Grand Synthesis

The Agile Movement didn't appear out of nowhere. It came about as a synthesis of many concepts, many of which had been around for a long time. Much can be said about Darwin's theory of evolution.

Paradigm Shifts happen, not so much from new ideas, but from a grand synthesis of existing ones.

Here is how Stephen Denning explains it:

> Many of the elements of Agile management were around long before the Agile Manifesto. Since time immemorial, artists have worked in an iterative fashion: Masterpieces usually evolve through trial and error, rather than emerging perfect from an initial plan. In the nineteenth century, Helmuth von Moltke, the chief of the Prussian (later German) General Staff, developed and applied the concept of Auftragstaktik to cope with uncertainty. Iterative work practices were promoted in the 1930s by Walter Shewhart, a quality expert at Bell Labs. Agile has considerable overlap with design thinking that stems from Herbert A. Simon’s book The Sciences of the Artificial (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1969). Self-organizing teams have been the staple of new product development for decades. Reducing inventory and delivering value to clients with each iteration are at the heart of lean manufacturing, which was invented by Toyota some fifty years ago. Continuous self-improvement has been a legacy from the total quality movement for more than half a century. Finding ways to measure client delight and the consequent impact on firm growth has been systematically studied by Fred Reichheld and his colleagues at the consulting firm Bain & Company for over twenty-five years.

Distilling this narrative down, we have these core concepts that helped form Agile: * Adaptation * Iteration * Design Thinking * Teamwork * Continuous Improvement * Customer Focus

But why did all of these concepts synthesize together when the did, focused on software development - the enabling technology of the new creative economy?

The catalyst for Agile as a profound, new paradigm shift was the work of Alan Kay and his colleagues at PARC. They were the ones that unleashed the computer's creative power. This power, when it got into other's hands, began to change the world, enabling us to re-imagine how we create. Quickly, around this vortex of change, all of the other concepts began to quickly align.

They were the ones that unleashed the computer's creative power. This power, when it got into other's hands, began to change the world, forcing us to re-imagine how we create. Quickly, around this vortex of change, all of the other concepts began to quickly align.