Home > Articles > Software Development & Management > Agile

Ten Years of Agile: An Interview with Jon Kern

  • Print
  • + Share This
In this interview, Jon Kern discusses his part in the Agile Manifesto, the evolution of Agile, and what he’s up to now.
Like this article? We recommend

Jon Kern is a consultant and Agile coach, but he also has experience as an entrepreneur (founding or co-founding 5 companies), a business executive, a product evangelist, and an engineer doing R&D on cruise missile jet engines.

In 2001, Jon belonged to a very small group of individuals who were trying to change the face of software development, and was invited to the "Snowbird" gathering in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah. This gathering atop Snowbird later because famous for producing the Agile Manifesto for Software Development.

In this interview, Jon discusses his part in the Agile Manifesto, the evolution of Agile, and what he’s up to now.

InformIT: You were a co-author of the Agile Manifesto in 2001. What drew you to the gathering?

Jon: I think Bob Martin contacted Peter Coad regarding Feature-Driven Development. In his stead, Peter asked if I would participate. I had been working closely with Peter throughout the 90s, on books like Java Design and Modeling in Color with UML (where I helped a great deal on the FDD section with Jeff De Luca). In 1999, I joined Peter when we founded TogetherSoft to further promote our UML modeling tool and to extend our reach with Coad-certified mentors--teaching Java, OO, FDD, and kick-starting projects.

InformIT: Ten years ago, what were your predictions and expectations for the Agile movement?

Jon: My recollection was that heavy-weight processes--like RUP and MIL-STD 2167--were more commonplace than I liked. The massive rigor of RUP especially rubbed me the wrong way--and, at TogetherSoft, we were always going head-to-head (and frequently winning) against Rational. But Rational was a huge marketing machine, and people were fawning all over the heavyweight process CDs. UGH.

So we were getting together as lightweight methodologists (in the process sense, not manly-sense <g>), to discuss ways that we work and how we think about projects and process. We wanted to find what--if any--common threads existed among our processes.

Given the strong wills in the room, I was very pleased (and mildly surprised) that we netted out our commonalities down to a handful of bullets. One of my big impetuses was to engender "honesty" in the software development process. Too many projects were being run by Gantt charts with tasks being forever 87% done, but never completed. I wanted to ensure we promoted "Frequent, Tangible, Working Results"--something Peter Coad beat into my head.

However, to your question, I had no expectations. We did not set about to do anything other than meet, learn what we had in common, and share it. I'm not sure anybody thought much of anything would happen. I sure did not anticipate we would start a craze!

InformIT: Since the manifesto was signed in 2001, we've seen the agile movement spawn a dozen conferences, several associations, hundreds of books, and even new movements like Software Craft. How does this differ from your wishes and predictions from ten years ago? In hindsight, do you see any downside to the direction Agile has taken, or do you see more possible benefit had it taken a different direction?

Jon: I'm happy that "agile" has spawned on new ideas. I like rocking the status quo. The only thing that has me mildly torn--and only mildly, because "to each his own" and "what-evs" come to mind--is the craze surrounding Scrum. Scrum, scrum, scrum, scrum. Part of me is happy that there are legions out there turning the sod under, trying to sow the agile seeds via Scrum. Another part of me thinks it is like Corn-to-Ethanol. A waste of energy for the dumbfounded among us, spurred on by lots of lobbying.

InformIT: What do you find to be new and exciting in the world of agile software? Where do you predict the world of software development is heading next?

Jon: I am completely wrapped up in the world of Ruby. (Wishing I had had the time to have listened to and acted on the Pragmatic programmers (Andy and Dave) way back when they mentioned Ruby and wondered if we would support it in TogetherSoft. Too much of a niche back then... If I only knew then what I know now...)

Anyway, for me, Ruby is the closest thing to meet the age-old promise of OO, yet seemingly eluded most of us for decades in various other languages (C++, C#, Java). The constellation of tools and community and what have you, really lend itself to being a very agile shop with very little effort.

InformIT: What advice would your current self give to yourself at that Agile meeting ten years ago?

Jon: Hmmm. Great question. I think it would be to have gone out a few days earlier to have gotten more time in for even more skiing.

InformIT: What are you working on now?

Jon: I have a couple of small companies that I am part of. We are doing development with Ruby, Rails, MongoDB, MongoMapper. The problem domain spaces are:

  • AxialExchange Healthcare (taking in disparate message feeds, HL7, NEMSIS, etc.) and doing useful information processing to keep doctors and other entities informed of various events around patient encounters to help the care follow the patient by breaking down the silos.
  • Blazemark Pre-incident Planning (for fire, police, first responder types). Preplanning buildings to help save lives and property.

InformIT: Where can we go to learn more about those projects?

Jon: Oh, hmmm. Well both products are used exclusively by registered, logged-in users, and neither have the sort of marketing websites they probably deserve (hoping to change that this year). So you can read more at http://getblazemark.com and http://AxialExchange.com. Plus you can often tell what sorts of tech I am trying to learn while doing these projects from my blog at http://TechnicalDebt.com.

InformIT: Thank you for participating, Jon.

Jon: My pleasure. Thanks for caring :-)

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.

Overview


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information


To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.

Surveys

Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.

Newsletters

If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information


Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.

Security


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.

Children


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.

Marketing


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information


If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.

Choice/Opt-out


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information


Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents


California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure


Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

Links


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact


Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice


We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020