- Surely learning has taken place in the almost 10 years since the Manifesto was created which would influence a different set of ideas to be stated now than then.
- The work being done by people before the Manifesto existed wasn’t about “agility” but was about more effective, productive software development.
- By the very nature of Agile ideas, we should be prepared to change the Manifesto and not keep it the same since that was just a point in time perception and both perceptions and needs change.
- Most of the ideas in the Manifesto can be found elsewhere, especially in Lean ideas, so they should not be regarded so permanently.
- The Value statements are so easy to agree with that they are, essentially, “content-free.”
- The Principles are redundant in many aspects (indeed one basically repeats a Manifesto Value) and could be reduced to a much smaller set without losing any meaning/effect.
- Misunderstanding/misuse of the Manifesto (as stated) is now an impediment to new people learning about Agile ideas so we should move away from it as a focal point.
There are, of course, lists of actual suggestions for changes/additions to the Manifesto which are even longer and, in themselves, certainly contain useful, important ideas. One just has to look at the early material on each method that was around at the turn of the century to see how many values, principles, ideas, etc. existed which are not explicitly mentioned in the Manifesto. So it was even obvious back in 2001 that the Manifesto did not say everything one could be expected (to need) to know on the subject.
Among others, Ron Jeffries has said that the Manifesto is a point in time statement of belief by a specific group of people. After years of experience and interaction with one another, they came to feel that they wanted to say something about ideas they shared which were, as suggested above, just a subset of the ideas they held.
I don’t believe the people at the Snowbird meeting where the Manifesto was created thought it was some document that should be amended, extended and always be the authority for thinking on the subject of better software development. I do believe they felt the ideas were a solid set of guidance, an effective starting point for changing how software development was being done, for the most part, up to that time. And, if groups/organizations pursue a new approach to development, the Manifesto’s elements can be looked upon as useful touchstones for comparing chosen techniques and practices to ideas those people in 2001 felt held important guidance for doing so.
So when calls to change (or even abandon) the Manifesto are made, while I am interested to hear what people would offer as changes, additions or replacements to/for the Manifesto, I have not seen anything that, to me, materially alters what is there.*** Much of the impetus to change the Manifesto sometimes sounds as if, to get other ideas accepted, the Manifesto must be reduced in importance in some way or shown to need “fixing.” Perhaps the strong attraction to the Manifesto just shows that the ideas can ring very true to many people.
If the fear is that latching onto the Manifesto (and misunderstanding it) holds people back and prevents new learning from taking place, perhaps that is our problem to solve, not by trying to change the Manifesto in some way, but in more effectively presenting and explaining it to those new to it while extending the knowledge that can be associated with it. I do not believe we can blame the Manifesto for people not “getting it” because it seems to me that this happens to every idea once it breaks out into the mainstream of awareness.
If something has any validity, it will attract people, but they will surely try to adapt it to what they feel is their need. Much of that adaptation is always a divergence from what the original ideas intended. I don’t think it is possible to expect this not to occur unless one produces a document as ponderous as much formal legislation, standards, etc. material. Of course, even when you try to do that, the interpretation is still going to be there, sometimes worse than before you started.
So, by all means don’t stop at the Manifesto, but don’t assume it is somehow the problem or the impediment to growth.
[* The title is derived from a Tweet by Jason Yip.]
[** When I say “Manifesto,” I include both its explicit Values and the associated 12 Principles that followed unless a distinction is otherwise made.]
[*** Efforts such as the Manifesto for Software Craftsmanship and the APLN’s Declaration of Interdependence seem to me to be good examples of making the point about other important ideas without suggestion the Agile Manifesto’s are now flawed or necessarily passé.]