Historical Roots of Agile Methods: Where Did “Agile Thinking” Come From?

  • Noura Abbas
  • Andrew M. Gravell
  • Gary B. Wills
Part of the Lecture Notes in Business Information Processing book series (LNBIP, volume 9)


The appearance of Agile methods has been the most noticeable change to software process thinking in the last fifteen years [16], but in fact many of the “Agile ideas” have been around since 70’s or even before. Many studies and reviews have been conducted about Agile methods which ascribe their emergence as a reaction against traditional methods. In this paper, we argue that although Agile methods are new as a whole, they have strong roots in the history of software engineering. In addition to the iterative and incremental approaches that have been in use since 1957 [21], people who criticised the traditional methods suggested alternative approaches which were actually Agile ideas such as the response to change, customer involvement, and working software over documentation. The authors of this paper believe that education about the history of Agile thinking will help to develop better understanding as well as promoting the use of Agile methods. We therefore present and discuss the reasons behind the development and introduction of Agile methods, as a reaction to traditional methods, as a result of people’s experience, and in particular focusing on reusing ideas from history.


Agile Methods Software Development Foundations and Conceptual Studies of Agile Methods 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Noura Abbas
    • 1
  • Andrew M. Gravell
    • 1
  • Gary B. Wills
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Electronics and Computer ScienceUniversity of SouthamptonSouthamptonUnited Kingdom

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