The signatories of the Agile Manifesto don’t agree on much. In fact, they agree that they only ever truly agreed on one thing: that they rocked the software development industry. And, last night, they rocked the Grand America Hotel’s Imperial Ballrooms at the Agile 2011 Conference in Salt Lake City.
Fifteen of the original 17 signatories journeyed to Utah to join in the 10th anniversary celebrations, which kicked off with the Big Park Bench.
Robert “Uncle Bob” Martin and Alistair Cockburn presented a short history of the Manifesto, including screenshots of Cockburn’s original receipt for the Snowbird reservations. And then it was time for the more than 1,600 attendees—many of whom were snapping photos of the group with Androids and iPhones—to ask questions.
For the Park Bench, three signatories at a time would take questions. And so the discussion began with, “If you wrote the Manifesto today, what would you change?” Cockburn, Martin Fowler and Jim Highsmith stepped forward, and while Cockburn answered quickly with “no,” Martin Fowler presented a longer explanation.
“The most startling thing in my career is that I have only been to one meeting that worked,” Fowler said, referring to that well-known meeting in February of 2001.
James Grenning also said he wouldn’t make any changes, except perhaps adding “We really meant it” in larger font. The elements, in his opinion, apply from now “until eternity.”
The disappointments, to many of the signatories, come in the form of people who think they’re doing agile but don’t want to put the work in. Another sore point results from the common expression “There’s no ‘I’ in ‘team,’” which is something Martin personally despises.
“There’s plenty of I’s in team. I will be the best I can be on my team. No team exists without I’s,” he said.
Ken Schwaber argued that great teams change people’s lives, and he cited the Manifesto team as an example. “We argue more than we agree, but most would say it has changed our lives.”
Fowler said individual accomplishments are always discussed when talking about the success of a team, because teams are made up of individuals and the relationships between the individuals. It all contributes to the success, or failure, of a project.
The next frontier of agile seems to be extending beyond IT, although the signatories disagreed about how this will happen. Some believed that the inclusion of other methodologies beyond the “traditional” agile methods is part of this, while others believed it will go beyond IT and stretch to other areas of the enterprise.
And finally, some alternative histories were also discussed; if things had been different, we would be calling this the Hummingbird Methodology while sipping on flower-topped drinks in Antigua. Doesn’t seem like a bad alternative, now does it?