Kent Beck updates the agile manifesto for startups and for what has been learned over the past ten years at at Startup Lessons Learned Conference.

Agile Manifesto

10 years ago the agile manifesto was a step forward, but it was a least common denominator of the people at the meeting.

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

Individuals and interactions over processes and tools

There was a day when people thought that if you had the right processes and tools, you could get any monkey to build the software, and it would come out exactly the same. As it turns out that is true. However, people matter. “Individuals and interactions” make a difference in creating the right software. However, valuing “individuals and Interactions” optimize the performance of the individual. Team vision and discipline is a more effective value. It’s not how good a job I can do, but how good a job we are doing.

Working software over comprehensive documentation

People used to believe you didn’t have to talk to people, you just had to open a book and read about it, but the docs were always incomplete and often out of date. Documentation is not as good as having working software, but the goal should be validated learning, which often doesn’t actually require any software at all. In a startup environment, it is not that you don’t know how to write the software — you can’t measure success by working software. In a startup, you start out with “almost impossible assumptions.” It is always the crazy ideas that work out that are the highest values. To succeed, you have to find out which ideas are really impossible and which ones will work out. Working software is a way to answer those questions, but it is better to create a way to learn before you have working software.

Customer collaboration over contract negotiation

Customer collaboration was a big step forward, but in a startup you don’t yet have customers, so what do you do? Focus on customer discovery.

Responding to change over following a plan

Old adage: “Plan the work. Work the Plan” Responding to change was a big step forward. It was not enough to follow the plan because things change too much. However, in a startup nothing is changing yet because nothing is moving yet. You need to create momentum. You need to focus on initiating change. If you don’t initiate change in a startup, you aren’t going anywhere… you need to be moving.

Lean Startup Manifesto

  • Team vision and discipline
  • Validate learning
  • Discover Cusotmers
  • Initiate change

The process “build -> measure -> learn” instead should be:

learn -> measure -> build.

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