agile software development

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agile software development

An umbrella term for a variety of best practices in creating applications and information systems. These methods have proven to be more effective in dealing with changing requirements during the development phase, which always seem to occur. Also called "lean programming," the agile methods emphasize teamwork, customer involvement and, most significantly, the creation of small or partial pieces of the total system that are tested in a user environment. For example, an application with 25 features might be prototyped with only five or six thoroughly completed before adding more, and so on.

The "Agile Manifesto" was created in 2001 by 17 people involved with Scrum, XP and other software development methods, and the Agile Alliance ( was founded to promote the agile philosophy. Contrast with waterfall development. See Scrum, XP, DSDM and iterative development.

The Agile Manifesto
Following is a summary of the philosophy behind the Manifesto (for details on all twelve of its principles, visit It states that although the items on the right have value, the items on the left (in bold) have more value.

Individuals and interactions over processes and tools.

Working software over comprehensive documentation.

Customer collaboration over contract negotiations.

Responding to change over following a plan.
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