Secrets from the Agile Manifesto Authors

Ryan Lockard
Apr 26, 2019
1:00 pm - 1:45 pm

Secrets from the Agile Manifesto Authors


I interviewed 14 of the 17 Agile Manifesto authors for a special podcast project with the intent to chronicle the manifesto story. What emerged was much more. The story of why the event was needed, what the vision was, how this was ruined in industry. Learn how DevOps is the true agility enabler.

Learning Objectives

“Interviews can be found here and are SEC accredited by Scrum Alliance.

Manifesto Author Review

I have been lucky enough to personally interview 14 of the agile manifesto authors, a project that has totally shifted my perspective on agility and working with teams. This project was the vision of my team ñ the Agile Uprising ñ and was conducted over 6 months and chronicled via a globally distributed podcast. During this time period, our podcast went from 0 listeners to an average of 8,000 per month.

The initial inception of the project was to tell the story behind the manifesto and itís authors. The trigger was some work we were doing with Ken Schwaber and it was cancelled due to his failing health. We realized there was a huge moment in software history that had not been told, and these men were not getting any younger. We intended to interview each to understand what they were doing before, during and shortly after the Manifesto event in 2001. As the interviews started adding up, we heard a story of what Agile was meant to be, versus what it has become.

We learned that there were essentially 3 themes in all 14 interviews:

  1. Focus on engineering culture
  2. Build strong, empowered, teams
  3. Establish mindfulness in delivery organizations

These 3 simple bullets are generally missed in most agile adoptions and transformations. Perhaps parts or some aspects are met, but on-whole, they are lacking. We focus too much on agile as a topic of didactic learning, and not a mindset. And what you see really emerge as a thing of beauty, is the residual benefits where these themes intersect. When Mindfulness and Technical Practices overlap you form strong process and integrated DevOps. Where Strong Teams and Technical Practices overlap you find rapid delivery of high quality working software. And where you find the convergence of all three elements, you find true value delivery flow.

This talk hones in on the re-centering of agile intent. It is agnostic of certification and scaling conversations, and builds a solid argument for the movements in Alistair Cockburnís ìHeart of Agileî, Joshua Kerievskyís ìModern Agileî and Bob Martinís ìClean Coderî movements.

As the talk wraps, I provide hope for the future of agility and engineering. A direction for attendees to move and an attempt to challenge the larger agile anti-patterns that are very prevalent in practice today.”

When/Where Presented Before


This talk has been given a few times and is constantly being improved. It will be given as the Keynote for the Scrum Alliance Scrum Gathering Canada, the closing talk at DevOps Days NYC, and a session opening talk for Agile Dev West in Las Vegas in 2018 plus others.

This talk was also given in 2017 at the Agile Alliance OnAgile conference and the DevOps NYC meetup.