But I think it also provides a great starting point for understanding what the key to agile thinking is, what Jim Highsmith refers to as “Being Agile rather than Doing Agile.”

There’s always been talk of tweaking it to better express things. And people often snicker and say that as an unchanged document, it’s hardly agile itself. But that snickering misses the point; the whole philosophy of agile isn’t about interpreting some dusty document, but in making your own journey of discovery. The manifesto is a useful part of that journey, but in the end you have to think for yourself. (And, sadly, many people dislike that message.)

Where do you see agile development moving in the next five years?
The biggest element that I’ve been focusing on is Continuous Delivery. Making it so you’re always in a state where you can deploy your software is a big deal. It provides better visibility on progress, reduces deployment risk, and provides for better feedback. Doing this for large enterprises is tough, and my ThoughtWorks colleagues have done wonders to make this happen for many clients. Over the next few years we’ll be doing much of this, and I think it’ll make a big difference to how software fits in.

At the other end, there are growing signs of real traction with the user-experience community. Too many of our projects at ThoughtWorks start with us being given a detailed user-experience design done by some agency with no opportunity for feedback from architectural concerns or production experience. We’ve been gradually making progress at getting clients to roll the user-experience work into the agile process so you have a continuous design process both on the skin and the innards of the software.