It seems like every other day, someone in the software development community feels the necessity to declare that agile is dead and they have something new and better.

Sometimes it’s one of the founders of agile who now think the Agile Manifesto is dated and needs to be overhauled. Other times it’s ageless software veterans who claim agile came out of their work in the first place but still isn’t as good. Occasionally it’s someone who clearly doesn’t understand agile, makes all sort of misstatements about it, and then tries to argue why it doesn’t work based on these misunderstandings.

Regardless of the source, I read everything that’s written about what’s wrong with agile. After all, agile needs to constantly evolve, just like the teams who use it. The agile principles should be applied to maintaining and improving the approach itself!

While reading articles that pick on agile, I’m hoping to glean some understanding of what is wrong with the manifesto as it is stated today. I think everyone can agree that how organizations implement agile is often dead wrong, but that doesn’t make agile itself the problem.

Much of what is proposed as a “better agile” is usually just a reorganization, rewording, or clarification of the existing agile values and principles. I have no issue with clarifying or rewording agile values and principles if, in the end, organizations better understand agile and successfully increase customer value. My issue is with the idea that doing so is creating something brand-new that is different than the Agile Manifesto that guides the agile movement.

I believe strongly that one of the reasons agile has been so successful is because it is not a methodology or a defined process that is followed, but a set of principles that allows lots of flexibility for their implementation. The genius of the manifesto is that it provides overall guidance without being too prescriptive. I think this provides agile with the flexibility to morph and change as our world does.

Much like the founders of agile saw the benefits of aggregating lots of different approaches for implementing software under the umbrella of the manifesto, I see benefit in keeping any reorganization, rewording, or clarification of agile values and principles under it as well.

There is no question that agile has become the most popular software development approach in existence today, and that agile has bled into all aspects of business, too. While it will continue to be refined and tuned, let’s make sure we keep agile together as one movement.

If the community begins to fracture even more than it already has due to proponents of specific agile methodologies, I see its traction slowing down or perhaps stopping altogether. That would be a crime, as agile continues to demonstrate its ability to add value for customers and make teams all around the globe productive.

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