The Agile Manifesto

In February 2001, seventeen software developers met at the Snowbird resort in Utah to discuss lightweight development methods, among others Jeff Sutherland, Ken Schwaber, and Alistair Cockburn. Together the seventeen published the Manifesto for Agile Software Development, in which they shared that, through their combined experience of developing software and helping others to do it, they had come to value:

  • Individuals and Interactions over processes and tools
  • Working Software over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer Collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Responding to Change over following a plan

While the secondary concerns were important the primary concerns were more critical to success.
By these terms, they meant:

Individuals and interactions
Self-organization and motivation are important, as are interactions like co-location and pair programming.
Working software
Working software is more useful and welcome than just presenting documents to clients in meetings.
Customer collaboration
Requirements cannot be fully collected at the beginning of the software development cycle, therefore continuous customer or stakeholder involvement is very important.
Responding to change
Agile software development methods are focused on quick responses to change and continuous development.

Some of the authors formed the Agile Alliance, a non-profit organization that promotes software development according to the manifesto’s values and principles. Introducing the manifesto on behalf of the Agile Alliance, Jim Highsmith said,

The Agile movement is not anti-methodology, in fact many of us want to restore credibility to the word methodology. We want to restore a balance. We embrace modeling, but not in order to file some diagram in a dusty corporate repository. We embrace documentation, but not hundreds of pages of never-maintained and rarely-used tomes. We plan, but recognize the limits of planning in a turbulent environment. Those who would brand proponents of XP or SCRUM or any of the other Agile Methodologies as “hackers” are ignorant of both the methodologies and the original definition of the term hacker.

— Jim Highsmith, History: The Agile Manifesto

Agile software development principles

The Manifesto for Agile Software Development is based on twelve principles:

  1. Customer satisfaction by early and continuous delivery of valuable software
  2. Welcome changing requirements, even in late development
  3. Working software is delivered frequently (weeks rather than months)
  4. Close, daily cooperation between business people and developers
  5. Projects are built around motivated individuals, who should be trusted
  6. Face-to-face conversation is the best form of communication (co-location)
  7. Working software is the principal measure of progress
  8. Sustainable development, able to maintain a constant pace
  9. Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design
  10. Simplicity—the art of maximizing the amount of work not done—is essential
  11. Best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams
  12. Regularly, the team reflects on how to become more effective, and adjusts accordingly

from Wikipedia