There has been an interesting discussion happening about adding a 5th value statement to the Agile Manifesto. Uncle Bob Martin proposed this addition earlier this month at Agile 2008. The proposal has centered around the idea of craftsmanship or professionalism.
In his keynote, Uncle Bob proposed that we value “Craftsmanship over Crap” and in a later blog post suggested “Craftsmanship over Execution.” I strongly agree with the call for more professionalism and craftsmanship amongst software developers.
The original value statements are comparative. The things on the right still have value, but the things on the left are valued more. “We value working software over comprehensive documentation.” I think what has happened is that we have found something we value more than “working software.”
We value well-crafted software over working software. It’s very important that the software works, but even more important is that the code is clean, that it is easy to read and therefore easy to change.
I’ve been reading “The Craftsman” by Richard Sennett. I’ve found a great definition of craftsmanship:
“They are dedicated to good work for its own sake.”1
A craftsman is driven by quality. Quality software is software that both does what is is supposed to (works) and is clean and easy to continue to work with.
This has me wondering about the other 3 value statements in the manifesto. Are there things that we value more than those things on the left hand side?
We are learning day by day better ways of doing software, so what have we learned since 2001? We have a good idea about how Craftsmanship shapes the way we think about ‘working software.’ How can the idea of Craftsmanship change how we think about ‘responding to change’, ‘individuals and interactions’, and ‘customer collaboration’?
- Sennett, Richard. The Craftsman. Yale University Press. New Haven and London. 2008