The State of Agile

Ken Schwaber | 03:15 – 04:30


I do not know what the state of agile is. I do not know if it is better than waterfall. I think it is, it certainly feels better, all of the surveys say that it is better. However, when a customer asks me how they are doing, I’m stumped. All I have is circumstantial evidence, not proof. I asked them to get ALM tools. I encouraged test first development. But has the organization received more value in return? Neither they nor I know.

I’ll describe a practice derived from medicine, Evidence Based Management, in which we can evaluate our improvement efforts based on indisputable outcomes that measure organizational value. We’ll look at how we can relate these outcomes to circumstantial evidence of development capability. Whatever, we can move from software being seen as an expense.


Ken Schwaber is a co-founder of the worldwide Agile software movement and co-creator, with Jeff Sutherland, of the Scrum technique for building software in 30 days. Ken was a signatory to the Agile Manifesto in 2001, and helped to found the Agile Alliance and Scrum Alliance. He is now president of, a software consulting firm headquartered in Boston, and the author of many seminal books and articles. The most recent, with Jeff Sutherland, is “Software in 30 Days: How Agile Managers Beat the Odds, Delight their Customers, and Leave Competitors in the Dust.” When it comes to the profession of software development, he has more than 40 years experience from hacked to procedural to object, from bottle-washer to cook.