Agile Manifesto: Both Timeless and Outdated?

The Beatles produced timeless music, but would you want to listen to them on an 8-track? The Agile Manifesto faces a similar age challenge. Jennifer Lent reviews the 15-year old Agile Manifesto for TechTarget, explaining how some of it is still as useful as ever, while other parts are covered in cobwebs.

The Inexorable March of Time

The most obvious thing that happened between 2001 and now is that software development picked up whole new dimensions of complexity. Mobile apps, social media, and the cloud are all relatively new, strange beasts. The Agile Manifesto had no way of accounting for such things, and Jama Software cofounder Derwyn Harris notes that today’s digital landscape requires somewhat of a return to the formal planning that agile was originally attempting to get away from. This planning is needed for the sake of roadmaps and strategy building. Lent’s verdict is that the manifesto sounds “naïve” in its “going with the flow” attitude to planning.

On the flip side, the points made by the Agile Manifesto regarding customers still ring true. Customer satisfaction must be king. And now that customers have so many diverse channels by which to provide critiques/scathing criticism, there is more information than ever on how to please customers. Lent continues:

The challenge, then, is to tap into the noise in a meaningful way, analyzing feedback to build software that better satisfies the customer. That task is daunting, but “social media offers opportunities for customer collaboration” that simply weren't there when the Agile Manifesto emerged, Harris noted. “That is what we should focus on.”

The other thing the manifesto gets right is the critical importance of developers and businesspeople communicating well with each other. It is necessarily an ongoing dialogue, and the Agile Manifesto was wise to emphasize it. Ultimately, this groundbreaking work may be in need of an update to address perhaps a more complicated framework, but it still has insights that are very useful to any professional getting started. You can read the original article here: http://searchsoftwarequality.techtarget.com/opinion/Agile-Manifesto-Both-timeless-and-outdated

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