Saturday, March 18, 2017

Some historical definitions of Agile

Agile Manifesto

Agile was defined with this name in the Agile Manifesto, which was born from already existent experience, practices and methods.
Martin Fowler - <<Agile Development is adaptive rather than predictive is people-oriented rather than process-oriented>> [b1]

Comments:  Martin Fowler describes here the adaptive core capability and a core aspect people-oriented. Why people-oriented? Having these software development traits: complexity, incertitude & changes, in a context of knowledge work we cannot be lean and adaptive without being people-oriented.      

Scott W. Ambler - <<An iterative and incremental (evolutionary) approach to software development which is performed in a highly collaborative manner by self-organizing teams within an effective governance framework with “just enough” ceremony that produce high quality solutions in a cost effective and timely manner that meets the changing needs of its stakeholders>> [b2]

Comments:  Scott Ambler definition has synthesized here the logic inside Agile Manifesto with only one phrase.  It is all about <What IS Agile> and it is more robust ( ~ solution over working software and stakeholders over customers). From the <How> part of Agile Manifesto is missing only the explicit reference to the good design/technical excellence. That is, probably, the best definition, other than Agile Manifesto.        

Alistair Cockburn - <<Agile implies being effective and maneuverable. An agile process is both light and sufficient. The lightness is a means of staying maneuverable. The sufficiency is a matter of staying in the game>>.  [b3]

Comments – Described traits: effective, maneuverable, “light and sufficient” and steady. For this domain, to be effective, maneuverable and steady you should be Adaptive while being Lean. Light and sufficient it is kind of description of a lean approach for software development domain problems.  The lightness is a means of staying maneuverable”: lean is mean for staying adaptive. Lightness is only one aspect of being lean.   
Remember … from OOPSLA to Snowbird – most of the Agile Manifesto authors have been previously met at OOPSLA conferences, so they are all interested in good design.  Martin Fowler has said: “If you are in the Mud, you aren’t going anywhere!”.


[b1] Martin Fowler about Agile

[b2] Scott W. Ambler About Agile

[b3] Agile Software Development: The Cooperative Game, Second Edition, by Alistair Cockburn, Addison Wesley Professional, 2006; Chapter 5. Agile and Self-Adapting / Agile

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