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Agile Manifesto 10 Year Reunion

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Ten years ago a group of software professionals gathered in Snowbird, Utah. Seventeen people created and signed what we now know as the Agile Manifesto.

Alistair Cockburn is organising a reunion to celebrate the event on 12 Feb 2011.

The event will aim to answer the following three questions:

  • What problems in software or product development have we solved (and therefore should not simply keep re-solving)?
  • What problems are fundamentally unsolvable (so therefore we should not keep trying to “solve” them)?
  • What problems can we sensibly address – problems that we can mitigate either with money, effort or innovation? (and therefore, these are the problems we should set our attention to, next.)

Alistair gave InfoQ a short interview to tell us what is happening.

InfoQ: Please tell us about the event. Why is it happening? What is the format?

Alistair: Because the Agile Manifesto had a big impact on our industry, there are many groups celebrating or recognizing it this year, I initiated a get-together of experienced, thinking software people to celebrate the event and have a thoughtful discussion.

In this case, the discussion should not be about agile development – that was our discussion ten years ago. Our discussion will be looking back and looking forward: what can we count as problems solved and unsolvable, and what can we fruitfully address?

The reason for looking for solved problems is that our industry has made a lot of progress in the last 50 years, and we should take the time to recognize the accomplishments to date – too often, we beat ourselves up as an industry.

The reason for identifying unsolvable problems is that we periodically throw good effort after problems that we can't possible resolve (such as "How can get my boss or workers to do what I want?" :).

The remaining problems fall into two categories, those that might be addressable with large amounts of money, and those that even large amounts of money won't solve, but that might be addressed in other ways, such as innovation.

Our intention is to have the celebration of the writing of the Agile Manifesto on the Friday evening and first thing on Saturday morning, and then be done with it. We will have a facilitated workshop during the day with an afternoon break for people to continue talking either in the coffee shop or on the ski lift, then reconvene in the evening to continue the discussion.

InfoQ: What do you hope will come out of the reunion?

Alistair: In the worst case, a celebration of a landmark event and a good discussion. If we're lucky, we may get a list of solved, unsolvable and interesting problems worth looking at for the next decade.

InfoQ: Who will be there?

Alistair: I was happy to be able to invite people from Europe as well as the U.S., from corporate and academia as well as consultant, and from different areas of expertise. About four dozen people were invited, of which nearly three dozen have accepted, including Jeff Sutherland, Phillipe Kruchten and Scott Ambler.

InfoQ: How do people sign up?

Alistair: Because the event itself is small – we could only accommodate 30-35 people, the event was by invitation. We set up the site so that others could comment with their views, post pictures of agile in action, and sponsor, if they wish. Also, we'll be using the Twitter handle #10yrsagile during the event, and displaying the Twitter stream in the room so we can see what people are saying while we work.

If you cannot attend, you can still join in the conversation.

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