Twelve years after: What (the heck) has happened to Agile?



On February 11, 2013 (just a few days from now), we all will celebrate the 12th anniversary of that magical gathering of free wills, anarchist ideals (of the Molotov Cocktail style) and luminous thoughts that brought us The Agile Manifesto.

Before we get into the flesh of the matter, I would like to spend a few seconds (more like “a few tens of words”, being this just a blog post) expanding the ideas behind the title for this post.

To start with the main title, “Twelve years after”, I understand that some of you may realize the double entendre, with this last expression in french being what, a triple entendre?.

It is clear that the phrase “Twelve years after” has a clear “face value” meaning, since it has been 12 years since The Agile Manifesto was introduced.

Besides this clear meaning, there is wide open reference to Alexander Dumas’ novel, “Twenty Years After”, a sequel to The Three Musketeers novel (not among the most famous novels of Dumas, but one that I really enjoyed in my childhood). The reference to the novel is easy to figure out:

What has happened to those principles?

What has happened to all that courage?

What has happened to all that momentum?

It is even easier to realize that these questions perfectly apply to both situations of the double entendre (or was it is triple?):

just as “Twenty Years After” is an  essay on those questions applied to the story of the Musketeers, my post is an simple enquiry on the same questions applied to the Agile Movement.

Even though we all could recite it without a hitch, not even blinking an eye in the process, I would like to revisit the paragraphs of the bloody thang:

“We are uncovering better ways of developing

software by doing it and helping others do it.

Through this work we have 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


That is, while there is value in the items on

the right, we value the items on the left more.”

At this point, I would like to invite you all to do an internal reflection meeting with ourselves.


How much time do we spend on the GD plan?

How much time do we spend on the “eternal tug-o-war” of the SOW and the contract?

Why are we all against each other, instead of all of us together against the problems?

Where did all the fun that we used to have working together has gone?

What could we do to get rid of all these woes?

Stealing from some amazingly agile thoughts from one of the original signatories, let’s ponder about the actual DNA of Agile:

From SCRUM, Agile has gained a sense of self-organization.

From Extreme Programming, Agile has gained a sense of self-discipline.

From Crystal, Agile has gained a sense of self-awareness.

Stealing some other wonderful thoughts from Tony Hsieh:

“Deliver ‘WOW!’ through service.

Embrace and drive change.

Create fun and a little weirdness.

Be adventurous, creative and open-minded.

Pursue growth and learning.

Build open and honest relationships with communication.

Build a positive team and family spirit.

Do more with less.

Be passionate and determined.

Be humble.

Kind regards, GEN



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