A Few Good Manifestos

July 4, 2012

Since this is the 4th of July – a holiday known as Independence Day for those of us in the United States – I thought it would be fun to look at a few manifestos other than the United States Declaration of Independence, which is a political manifesto…

According to Wikipedia, a manifesto is a public declaration of principles and intentions. The first few manifestos referenced in this post represent good intentions, with the goal of improving our present state. The last two represent what can go wrong, using satire to make a point.

Among the software community, the Manifesto for Agile Software Development (a.k.a., The Agile Manifesto) has gained significant prominence, and rightly so. Since I whole-heartedly support the manifestos I’m referencing, I took the time to do something that I’ve been remiss about, and that is to become a signatory of these manifestos. (Have you taken then time to do the same? If not, do so while you read!)

If you become a signatory of the Manifesto for Agile Software Development, you'll be asked to provide an endorsement. Mine is:
"The Agile Manifesto balances many factors, providing guidance on what should be given greater weight while giving people and organizations the freedom to implement agility in ways that best suits them."
Another manifesto that all of us in the software community should embrace is the Manifesto for Software Craftsmanship. Without craftsmanship, nothing else matters. Our code needs to be well-crafted if our intent is to add to it and maintain it over a period of years. This can be more important that you may think at the outset of a project. I’ve been amazed how long my code has lasted in some cases; certainly much longer than I originally anticipated.

And how do we support craftsmanship? Slack time. It gives you time to re-factor some code, to conduct some research, to hone your skills. And sometimes slack time is an opportunity to re-charge your batteries, making you more productive in the long run. Pawel Brodzinski recently created a Slacker Manifesto that celebrates and promotes the notion of slack time.

Moving on to manifestos unlikely to have any signatories, there is a humorous, yet all-too-real perspective on the challenges some organizations have with embracing agile development captured in the Manifesto for Half-Arsed Agile Software Development.

In response to my own concerns related to corporate leadership and how actions can speak louder than words (yes, this even includes those words captured in PowerPoint slide decks), I crafted my own tongue-in-cheek Manifesto for Poorly-Run Companies.

Are there any other manifestos that you are aware of that I should have cited?

Update: Thanks to Juho Vepsäläinen for his suggestion:

The Hourly Reporting Driven Development Manifesto