Presto Manifesto

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Timing: 10 mins


  • Whiteboards and/or flip-charts
  • Markers


Begin by defining what success on a software development project means. Is it only about being on time and on budget? What about customer satisfaction?
Divide the participants in to groups and ask them to, based on their project experiences, come up with a list of criteria that they have noticed as critical elements on successful projects.
Ask them to reach a consensus within their team and have each member sign off on the criteria they agree with.
Look for patterns between each team’s list and then discuss. Compare each teams list with the list that the 17 signatories of the agile manifesto came up with.
You will be surprised at the results, regardless of the participants experience with agile. You will rarely see any team come up with prescriptive practices and I have yet to come across a list that did not include customer collaboration, communication, and team dynamics.

Learning Points:

  • The agile manifesto is a set of factors that are considered common on successful projects.
  • These successful factors are not entirely new to our industry.
  • The agile manifesto does not prescribe specific practices, reaching a wide consensus on these would be very hard.
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2 Responses to "Presto Manifesto"
  • Gary McCants June 26, 2009 at 9:06 am

    I LOVE this little game! I have used it twice this year with classes introducing agile to large companies. It simply and effectively cuts through the “formality” often attributed to the Manifesto by nay-sayers, and helps the class feel a personal connection to one or more of the values and principles. The teaching point concerning consensus is particularly helpful to me when the topic of dogmatism arises: it really helps the stubborn students realize that we must agree on certain values, but it healthy to dissent on some principles.

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    Rating: 4.0/5 (1 vote cast)
  • John Hebley June 26, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    I agree. Great introduction game. I plan on using it as well. It’s difficult for students to disagree with the manifesto when they have just written down the same things.

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    Rating: 4.0/5 (1 vote cast)
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