National Treasures of Agile Development


Recent research has discovered a very interesting cache of papers about a little known Tribe called the Agile Developers. The first document is a draft dated July 4th (the year is illegible).

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for some developers to dissolve the bands which have connected them with others, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self evident,

    • that all agile developers are created equal,


    • that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights,


    • that among these are Work, Freedom from unnecessary bureaucracy and the pursuit of that Happiness resulting from frequent delivery of working software to the business.


    • That to secure these rights methods are implemented by development teams deriving their just powers from the consent of the stakeholders


    • That whenever any Form of Process becomes destructive of these needs, it is the Right of the Developer to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Processes, laying their foundation on such principles and organizing their powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Job Safety and Happiness. When a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Process, and to provide new Guards for their future security.


  • Such has been the patient sufferance of these Developers; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Processes.

The history of the present Formal High Priesthood is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these Projects. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

They have refused their Assent to Practices, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

They have forbidden Project Managers to allow Practices of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till their Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, they have utterly neglected to attend to them.

They have refused to OK other Practices for the accommodation of groups of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

They have called together Functional and Physical Configuration Audits at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

They have dissolved Standup Planning Meetings repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness their invasions on the rights of the developers.

They have failed to provide their Developers with Private Workspaces to code, integrate, and test in.

They have refused for a long time a Centralized, Automated, Integration Build Process that provides a definitive test of whether the codeline is "good."

They have erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

They have failed to provide Tools to run the application as a whole.

They have combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution and unacknowledged by our laws; giving Assent to their Acts of Legislation:

Removing the ability to commit changes to an appropriate codeline at any time.

Removing freedom to resynchronize with the latest codeline without fear of interrupting work because of things that are broken.

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Processes, and altering

About the author

Robert Cowham's picture Robert Cowham

Robert Cowham has long been interested in software configuration management while retaining the attitude of a generalist with experience and skills in many aspects of software development. A regular presenter at conferences, he authored the Agile SCM column within the CM Journal together with Brad Appleton and Steve Berczuk. His day job is as Services Director for Square Mile Systems whose main focus is on skills and techniques for infrastructure configuration management and DCIM (Data Center Infrastructure Management) - applying configuration management principles to hardware documentation and implementation as well as mapping ITIL services to the underlying layers.

About the author

Brad Appleton's picture Brad Appleton

Brad Appleton is a software CM/ALM solution architect and lean/agile development champion at a large telecommunications company. Currently he helps projects and teams adopt and apply lean/agile development and CM/ALM practices and tools. He is coauthor of the book Software Configuration Management Patterns, a columnist for the CMCrossroads and AgileConnection communities at,  and a former section editor for The C++ Report. You can read Brad's blog at

About the author

Steve Berczuk's picture Steve Berczuk

Steve Berczuk is a Principal Engineer and Scrum Master at Fitbit. The author of Software Configuration Management Patterns: Effective Teamwork, Practical Integration, he is a recognized expert in software configuration management and agile software development. Steve is passionate about helping teams work effectively to produce quality software. He has an M.S. in operations research from Stanford University and an S.B. in Electrical Engineering from MIT, and is a certified, practicing ScrumMaster. Contact Steve at or visit and follow his blog at

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