What the Agile process really meant

April 28, 2015

There are many misconceptions when developing software using the Agile process.

The Agile Manifesto clearly states the following:

Individuals and interactions… over processes and tools
Working software… over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration… over contract negotiation
Responding to change… over following a plan

It also follows that with the following statement:
“…while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.”

As a result of this, most organisations appear to focus on the left and almost completely botch the right hand side. Some even attempt to justify missing it out completely.

That is a misguided interpretation.

The manifesto does not state that you should completely ignore the right hand side. For example, there are many cases where you need documentation on how something should work. Should the only location that his information appears be in code? Of course not!

Do build your software. Do focus your main efforts on the left side of the guidance, but please, please, please, don’t completely ignore the right hand side. Otherwise you could lose valuable time reconstructing why something was done a certain way, and maintenance could also become a nightmare.