Next month marks the 20th anniversary of the Agile Manifesto. Twenty years ago, 17 software engineers went skiing in Utah. After bonding over their shared frustrations on the state of software development, they drafted the Manifesto for Agile Software Development.
The principles they defined helped change software development forever, but also inspired more widespread organizational shifts. As the signers later put it,
“This isn’t merely a software development problem, it runs throughout Dilbertesque organizations.”
David Hieatt recently said that agile principles helped get his two businesses through the twists and turns of 2020:
“Agile was no longer a nice management mindset, but how you saved your business. It bypassed adjective and went straight to a verb.”
And yet, in spreading so mainstream, the concept of agile has lost much of its meaning. Like many business buzzwords, if you ask 10 co-workers what agile means, you may hear 10 different responses (or even more).
One of the 17 original signers of the Agile Manifesto, Dave Thomas, wrote:
“The word ‘agile’ has been subverted to the point where it is entirely meaningless.”
For agile to stand for more than a buzzword, we have to define what we mean.
Here are a few related cartoons I’ve drawn over the years: