Skip to main content

The Agile Manifesto (2001)

The basics

In 2001, 17 renowned software developers met at a resort in Snowbird, Utah, to discuss lightweight development methods. Together they published the Manifesto for Agile Software Development.

Based on their combined experience of developing software and helping others do that, the authors of The Agile Manifesto declared that they valued:

  • 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 to say, while both sides have value and the items on the right should be considered, the authors felt that the items on the left should have more influence on how people approach their work.

The agile manifesto also declared 12 principles:

  1. Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.

  2. Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage.

  3. Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference for a shorter timescale.

  4. Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.

  5. Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.

  6. The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.

  7. Working software is the primary measure of progress.

  8. Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.

  9. Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.

  10. Simplicity–the art of maximising the amount of work not done–is essential.

  11. The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organising teams.

  12. At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behaviour accordingly.

Pros and cons

The Agile Manifesto is not a methodology. It is just a set of principles, but it significantly impacted the industry and popularised the use of Agile methodologies, such as Scrum and Kanban, which are now widely adopted by software development organisations worldwide.