Happy 20th Anniversary Agile Manifesto

This year we celebrated the 20th Anniversary of the Agile Manifesto. Yesterday, February 11, 2021 Scrum Alliance hosted a three hour panel celebrating the Agile Manifesto; its past, present and future. I attended the conversation on LinkedIn. It was awesome to hear from some of the original people who wrote the Agile Manifesto and what they think Agile will accomplish in the future.

What is the Agile Manifesto?

The Agile Manifesto was proposed as a new approach to software development. The manifesto was a way follow through with the approach and help others with it.

The Agile Manifesto 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

It was refreshing to hear the original creators of the manifesto, along with modern day practitioners talk about what Agile means to them and how they think it should be used. Some could say Agile has been corrupted through process, documentation, and mandatory meetings. But that hasn’t stopped true practitioners from going forth and being agile. 2020 taught us that agility is still key and the Agile Manifesto can benefit the business as a whole, not just software development teams. So, don’t get stuck on the right or wrong way to practice Agile. Remember, it’s about your team and your customer. It’s a *people first* methodlogy.

Let’s jump in.

20 Years of Agile

Should we update the Agile Manifesto?

The following are quotes from the panelists. Unfortunately, I didn’t catch their names.

“No. It was what we wrote at the time. No looking back. Different set of people, different set of answers.”

“We were asking permission to deliver the software. What’s the update to the manifesto? I don’t know. What’s the current battle?”

“What’s kept you motivated over the past 20 years?”

Agile: The Present

“Leaders are paying attention to whose participating and whose not. Because you have to be more intentional.”

– Pollyana Pixton

Agile in the present focused a lot on COVID-19 and its impacts on teams. Not a lot of new stuff in this segment. Talked about missing the office or loving remote work. The panelists talked about what better time to practice Agile than during an pandemic.

  • “What I miss in the world is listening to people. Leave your ego at the door.” – Arie Van Bennekum
  • The Agile manifesto and principles are good to practice during these times.
  • “Opportunity to get more people together on Zoom calls. We have to really listen now because we can’t see people’s body language.” – Pollyanna Pixton
  • “The pandemic taught us we have to be ready to pivot.” – Brian Benn

What’s something we know about Agility that hacks what is going on?

  • “There needs to be an intentional conversation that happens with leaders and their teams. Without retrospection, you can’t make the right decisions moving forward.” – Neville Poole
  • “Leaders are paying attention to whose participating and whose not. Because you have to be more intentional.” – Pollyana Pixton
  • “Agility is required of companies.” – Neville Poole

We were taught Agile doesn’t work remote. Does it?

  • “We didn’t say ‘body to body’. We said ‘face to face;”- Arie Van Bennekum
  • “I think it’s important to understand we are still one room, but a virtual room. We have to be Agile within Agile.” – Brian Benn
  • “We are stuck in online set timeframes.” – Arie
  • “Every Friday morning I have “recognize someone”.” – Neville Poole
  • Give new teams the space to know each other.

Agile is for the business! “If you have very fast IT teams but the rest of the business is slow, you’ll have slow delivery.” Said Arie.

The Future of Agile

  • Agile is business, not just tech.
  • Business agility is taking the agile concepts and putting them into the business.
  • “Lean is using less stuff without frustrating your customer.” – @JoeJustice
  • When we start measuring “dumb” and “awesome” that changes things.
  • The secret of agile is look at the result, not how much time people are spending on things.
  • Agile means something to the people on this panel and to those listening. But what does it mean to the business that’s not?

What’s the 4th wave?

According to Joe Justic, the future of agile is work worth doing, that’s fun and exciting. He talked about working at Tesla with Elon Musk. Musk said, “the most entertaining outcome is the most likely.” According to Joe, that’s why Tesla invested in Bitcoin.

Toyota’s fast track is four years. Tesla’s fast track is three hours. “There won’t be any industry that doesn’t want a shorter time scale.” Said Joe.

  • Software was the first thing to get on to Agile. Agile is eating the world, not software.
  • Values and principles apply everywhere.

“The next 20 years are going to be the best Agile years yet!”

Joe Justice

Featured Photo by İrfan Simsar on Unsplash

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