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A too frequent question over the past couple of weeks has been “what characterises Agile development for you?”, or some variant on that. Thinking about it this evening, I am struck by how much stuff has accumulated around what is a very simple, elegant manifesto. Go look at the WikiPedia article to see how much has been built around the idea.

In particular, the attitude I keep confronting is, loosely, “Agile = SCRUM”. A few people extend that to “Agile = SCRUM + CI”. More commonly I’m seeing the equation “Agile = SCRUM + Testing”, which is interesting, because what people are really articulating is “Agile = XP + some vague notions of short release cycles”. I really think that in a lot of places, Agile has become as much of a vast over-engineered framework as any older methodology. On the other hand, I am a curmudgeon.

It’s worth restating the agile methodology though, ripped straight from the site:

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.

Words to live by, or at least to work by.

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