Thursday, July 07, 2005

Agile Manifesto

In 2001, Kent Beck, Martin Fowler, Andy Hunt, Dave Thomas, and other software developers penned the Manifesto for Agile Software Development:
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.

This is old news of course. In April 2003 Ned weighed in with:
I like it, but it is hard to get fired up about a "manifesto". This isn't capitalism being replaced with communism here. Agility is a great thing, but the manifesto isn't so different from other inspirational pieces about software that have come before it. It seems evolutionary rather than revolutionary.

Although the authors called it a manifesto, they definitely tempered it with pragmatism. For example, they admit to the value of process. They just value individuals and interactions more than process.
The Agile movement is not anti-methodology, in fact, many of us want to restore credibility to the word methodology. We want to restore a balance. We embrace modeling, but not in order to file some diagram in a dusty corporate repository. We embrace documentation, but not hundreds of pages of never-maintained and rarely-used tomes. We plan, but recognize the limits of planning in a turbulent environment.

So it's not a revolution, but it will still take an army of developers to inject some sanity into big corporate bureaucracies. Where do I enlist?

For more on agile development see the Agile Alliance.

1 comment:

Pete said...

Dave, there is a group of Agile proponents at IBM. I joined it and received some news letters but not much was going on. If I still had my mail file or access to W3 I'm sure I could find a link, but alas I don't so I can only leave you this pointer.