#Agile for all industries

(note: this blog is also in Dutch)

The Agile Manifesto was originally written for software development. It has had a huge impact on the way in which we have started to organise IT work. However, there is a serious flaw if you want to apply it in sectors other than IT. I am going to correct this flaw by rewriting the manifesto. My intention is to reduce the influence of IT thinking on agile development and challenge people from other industries to think along. The agile ideology is too important to leave it to IT professionals alone.

The old Manifesto (for software development)

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

That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.

On our way to the new manifesto

The sentences can remain largely intact, I replace ‘working software’ with’ working services/products and finished work’, but this has not yet repaired the flaw. There is still something missing that the authors of the Manifesto have overlooked. Without that, the agile transition in IT would not have been possible.

The missing link is the actor technology (you are indeed reading ‘actor’ and not’ factor’), which has a much greater influence than you would think. It is a different type of actor than a human being who has a will of his own, but that does not alter the fact that technology has a greater influence than we admit. Without technology, it would have been impossible that the agile revolution in the IT would have progressed in the way it has. Automatic testing, devops, does not go without technology. It is technology that has been the engine behind the agile transition, not the Manifesto. It is not agile work that has brought about the digital revolution, but vice versa, because of the digital revolution we have started working agile.

This is the main reason why agile in the way it is promoted is difficult to transfer to other industries than IT. Each industry uses its own technology that determines the way it works. After all, there is little to sprint for a large infrastructural work, and dedicated teams are often not feasible. However, when we consciously opt for innovative technology that supports agile working, then it may well be possible. For example, I’m convinced that 3D printing, AI, automatic cars and augmented reality will make agile work possible in many other sectors.

The new generally applicable agile manifesto

I now come to an updated version of the Manifesto:

  • Innovative agile supporting technology above proven technology.
  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools.
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation.
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation.
  • Responding to change over following a plan.


That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more. We also consider technology to be the driving force in all attempts to become agile.

This seems to me to work better than the old manifesto.