The Agile Manifesto is a short and concise document in which the 4 values and 12 principles for Agile software development are described. The document is the result of a brainstorming session in a ski resort, where 17 individuals who were active in software development talked about how they all encountered the same problems: (software) projects were too heavy, too long, too unwieldy, too oriented towards documentation and not developed quickly enough.
The 4 values of Agile
The manifesto starts with saying that in order to improve development, you should actually do it (compared to talking about it / documenting it) and help others do it as well. The group decided on the following overarching values:
- Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
- Working software over comprehensive documentation
- Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
- Responding to change over following a plan
Finally, the manifesto provides a small disclaimer; although both points have value, they consider the points on the left more important than those on the right.
The 12 principles of Agile
In addition to the 4 overarching values, 12 principles have also been developed that provide further insight into the Agile philosophy. These values are:
- Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.
- Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage.
- Deliver a working product (intially software) frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.
- Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.
- Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.
- The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.
- A functional product / working software is the primary measure of progress.
- Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
- Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.
- Simplicity — the art of maximizing the amount of work not done — is essential.
- The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.
- At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.
How did the Agile Manifesto come about?
Some proponents of the Extreme Programming methodology had gathered at a meeting in Oregon in the US in the spring of 2000. There was talk of support for ‘light’ methodologies and processes. Based on this session, articles were written about ‘light methodologies’ such as ‘Extreme Programming’ (XP), Adaptive software development, Crystal and SCRUM. In September of that year it was decided to plan a follow-up meeting with all the inventors of these ‘light’ methodologies to further discuss the subject.
This session finally took place on February 2001 in Snowbird, Utah. The inventors of the different methodologies turned out to have more in common than thought. The term ‘light’ was soon replaced by Agile, the group called itself ‘The Agile Alliance’ and the manifesto was drawn up in 3 days and signed by all participants.
Who created the Agile Manifesto?
17 individuals from the world of software development (including a number of inventors of various ‘light’ methodologies) have devised, written down and signed the Agile Manifesto. These were:
- Mike Beedle – Co-autheur of Scrum, Agile Software Development
- Arie van Bennekum – assessor of DSDM en active in de DSDM community.
- Alistair Cockburn – creator of the Crystal methodologies, where the focus lies on people and communication, and less on plans and documentation
- Ward Cunningham – creator of Wiki and expert in object oriented programming
- Martin Fowler – software developer who has played a major role in publicizing the added value of refactoring
- Jim Highsmith – creator of Adaptive Software Development
- Andy Hunt – co-author of The Pragmatic Programmer
- Ron Jeffries – co-creator of eXtreme Programming
- Jon Kern – among others champion of Feature Driven Development and was already working on ‘light’ iterative methodologies at an early stage
- Brian Marick – software developer and writer of several programming books
- Robert Martin – software developer and editor-in-chief of C++ Report
- Ken Schwaber – co-creator of SCRUM
- Jeff Sutherland – co-creator of SCRUM
- Kent Beck – co-creator of eXtreme Programming
- James Grenning – author of Test-Driven Development for Embedded C
- Steve Mellor – co-creator of van de Shlaer-Mellor methode
- Dave Thomas – co-author of The Pragmatic Programmer
The fact that no front-end designers belonged to the group can be seen on the official site of the Agile Manifesto, which most closely resembles a church community website from 1995 😉
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