What would a new Agile Manifesto look like?

Picture © 2009 Metropolitan Books — Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford’s Forgotten Jungle City, Greg Grandin

But, what does this have to do with the Agile Manifesto?

Recently, Andy Hunt, one of the authors of the Agile Manifesto, shared on his social networks the perception that through a good understanding of context we could better define which methods to use in each situation, even having the ability to observe when Agile ceases to be a good option.

"As I go hoarse for saying, context matters! Maybe we should have included that in the top four principles" said Andy Hunt.

A few days later, Simon Wardley, creator of Wardley Maps, went on to say that companies that follow Agile to the fullest extent, ignoring other methods and schools of thought, will never be able to be truly agile, which echoes what I published in “All businesses need agility, but not everyone needs Agile".

The problem, we must admit, lies in our limitation in understanding and responding to contexts in a more rational and less dogmatic way.

But, of course, we always look at the context!

I remember that right at the beginning of the Agile movement every time we approached project managers to talk about this, the answer we always received was, "but of course, agility is important, of course we are agile!" It was difficult for them to admit a distance between what the Manifesto said and what they practiced, “how are these people saying we are not agile?”

So, how to learn more about contexts?

Cynefin, created by Dave Snowden, is one of the centerpieces for much of our sense-making processes here at Emergee.

Final notes

The reality of Fordlandia’s past and present is very different from that envisioned by Henry Ford. The practice that ignored the context resulted in oppression, frustration and abandonment.

Cynefin, with an exempt vision for practices, proves to be an excellent alternative to help us find the most appropriate strategy for agility in each context. No bias, no propensities.

Said all that, I believe that we do not need a new manifesto; but if I had to forge a new one, I would do it with a single line: “From context to practice, not the other way around”.


I was born in Altamira(Pará/Brazil), where I lived until I was 10 years old. I have a vague recollection of the adults commenting on the history of “ America of the Amazon”, as they called Fordlandia. In a recent conversation with my dad, I learned that many people in that region lived until the end of their lives with the hope that, at some point, the Americans would return to make that beautiful image sold and idealized by Henry Ford come true — which never happened.



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AleXandre Magno

AleXandre Magno

Founder at Emergee; Certified Scrum Trainer at Scrum Alliance; Author of "Learning 3.0 — How Creative Workers Learn" and "Tire seu projeto do papel com Scrum"