Fifteen years after the Agile Manifesto signing, Bob Martin was interviewed for TechBeacon and reflected on it. The Values from 15 years ago:

  1. Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  2. Working software over comprehensive documentation
  3. Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  4. Responding to change over following a plan

Everyone agrees that Agile has been evolving over the years (Mocking, DevOps, UI automation, pipelines & CD, the backfilling of Lean influences of Deming and Ohno), but the manifesto remains fixed as a historical document.

Thus there is no 5th Agile value, but here’s a list of ones proposed over the years (chronological order):

Keeping the process agile

Alan S Koch in his 2004 book “Agile Software Development: Evaluating the Methods for Your Organization” has a chapter “The Unstated Value: Keeping the Process Agile” which he lists as a 5th value. Seems right - not locally tuning your team’s Agile implementation so that it is not Agile anymore?

Outcomes over features

Dan North in October 2006. Lots of people followed up to the article back then. There was a decent discussion afterwards with Dan, Martin Fowler and Mark McNeil. Dan started the Behavior Driven Development side of Agile (which has stuck), so he’s no intellectual passenger.

Craftsmanship over execution

Bob Martin at Agile 2008 keynote suggested “Craftsmanship over crap”, and in a blog entry later refined it to “Craftsmanship over execution”. There’s another write-up at Bob’s old company 8thLight: Maturing the Manifesto. There was a lot of online discussion about this at the time, and you could argue that the software craftsmanship cause was significantly boosted by it soon afterwards.

Critical thinking and independent judgment over the cult of personality and cult leaders

In 2012, Luca Minudel talked of the one value missing and came up with the above. He linked through to an earlier article listing how Agile had evolved regardless of a 5th value.

Throughput over backlog

Me, in 2014, refining an idea by Paulo Caroli. You could argue that Throughput means nothing if it is crap that you are cranking out (Uncle Bob, 2008), or could assume that we have ratcheting quality metrics in the CI build.


March 16th, 2016