
  3. Deliver working software frequently (weeks rather than months).
  4. Close, daily cooperation between business people and developers.
  5. Projects are built around motivated individuals, who should be trusted.
  6. Face-to-face conversation is the best form of communication (co-location).
  7. Working software is the primary measure of progress.
  8. Sustainable development, able to maintain a constant pace.
  9. Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design.
  10. Simplicity (the art of maximizing the amount of work not done) is essential.
  11. Best architectures, requirements and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.
  12. Regularly, the team reflects on how to become more effective and adjusts accordingly.

 

NexTravel’s team chatting
NexTravel

Director of Engineering Wojciech Szela said NexTravel’s project teams follow all 12 Agile principles with the main objective of delivering working software to their customers in a timely fashion.

 

Of the 12 principles in the Agile Manifesto, which ones are important to your team and why?

We believe in all 12 Agile principles. We measure our success through the frequent delivery of value to our customers in the form of working software. Such focus on the delivery of value aligns very well with Agile Principles No. 2, 3 and 7. However, we wouldn’t be able to achieve our success without following other principles as well; they all support each other.

We move swiftly through development, code review, testing, release and the delivery of software increments on a daily basis.”

 

Which principles does your team intentionally overlook, and why?

In order to be able to constantly deliver value to our customers, we need to first identify what brings the most value. That’s why we review and reprioritize the backlog on a weekly basis. It gives us confidence that every contribution and software increment has a meaningful impact on customers.

Our development process is streamlined. We move swiftly through development, code review, testing, release and the delivery of software increments on a daily basis; it’s our way of managing risk. While this requires more frequent, in-person communication, these smaller changes are easier to develop, test and release, which ultimately bring value to customers.

 

Builder's team in group photo
builder

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to creating software for clients as diverse as NBC Universal and India’s largest self-driving car rental company, Zoomcar. So Builder’s Chief Wizard and Founder Sachin Dev Duggal said team members are encouraged to be flexible and experiment in order to discover the best solution for customers. 


 
Of the 12 principles in the Agile Manifesto, which ones are important to your team and why?

Principles No. 2 (“welcoming changing requirements”) and 12 (“team regularly reflects on how to become more effective”) are core values here, no matter the department. 

Our mission to improve the traditional processes of software development requires patience, flexibility and the ability to walk away from what you thought was the right answer when new learnings arise. 

We’re a team of people with differing beliefs and ideas. We are experts in our respective fields but are not blinded by the paths already taken. We need to be willing to move beyond tried and tested routes and experiment often. And it is critical that every person at the company is empowered to bring their ideas to the table. 

We need to be willing to move beyond tried and tested routes and experiment often.”

 

Which principles does your team intentionally overlook, and why?

We are a global company with split headquarters in Los Angeles and London, supported by offices in Delhi, Tokyo and other growing teams around the world. So principle No. 6, “The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation,” is not always possible. 

That is not to say that communication and transparency within teams and across departments is not of the utmost importance; we just make other means of communication work for us. Video check-ins, Slack messaging and project management tools are key in the day-to-day, and I also send department-wide emails and conduct global town halls quarterly.

 

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