“Oh great, another manifesto…”
(Full disclosure: I played a part in creating one of those manifestos, the Declaration of Interdependence.)
Then I wondered how many manifestos there are in the world of business and software. So in a bout of productive procrastination, I conducted a search. The results are listed below in an admittedly arbitrary organizational scheme. During the search, a couple of questions came to mind.
Why Write a Manifesto?
Manifestos are generally used to publicly declare principles and intentions and have been used for political purposes for several centuries. Geoff McDonald (no relation) compiled this list of famous manifestos which includes things such as the Bible, the US Declaration of Independence, Martin Luther King’s “I have a Dream Speech”, and the Communist Manifesto.
One of the other items on that list is the Cluetrain Manifesto. This manifesto, originally posted online in 1999 spoke to the impact that the authors foresaw the internet having on business. It probably signals the start of a trend toward using manifestos to share principles outside of the political sphere.
The document that had even more of an impact on the manifesto trend in technology and business is the Manifesto for Agile Software Development written in 2001. The Agile Manifesto provided a statement of values and principles that became a focal point for the agile software development community to form around.
Since it’s original creation in 2001 the Agile Manifesto has been widely referenced and has inspired a host of additional manifestos, including a fair share of parodies.
People with a set of beliefs in some aspect of business or technology look at the spread of agile software development, attribute the spread to the presence of a manifesto and reason that if it worked for agile…
What makes a Successful Manifesto?
Since manifestos are intended to declare and spread the ideas of its authors. Therefore a successful manifesto is one that spreads those ideas wide and generates actions that are aligned with the ideas contained within.
If you look at the manifestos in the list below and see which ones are more well known than others, there are some possible patterns that contribute to success:
- The manifesto resonates with people and expresses principles that they share.
- The manifesto is simple and concise
- The manifesto is created by a group of people from different organizations who may compete, but share the same values and principles
- The manifesto is backed by a community where people can share ideas and experiences about how they’ve actually applied the ideas in the manifesto in their actual context.
Here is a list of manifestos related to Business and Software. Please let me know if I’ve left any off.
Agile and Agility
Agile Manifesto Variations
Business Analysis Manifesto (Xebia)
The Business Analyst Manifesto (Bridging the Gap)
The Business Analysis Manifesto (Business Exchnage)
Jeffrey Davidson’s BA Manifesto