On February 11-13, 2001, at The Lodge at Snowbird ski resort in the Wasatch mountains of Utah, seventeen people met to talk, ski, relax, and try to find common ground—and of course, to eat. What emerged was the Agile ‘Software Development’ Manifesto. Representatives from Extreme Programming, SCRUM, DSDM, Adaptive Software Development, Crystal, Feature-Driven Development, Pragmatic Programming, and others sympathetic to the need for an alternative to documentation driven, heavyweight software development processes convened.
Now, a bigger gathering of organizational anarchists would be hard to find, so what emerged from this meeting was symbolic—
a Manifesto for Agile Software Development—signed by all participants. The only concern with the term agile came from Martin Fowler (a Brit for those who don’t know him) who allowed that most Americans didn’t know how to pronounce the word ‘agile’.
Alistair Cockburn’s initial concerns reflected the early thoughts of many participants. "I personally didn't expect that this particular group of agilites to ever agree on anything substantive." But his post-meeting feelings were also shared, "Speaking for myself, I am delighted by the final phrasing [of the Manifesto]. I was surprised that the others appeared equally delighted by the final phrasing. So we did agree on something substantive."
But while the Manifesto provides some specific ideas, there is a deeper theme that drives many, but not all, to be sure, members of the alliance. At the close of the two-day meeting, Bob Martin joked that he was about to make a "mushy" statement. But while tinged with humour, few disagreed with Bob’s sentiments—that we all felt privileged to work with a group of people who held a set of compatible values, a set of values based on trust and respect for each other and promoting organizational
models based on people, collaboration, and building the types of organizational communities in which we would want to work. At the core, I believe Agile Methodologists are really about "mushy" stuff—about delivering good products to customers by operating in an environment that does more than talking about "people as our most important asset" but actually "acts" as if people were the most important, and lose the word "asset". So in the final analysis, the meteoric rise of interest in—and sometimes tremendous criticism of—Agile Methodologies is about the mushy stuff of values and culture.
Naming ourselves "The Agile Alliance," this group of independent thinkers about software development, and sometimes competitors to each other, agreed on the Manifesto for Agile Software Development displayed on the title page of this website.