Agile manifesto

agile manifesto
Ted Scott
Ted Scott
16 January 2024
6 min

In the early 2000s, a real revolution took place in the IT sphere. The key event at the turn of the century was the emergence of the Agile Manifesto, which became a fundamental document for developers all over the world. In this article, we will consider the history of the Agile Manifesto, its key principles and its impact on the modern software development industry and other industries.

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Problems in Traditional Development

Before the Agile Manifesto, companies conducted much software development projects according to traditional methodologies such as Waterfall. In such methodologies, development lasts for many months or even years, and customers only become familiar with the results at the final stage of the project. This led to a number of serious problems:

  1. Low flexibility: Traditional methodologies were of little use in adapting to changing customer requirements.
  2. High risks: Since real problems could only be detected at the final stage of development, there was a high risk of project failure.
  3. Long development cycles: Processes were excessively slow, preventing companies from responding quickly to market changes.
  4. Lack of communication: Developers and customers rarely interacted directly, leading to misunderstandings and errors.

Birth of Agile

In the early 2000s, a group of experienced developers began looking for alternative development methods that were more agile, customer-centric, and fostered better communication within the team. This movement led to the creation of the Agile Manifesto.

In February 2001, 17 leading software development professionals organized a meeting in Snowbird, Utah, USA. Among the participants were Kent Beck, Martin Fowler, Ward Cunningham, and other well-known figures in the industry.

At this meeting, participants discussed various aspects of software development and searched for common ideas that could formulate a new approach. During the discussion, they managed to agree on the basic meanings that became the basis of the manifesto. As a result, four values and twelve principles of agile development were formulated, which give a comprehensive description of the whole concept.

How Agile was born

Agile is a philosophy and set of methodologies that calls for flexibility, communication development, and rapid response to change in software development and project management. The core values of Agile are:

  1. People and collaboration are more important than processes and tools: Agile calls for active collaboration between developers and customers, as well as between members of the development team.
  2. Working software is more important than exhaustive documentation: Agile emphasizes the importance of creating a working product at every stage, allowing for earlier feedback from customers and quicker adjustments.
  3. Collaboration with the customer is more important than negotiating contract terms: Agile supports the idea of continuous communication with the customer to better understand their needs.
  4. Adapting to change is more important than following a plan: Agile calls for flexibility and the ability to respond quickly to changing circumstances, which helps improve the quality of the final product.

What the Agile concept is based on

The creation of the Agile Manifesto in 2001 was a revolutionary moment for the entire IT industry. However, the concept itself was created under the influence of a variety of methodologies, each of which contributed to shaping the key principles and values of agile development. It’s important to note that Agile is not simply the sum of these methodologies, but a synthesis of best practices from a variety of sources. Let’s look at each approach in detail to see what influence they have had in shaping the Agile Manifesto.

What is the concept of Agile

1. Spiral Model

The spiral development model was proposed by Barry Boehm in 1986. It is an iterative approach to development that involves successive turns or spirals. Each turn consists of four major phases: goal setting, risk assessment, development, and testing. This approach emphasizes risk management and allows for greater flexibility to adapt to change.

The spiral model introduced the concept of iterativeness and emphasized on risks. It showed that continuous risk assessment and management can be important aspects in software development.

2. Extreme Programming (XP)

XP was developed by Kent Beck, Ward Cunningham, and Ron Jeffrey in the late 1990s. This development methodology relied on practices that produced a working product in a short time frame. The project should have frequent releases with minimal functionality so that customers can see progress and give feedback.

Extreme programming gave the Agile manifesto the notion of short iterations, continuous integration and testing. It also raised the importance of communication and collaboration in the development process.

3. Formal Methods

Ways of formal verification and specification of software have been actively researched and developed for many years. They include mathematical approaches for proving the correctness of software code. Although these methods have not been popular in industrial development, they have contributed to the understanding of the importance of formality and code verification.

Formal methods have confirmed the importance of testing and code verification in software development. They also demonstrated that formal methods can be complex and require specialized skills.

4. Scrum

Scrum was developed by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland in the early 1990s. Their goal was to create a methodology that would help development teams to cope more effectively with ever-changing customer requirements and improve the project management process. At the very beginning, the roles of team members and their area of responsibility are defined. The development process is broken down into short, fixed time periods called sprints. During each sprint, the team creates a working version of the program with new features added.

Scrum has shown that rapid development and iterations help to efficiently adjust to all changes. This approach has prompted the creation of more agile methodologies.

5. Theory of Constraints (TOC)

Theory of Constraints was developed by Eli Goldratt and emphasized on identifying and eliminating bottlenecks in the development process. TOC is based on finding and eliminating factors that slow down development, this was important to increase productivity.

The theory of constraints has provided insight into how removing bottlenecks can improve the development process. It has also contributed to the creation of practices aimed at optimizing performance and workflow management.

Scrum and the Theory of Constraints

Application of Agile in other industries

In the early stages of its development, Agile was associated with specific methodologies such as Scrum, Kanban or Extreme Programming. These methodologies provided a set of rules and processes for project management and software development that followed the Agile principle.

However, over time the main thing became clear: Agile is not just a set of approaches and practices, but a fundamental concept that can be applied in different areas of business. Agile began to spread beyond software development. The concept has become a distinctive way of thinking that seeks to improve processes, make them agile, and provide more value to customers.

Major changes in the understanding of Agile:

  1. Widespread use: Since the creation of the Agile Manifesto, Agile principles have been successfully used in marketing, manufacturing, healthcare, education, and other industries.
  2. Organizational aspects: Agile stopped being considered only from a software development perspective and started to look closely at the management aspects of the organization as a whole. This led to the concept of Agile organization and Agile management.
  3. Customer Value: A focus on customer needs has become key to Agile. Agile seeks to create value for the customer at every stage of development.
  4. Self-organizing teams: Agile emphasizes the importance of self-organization for teams. Participants need to make key decisions and manage their own work. This helps to increase motivation and efficiency.

Where Agile is applied

Challenges faced by teams when working according to Agile principles

Despite the many benefits, applying Agile principles can cause some challenges for teams and companies:

  1. Lack of experience and knowledge: Teams can face implementation challenges if they lack experience with and understanding of Agile methodologies.
  2. Resistance to change: Senior managers and employees may resist the changes associated with Agile implementation, which can slow down the process.
  3. Difficulties in management: Agile requires teams to be autonomous and self-organized, it will be difficult to restructure the work at the initial stage.
  4. Communication Difficulties: A heavy focus on communication in Agile can lead to information overload and difficulties in communication within the team.
  5. Ineffective structures: The organization’s structures and processes may be incompatible with Agile, requiring them to be reviewed and changed.
  6. Insufficient understanding of customer needs: An incorrect or inadequate understanding of customer needs can lead to the development of a product that does not meet expectations.

Challenges in working with Agile


The Agile Manifesto was a key point in the history of the entire IT industry. Its values and principles remain relevant and still have a significant impact on the industry. If you follow them, you can easily adapt to rapidly changing market conditions and achieve high results.

The creation of the Agile Manifesto exemplifies how a collective effort and commitment to innovation can lead to change for the better. Agile has proven that software development can be flexible and adaptive, and the results more predictable and of higher quality.

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