Celebrating 10 Years of the Agile Manifesto!

Marcin Niebudek

Alistair Cockburn has been organizing the event to celebrate the 10 years of Agile Manifesto. As a part of the event all the agile community members has been invited to answer three questions at the 10 Years of Agile website. Here are the three questions (copied from the Alistair’s website):

  1. What problems in software or product development have we solved (and therefore should not simply keep re-solving)?
  2. What problems are fundamentally unsolvable (so therefore we should not keep trying to “solve” them)?
  3. What problems can we sensibly address – problems that we can mitigate either with money, effort or innovation? (and therefore, these are the problems we should set our attention to, next.)

So let’s joins the dialog.

Problems solved

I’m not sure if the idea behind the Manifesto was to solve any particular problem except for restoring the balance between technology and business needs or expectations in the software development process. Was this solved? I think the move in the good direction has been made. The world moves faster now and still we developed the methods to keep up with software development. But the idea of being open to continuous changes and adapting to them makes the whole process  the never ending one.

So the Agile Manifesto made a ground for the movement that continues to evolve, bringing lots of new ideas to follow along with new problems.

Unsolvable problems

In one hand we want to improve, so even if some problems may seem unsolvable, we want to keep looking for better ways of solving them at least partially. Initial signatories of the Agile Manifesto wanted to restore the meaning of methodology in some way by pointing out that there are two sides that need to be addressed. However I think we’ve learned already that any single, unified and best for all way of doing thing is doomed to fail.

Some methods, frameworks, tools (call them as you like) as Scrum, Kanban started to fall in the trap of being perceived as a single “agile” solution to all the problems. This of course not true and wasn’t the intention of its creators either. So if I was to point the problem that we should not try to solve it would be the one to find “the” single agile way for all.

I look at agile as a catalog of practices from which I take different pieces to solve different problems in the given context. While the context changes many times, I need to choose again. Many people think that we need something more specific than the Manifesto, something codified, closed in the book of knowledge. I would rather like to keep the Manifesto open and general as it is.

The problems we should set our attention to

I think that many teams or organizations confused the discipline required to fulfill the principles behind the Manifesto with freedom. The catalog of tools and practices we can use has grown through those 10 years and today we are way better equipped to create a great software. But the problem that needs our attention is that so many teams tend not to use those tools. They are satisfied with the very shallow adoption of the ideas behind the “agile” movement.

Do we need to choose any specific problem to be solved next? Will it be agile and UX, or maybe agile for legacy code? As all in agile it should be context dependent. Different areas should be explored by different parts of agile community as they will face different problems. What would make agile die, would be to start thinking that there is nothing to improve anymore.

The image for this post comes from a great site Pictofigo


3 comments

  1. Agile Scout -

    Nice. Pictofigo ftw!

  2. Derek Huether -

    Good read!
    I do also love those Pictofigo drawings!

  3. pligg.com -

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