AT#33: Why we need a new Agile Manifesto

AT#33: Why we need a new Agile Manifesto

AT#33: Why we need a new Agile Manifesto

The Agile Manifesto, created by seventeen guys from the field of software engineering eighteen years ago has certainly changed the way we create software solutions fundamentally and radically. The great majority of software development projects is done using agile practices like Scrum. Today, everybody knows the famous “we value X over Y” statements:

In recent years, ideas for scaling agile to a company-wide scope (eg, SAFe ©) and approaches to the “agile organization” have become increasingly popular. Nowadays everything needs to be “Agile”,

a clear sign that we are at the “peak of inflected expectations” (to speak with Gartner’s hype cycle).

Everybody inventing a “new” agile approach refers to the Agile Manifesto as the fundament.

But how can a Manifesto that has been created with the focus on software development for single solutions be a solid fundament for enterprise-wide agility?

The simple answer: it can’t.

What is missing? Values that are mandatory to scale Agile. The existing agile manifesto is solution focused but not enterprise-aware. This might be one reason that emerging practices for scaling Agile (like SAFe@, LeSS, Nexus,…) and the “agile organization” are still immature, success stories rare.


Suggestions for an Agile Manifesto 2.0

In his “Disciplined Agile” approach, Architectural Thinking Associations’s Leadership Team member Scott Ambler suggests a “Disciplined Agile Manifesto“. It is the basis for the Manifesto extensions we discuss  in this blog. Sentences in italic are quotes to the Disciplined Agile Manifesto:

1. Sustainable Solutions, not just software. Where the original manifesto focused on software development, a term which too many people have understood to mean only software development, DA suggests that we should focus on solution delivery. In short, we prefer solutions (software + hardware + supporting documentation + business process + organization structure) over just software. Solutions should be sustainable, which means that their business value is maximized from an enterprise-wide and long-term viewpoint.

2. Stakeholders, not just customers. Where the original manifesto focused on customers, we suggest that we focus on the full range of stakeholders instead. We prefer stakeholders – end users, operations people, sustainment people, audit, finance, and many more – over just customers. Last, but maybe most important: the enterprise as a whole must be treated as a customer.

3. Malleable Plans, not just responding to change. We agree that responding to change is mandatory in today’s volatile surroundings. But with General Dwight D. Eisenhower: “In preparing for battle, I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable” we believe that “malleable” plans are better than purely ad-hoc agility.

4. Enterprise-awareness over point solutions. We believe that following the current Agile Manifesto and its focus on the “end-user” blindly leads to point solutions that can be a catastrophe from an enterprise-wide viewpoint on the long-term. Business people should adopt an architectural thinking mindset and become aware of the dependencies with other business units. Lean business architecture models should be the basis for all strategic decisions.


And this is what a new agile manifesto could look like:

If you want to discuss and co-create a new Manifesto with us, please feel free to contact us at

Previous Posts:

AT#17: Architectural Thinking – the Success Factor for Scaled Agile

AT#10: Technical Debt – the ignored Killer of “Agile” Enterprises

AT#8: Agile goes awry when loosing Balance between Speed and Sustainability

Please spread the Ideas of Architectural Thinking!


Robin Davis Posted on 11:48 am - Jul 4, 2019

Thanks, Wolfgang, for the article :-). I stumbled across this while browsing your site after seeing a link at AT #40.

I agree with this article so much that I have posted a link to it on LinkedIn. Working in Strategy, EA and Solution Arch space at clients has been a nightmare for years where clients have tried (and typically failed) to apply Agile practices to the whole of Delivery and failed.

Yes, OK for CX and software delivery but, beyond that, it is typically an abject failure. No decent definition of Products, no Product Management with Business buy-in/authority, riding roughshod over architecture and implementing their own abortion, introducing technical debt.

SAFe is a good step in the right direction with the Arch Runway starting way before being able to deliver business features (especially for Green-field) but I have not found a client yet that has both understood and implemented this (bar my one client where I introduced it and they got it).

FYI There is a couple of similar good articles here, though I expect you’ve seen them):

Robert DuWors Posted on 1:51 am - Aug 26, 2019

The Adaptive Manifesto

Digital Architectures in all their forms anchor themselves in service value. Such architectures focus on how services produce value over time.

To use the linguistic architecture of the Agile Manifesto, we favor a time driven notion of value under control with feedback*:

Services Delivering Value over capabilities and transitions

Controlling Continuous Business Services over one time business processes

Managing Everything as a Service over project management

Evolution over transformation to future state

Conscious Choice of Grain over scalability

Rhythm of the Business over cadence

End-to-End Continuous Control over design and operate

In Short, Adaptability to Survive and Thrive over agility

While we acknowledge the stuff on the right has value, we think not so much as on the left.

* Also know as “closed loop” control.

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Please spread the Ideas of Architectural Thinking!