Agile Manifesto: What has happened in the last 20 years?

Agile Manifesto


„If the project is in question; Agile is the answer.“

James Grenning

Time flies! We can all agree on this, right?

Like we said in the previous Blog, the Agile Manifesto was written in 2001, almost 20 years ago. Amazing 17 people from various software development methodologies made something revolutionary that changed the business climate in each working area.

It’s always interesting and satisfying when you have a chance to talk with the most prestigious names in the business. This time, those great men gave us their opinion on what has really changed in Agile world in the last 20 years?

Chit-chats with some great Agilists

We must admit – it was reaaaally tough to merge all the fantastic answers from these marvelous 17 professionals. We’ve been lucky because they were very kind and provide us their views about the Agile Manifesto.

Question #1: 20 years have passed since the creation of the Agile Manifesto and you were a co-author. What motivated you to join the others in the first place?

Dr. Alistair Cockburn was pretty inspired and told us that together with his colleagues were fighting a particular battle back in the late 1990s, literally trying to get permission to talk with customers and users and to deliver partial systems for early use and evaluation and feedback. The Manifesto reflects that battle. So, the methods from the 1990s wouldn’t be acceptable today even without the Manifesto. This is quite intuitive, right?

On the other side, Arie van Bennekum, an Agile thought leader and strategist said what really motivates him to join the others in the creation of this monumental event:

„I want it to change the world, sharing the new (and so far unexplored) knowledge, making sure that people won’t bump into the same wall as I do and helping to overcome their problems. You’re an architect in your life, you decide what you do.’’

And he gave more amazing tips to all current and future Professionals right here.

Question #2: Tell us your opinion – what has changed in Agile movement comparing 20 years ago and today?

Arie van Bennekum said: 

So many things. At the first place – technology. Disruptions of business models. Agile community has grown massively and in terms of awareness, everything is changed. Both from the individual and company side, everything is now different.

Well, more genius thoughts on this topic you can check in this video.

Question #3: Could you name the most common difficulties that companies face in their Agile transformation?

Decentralizing decisions making and letting early, partial solutions go into the hands of the users were the most common difficulties that companies face in their Agile transformation according to Alistair Cockburn. For him, those are still challenges.

But for Arie van Bennekum, the difficulties weren’t the same:

It depends on people. In the first place, a real Agilist listens to understand. A real Agilist is never judging. It’s up to you what you wanna learn and adopt. There’s one main question in order to develop a great team.

Actually, we were amazed by his detailed answer here.

Question #4: What would you advise people who’ve just started with Agile methodology, having in mind the initial idea behind Agile?

Alistar Cockburn said one crucial thing:

„Collaborate! It’s mostly attitude. Then, deliver partial solutions early, to learn. Pause and reflect on what is happening, what you would like to happen. Improve, baby steps – baby improvements.“ Did you try to accomplish something with these incremental, but tiny baby steps?

Jon Kern also had interesting answer to this topic:

„What would I advise people who’ve just started with Agile? Well, the key thing is: you might start with processes that are repeatable. Agile is personal journey and state of mind, like yoga for example. It’s important to understand that this is tough, but exciting travel.“

And of course, you can’t miss Arie’s fantastic tips for people who’ve just started with Agile methodology. What connects the team, results and business? Check here.

Jon Kern gave us absolutely honest advice about all of these topics. Exclusively for all Agile Serbia bookworms and Agile lovers we present you answers to the previous first, second, third and fourth questions.

Let’s not forget how Kent Beck gave his contribution on extreme programming; how Mike Beedle valuated business Agility; how Ward Cunningham devoted his career to improve the effectiveness of technical experts; how Martin Fowler built software effectively; how James Grenning invented an amazing Planning Poker; how Jim Highsmith improved software and Agile community; how Andrew Hunt created some amazing Agile practices; how Ron Jeffries founded extreme programming; how Brian Marick concentrated on testing in Agile projects; how Uncle Bob or Robert C. Martin developed many software design principles; how Steve Mellor created executable UML; how Ken Schwaber together with Jeff Sutherland co-developed the Scrum framework in the early 1990s and how Dave Thomas helped spread the world Agile mindset.

Together, they created something anthological and valuable to the whole business community – the Agile Manifesto, something that changed our way of living and working.

Check out PART 1