The Agile methodology goes beyond it’s application in programming. We certainly aim to use it that way at SocialOptic, but there’s something for all businesses to learn from what’s been happening in the programming world.

Jim and I recently headed into London to join a long list of folks at Agilecamp, an unconference at the end of the two day Agile Business Conference. You can hear organiser Tim Difford’s audioboos from the event and AudioBoo developer Thomas Haggett explained how agile is used to develop the AudioBoo application.

Mark Kobayashi-Hillary then spoke about Agile Outsourcing and the progress made in working with suppliers. Mark wrote a post on Computing’s Talking outsourcing blog about our discussion afterwards, where we discussed the tricky challenges of meshing the new with the old – Thank you to Dave Evans for his insights as well.

For those new to the agile methodology, here are the main principles, the DSDM Atern way at least, based on a philosophy of Process, People, Products and Practices:

  1. Focus on the business need.
  2. Deliver on time.
  3. Collaborate.
  4. Never compromise quality.
  5. Develop iteratively.
  6. Build incrementally from foundations.
  7. Communicate continuously and clearly.
  8. Demonstrate control.

You might want to read the Agile Manifesto too:

…Through this work we have come to value:
Individuals and interactions over processes and tools.
Working software over comprehensive documentation.
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation.
Responding to change over following a plan.
…while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.

SocialOptic tools, like Milestone Planner, aren’t just built this way, they are designed to enable people to work this way. For me, the most significant take away from the afternoon was this: Traditional methods treat programming as a process of production. The future is in treating it as a creative process that results in elegant solutions to difficult problems.

More of a flavour of the event in pictures: