In spring 2001, 17 experienced software developers passed the so-called “Manifesto for Agile Software Development”, today mainly known as “Agile Manifesto”. The first signatories, among them the two Scrum founders Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland as well as Ward Cunningham, the inventor of the free Wiki software WikiWikiWeb, formulated the central values of agile software development with the Agile Manifesto – a milestone and at the same time the foundation of agile software development. It sets out its generally binding principles.
The four principles of the Agile Manifesto that still apply today are as follows:
“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.”
Importance and benefits of the agile manifesto
The Agile Manifesto has lost none of its fundamental importance for agile software development in the true sense of the word. In fact, thousands more supporters and signatories have been added over the years. Tendency continues to rise. This is no coincidence – the authors succeeded at the time in bringing the core ideas of modern software development to a common denominator once and for all, despite sometimes very different views and approaches. The great progress has been and still is that the agile manifesto has finally set a system of values in stone that outlines a concrete approach. At the same time, the comparatively fuzzy concept of “lightweight software development”, which had been common up to then, could be replaced. In this respect, the Agile Manifesto can best be understood as the “state of mind of agility”, and this state of mind still lives on today in agile methods such as Scrum or Kanban or their rules and roles.
Incidentally, for the first signatory Ken Schwaber, the agile manifesto is in essence even synonymous with a “quiet revolution”. The consequence of this was that from then on, employees were not simply regarded as resources, but were at the centre of attention as actors.
This explains the greatest benefit of the Agile Manifesto for the establishment of agile methods: Agility in software development demands and promotes the individual skills of employees by giving them responsibility and creative design options. This paves the way for more effective and successful projects.