History of the Agile Manifesto

The Agile Manifesto and the Twelve Principles of Agile Software were the consequences of industry frustration in the 1990s. The enormous time lag between business requirements (the applications and features customers were requesting) and the delivery of technology that answered those needs, led to the cancelling of many projects. Business, requirements, and customer requisites changed during this lag time, and the final product did not meet the then current needs. The software development models of the day, led by the Waterfall model, were not meeting the demand for speed and did not take advantage of just how quickly software could be altered.

In 2000, a group of seventeen “thought leaders,” including Jon KernKent BeckWard CunninghamArie van Bennekum, and Alistair Cockburn, met first at a resort in Oregon and later, in 2001, at The Lodge at Snowbird ski resort in Utah. It was at the second meeting where the Agile Manifesto and the Twelve Principles were formally written. The Manifesto reads:

The Twelve Agile Manifesto Principles


The Twelve Principles are the guiding principles for the methodologies that are included under the title “The Agile Movement.” They describe a culture in which change is welcome, and the customer is the focus of the work. They also demonstrate the movement’s intent as described by Alistair Cockburn, one of the signatories to the Agile Manifesto, which is to bring development into alignment with business needs.

The Agile Manifesto is at the core of the Agile Movement. Application for Agile outside of software development has even been found, with its emphasis on lean manufacturing and collaboration and communication, and quick development of smaller sets of features under the guidance of an overall plan. The key to its success is that, it is always Agile and able to adapt to change. We will discuss the four values and twelve principles that lead to higher-quality software delivered to satisfied customers on a continuous basis.


Customer satisfaction through early and continuous software delivery 

Customers are happier when they receive working software at regular intervals, rather than waiting extended periods of time between releases.


Accommodate changing requirements throughout the development process

The ability to avoid delays when a requirement or feature request changes.


Frequent delivery of working software

Scrum accommodates this principle since the team operates in software sprints or iterations that ensure regular delivery of working software.


Collaboration between the business stakeholders and developers throughout the project

Better decisions are made when the business and technical team are aligned.


Support, trust, and motivate the people involved

Motivated teams are more likely to deliver their best work than unhappy teams.


Enable face-to-face interactions

Communication is more successful when development teams are co-located.


Working software is the primary measure of progress

Delivering functional software to the customer is the ultimate factor that measures progress.


Agile processes to support a consistent development pace 

eams establish a repeatable and maintainable speed at which they can deliver working software, and they repeat it with each release.


Attention to technical detail and design enhances agility

The right skills and good design ensures the team can maintain the pace, constantly improve the product, and sustain change.



Communication is more successful when development teams are co-located.


Self-organizing teams encourage great architectures, requirements, and designs

Skilled and motivated team members who have decision-making power, take ownership, communicate regularly with other team members, and share ideas that deliver quality products.


Regular reflections on how to become more effective 

Self-improvement, process improvement, advancing skills, and techniques help team members work more efficiently.

“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.”

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© 2020 by J.P. Howard and Associates. All Rights Reserved.  info@jphowardandassociates.com

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