So what is the Agile Manifesto? The founding document’s preamble reads, “We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it.” It then lays out the four core 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
The document concludes that “while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.”
These values can be put into action differently: Put people over process. Focus on making software that works, not documents about that software. Work with your client rather than fight over a contract. And along the way, be open to change.
The problem with “Agile” today: it has been co-opted into a specific process or specific toolset, with rigid rules and prescriptions.
But, Agile is a philosophy, not a set of business practices—it is a way of thinking, a way to prioritize all the complicated parts of a project, that works for the particular context in which an organization exists. One size does not fit all.
As Jeff Sutherland, the CEO of Scrum, Inc., says, he sees teams that claim to be Agile, but are “not delivering working product at the end of a short iteration.”