Home > Articles > Software Development & Management > Agile

Ten Years Of Agile: An Interview with Robert C. "Uncle Bob" Martin

InformIT interviews Uncle Bob Martin, one of the original Agile Manifesto signatories, on the ten-year anniversary of its creation.
Like this article? We recommend

Robert C. “Uncle Bob” Martin has written two books on software craftsmanship, a half-dozen on programming and patterns, was the CEO of Object Mentor, signatory of the Agile Manifesto, a master craftsman at 8th light, and has decades of programming experience.

Just a few months ago we interviewed Uncle Bob about his new book, The Clean Coder, but given that this is also the tenth anniversary of the signing of the Agile Manifesto, we thought it was time to take a look back, reflect on what's changed , and find out what he is working on next.

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

Bob: In 2000 I asked Martin Fowler to lunch to talk about the idea of a "Lightweight Process Summit." We were both part of the Extreme Programming movement, but we had seen that there were several other similar processes, most notably SCRUM, FDD, DSDM, and Crystal. We thought it would be a good idea to get the advocates of all those processes together with other industry leaders to see if there wasn't some way to find and define common ground. I suggested to Martin at the time that we might be able to create some kind of manifesto. He and I put an invitation list together. I composed the invitation and sent it out. After that the process took on a life of its own.

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

Bob: My goal was a manifesto declaring the unity of purpose amongst all the lightweight process advocates. I feared that without such a stated unity of purpose we would be seen as competing factions and would not be able to break the inertia of waterfall. I foresaw nothing more than that, and wasn't even sure the manifesto could be achieved.

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 if it had taken a different direction?

Bob: Oh I have my quibbles with the Agile movement. I don't much like the current certification mania, and I think the project managers have become too powerful a faction in the Agile movement in general. However, the overall effect of the Agile movement has been enormously positive. Thousands and thousands of teams are working in short cycles with lots of feedback. Continuous Integration has become commonplace. And a significant number of developers are even practicing Test Driven Development. This exceeds my wildest dreams.

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?

Bob: I'm not looking for anything new and exciting to come out of Agile. What I'm looking for is consolidation and adoption! We have made significant inroads into the waterfall mindset; but we've got a long way to go before we actually turn software development into a true profession. For example, there are still programmers out there who don't write tests and think it's OK to ship bugs. There are managers who think the fastest way to market is to overwork programmers and force them to write dirty code. There are project managers who think software projects can be planned in advance with Microsoft Project. So the last thing the Agile movement needs is the randomizing effect of a whole bunch of grand new ideas. The more we appear to be zealots in constant search of the new true path, the less effective we'll be at solving the real problems.

InformIT: If you could go back and give advice to yourself ten years ago, knowing what you know now, what would it be?

Bob: I should not have sold the XP Universe conference to the Agile Alliance. I think that was a huge mistake. At the time we had two conferences. Agile 200X and XP Universe. The two conferences were virtually identical. They had the same speakers, the same topics, and the same attendees. It was embarrassing. So I sat down with Ken Schwaber, who was the chair of the Agile Alliance, named a price, and told him that I'd either sell him XP Universe for that price, or I'd buy Agile 200X for that price. He nodded and said he'd buy XP Universe. What I did not foresee was the loss of the technical emphasis that rapidly followed. The Agile conference has become a conference for project managers, not for programmers. And regardless of how hard the organizers try to fix this, the overwhelming influence of the project managers remains. Had I not sold the conference, I think the two conferences would have quickly diverged and we would currently have two very healthy conferences, one for PM's and one for programmers, with plenty of overlap. Now, unfortunately, things are pretty unbalanced, and that's causing some strife. The Software Craftsmanship movement is an attempt to repair that rift, but Agile has a huge head start.

InformIT: What are you working on now?

Bob: Videos. I'm having an absolute blast creating the video episodes at cleancoders.com. These videos are all about Agile, Clean Code, Principles, Programming, Refactoring, and anything else I can think of. There's also a fair bit of astronomy in them. Of course I continue to travel the world teaching courses on Agile, Test Driven Development, Clean Code, Principles of OO, etc. I also do a lot of speaking and keynoting for various conferences and companies. For fun, I'm learning Clojure. I think the functional languages are in the ascendancy, and I think Clojure is the best of the current batch. And, of course, I still maintain FitNesse at fitnesse.org. For non-technical fun, I ride my bike a lot and go camping with my family.

InformIT: Thank you for participating.

Bob: Always my pleasure.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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


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.


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.


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