The Agile Manifesto #1

Anyone who has been involved with agile software development or project management would have likely at one time read the Agile Manifesto. I would like to dissect these somewhat simple yet powerful precepts and discuss whether we have lost sight of these principals, since it was written way back in February 2001, more than 19 years ago. In this post I will focus more on the historical perspective of the Agile Manifesto; where in future posts we will delve into each of the principals and our adherence or lack of adherence today. The other question we will explore is the Agile Manifesto still relevant?

The agile manifesto states:

We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it. 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

That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.

The authors of the Agile Manifesto include

    • Kent Beck
    • Mike Beedle
    • Arie van Bennekum
    • Alistair Cockburn
    • Ward Cunningham
    • Martin Fowler
    • James Grenning
    • Jim Highsmith
    • Andrew Hunt
    • Ron Jeffries
    • Jon Kern
    • Brian Marick
    • Robert C. Martin
    • Steve Mellor
    • Ken Schwaber
    • Jeff Sutherland
    • Dave Thomas

This group of collaborators was actually the who’s who of software development at the time representing various frameworks including Extreme Programming, SCRUM, DSDM, Adaptive Software Development, Crystal, Feature-Driven Development, Pragmatic Programming, and several others. When you think about it, this was somewhat amazing that they could agree on a set of principles that would become what we consider agile today. In addition to the Agile Manifesto the group created 12 Principles for Agile Software development:

    1. Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.
    2. Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage.
    3. Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.
    4. Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.
    5. Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.
    6. The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.
    7. Working software is the primary measure of progress.
    8. Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
    9. Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.
    10. Simplicity–the art of maximizing the amount of work not done–is essential.
    11. The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.
    12. At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.

I hope this was a good refresher on the Agile Manifesto. In the past I would start with this when teaching a class on Scrum to set the stage for what is possible. My next post will go into detail on the principles advocated by the Agile Manifesto.




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