Escorted on stage by a bagpipe rendition of Amazing Grace, Alistair Cockburn, Ph.D., began his keynote address for the Agile 2009 Conference by waxing Shakespearean on the death of agile as we know it:
I come to bury agile, not to praise it;
The evil methods do lives after them,
The good is oft interred with their bones,
So let it be with agile.
The noble Waterfall
Hath told you agile was ambitious:
If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
And grievously hath agile answered it.
(Adapted from Julius Caesar, Act 3, Scene 2. You can read Alistair's full monologue here.)
Melodramatic (in a good way) to be sure.
But Alistair, an IT strategist and co-author of the Agile Manifesto, doesn't really believe agile has "met its maker" as the saying goes. Instead, he said agile is in transition--it's not the agile of the 1990s. The landscape has changed. It's grown beyond small organizations and is being applied to much richer, much more complex concepts and projects.
Agile shouldn't be "new news," he said. "We're focusing so heavily on things that are 15 years old, I want to start focusing on things that are current."
He also shared three pillars of 21st century software development:
â€¢ Software development is a craft: Developers must pay attention to their skills and to the medium--they must relearn every few years.
â€¢ Software development is a cooperative game of invention and communication: It relies on teamwork, communication and strategies.
â€¢ Software development should use lean processes: That means small queues, cross-trained people and varied processes.
Hosted by the Agile Alliance, the conference has pulled in 1,400 attendees from more than 38 countries. You can follow all of the conference happenings on Twitter.
Did you attend Alistair's keynote address? What did you think?
More to come.