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The Founding Fathers of Modern Agile

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Professional and personal development is deeply integrated into the process of growth. We seek inspiration in many different ways and sources. One of them is by turning to experts in fields we are interested in to further our knowledge and develop new skills. Those experts, aka founding fathers, can have a massive impact on portraying certain matters and inspiring us to evolve. We can learn so much from the people we admire and who are pioneers in their fields. Within Product and Project Management, there are many great individuals, but who can be classified as the most reliable? This is very hard to identify. We bring you closer to these six amazing figures. We trust they can lay great foundations for you to explore the Product and Project Management world further. They all represent a wide spectrum of methodologies and have their own interesting angles and few golden nuggets.

1. Alistair Cockburn

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Alistair Cockburn is known as one of the initiators of the agile movement in software development. He helped write The Manifesto for Agile Software Development, further extension of that piece as PM Declaration of Interdependence and co-founded the International Consortium of Agile. In 2015, he launched the Heart of Agile movement to address the overly complex state of the Agile industry. Extensive interviews with project teams established him throughout his career. Together with his active participation in live projects, these interviews form the basis for his methodology designs: light but sufficient and self-evolving. Till today, he is very active on Twitter with his posts on agile matters. Publications 

2. Martin Fowler

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Just as Alistair Cockburn, Fowler was part of a group called The Agile Alliance, which wrote The Manifesto for Agile Software Development. Famously known for popularising how to pronounce the word Agile, as actually being a neutralized American. Currently, he is the Chief Scientist for Thoughtworks, an application development, and consulting company. For over a decade, involved in using object-oriented techniques for information systems. His primary interest has been in software design. However, he’s never avoided the software process. Often interested in approaches that allow the methodology to fit people rather than the other way around. In his career, he wrote seven books on software development. Martin runs a bliki, a combination of a blog and a wiki, where he shares patterns and practices that make it easier to build useful software. Publications  

3. Jeff Sutherland

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A former US Air Force with a "Top Gun" status, Jeff Sutherland is famously known as the co-creator of the Scrum process. Together with Ken Schwaber, he wrote and maintained The Scrum Guide since 1995. A leading expert on organizational management and on how the Scrum framework evolved by realizing its benefits. His strategy was adapted by other industries, including finance, healthcare, and telecommunications. His work on large component-based software projects has led to innovations in banking, insurance, library systems, aerospace, airline and aircraft leasing, nuclear engineering, and robotics. By noticing insufficient banks’ waterfall processes, he implemented the first prototype of Scrum@Scale for the organizational transformation of a business unit. In addition to running his own company Scrum Inc., he is also involved in an investment fund. Tesla Investment Holdings LLC invests primarily in other agile companies. Sutherland is also a member of the Agile Alliance and author of multiple positions on Scrum. In particular, Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time,”. In this book and during his Tedx Talk, he highlights how he used his background and experience to create the most widely used Agile practice in the industry today.

4. Dean Leffingwell

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An experienced entrepreneur and businessman who has served as a board member at several public and private companies throughout his career. Founder and CEO for many multiple software companies, where he helped to implement Agile methods at scale. Widely known as a creator of the Scaled Agile Framework and co-founder of Scaled Agile, Inc. An author of many books provides practical, agile approaches to managing software requirements for teams and practices that scale to the full enterprise architecture and portfolio level. Consulting methodologist, which provides agile transformation consulting services to large software enterprises. Highly recognized for his quotes; as an example: “agile is the most disciplined and quality-driven set of development practices the industry has invented to date." Publications 

5. Eric Ries

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Eric Ries is an entrepreneur and author of a popular blog, Startup Lessons Learned. From 2008 he began to document his lean startup methodology. This methodology is based on selected management principles to help startups succeed. The main concept is to create more successful entrepreneurial initiatives by learning more quickly, and evaluate which ideas work and discard those that don’t. Origins of the lean startup methodology come from customer development methodology and lean manufacturing, which seeks to increase value-creating practices and eliminate wasteful practices. His Lean Startup methodology has been written about in many publications such as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Harvard Business Review, or the Huffington Post. Next, published in a book format, The Lean Startup. Based on his experience as a co-founder of many startups and several startup failures, he became a popular figure on business events, advising startups, large companies, and venture capital firms on business and product strategy. At present, he holds a seat as the Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Harvard Business School.

6. Cornelius Fichtner

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Fichtner is a certified Project Management Professional, as well as a Chair of the Project Management Institute. With over two decades of experience as a Project Manager based in Europe and the US, he led many projects for management consulting companies, internet startups, national retailers, to financial service providers. With his passion for Agile, project methodologies, and PMOs, he hosts “The PM Podcast” by continuously discussing project management methodologies, PMOs, training opportunities, and the latest industry trends. Established in 2005, The PM Podcast was one of the first to cover the Project Management field.



Mohammed Amine Community Leader Jun 08, 2021

Very interesting content

Like Anna-SoftwarePlant likes this

Thanks, @Anna-SoftwarePlant  Yes, and...I recommend some additions to your list, including some who created the ideas built upon/popularized by those listed above:

Ron Jeffries, Kent Beck, David Anderson, Lyssa Adkins, Jim Highsmith, Mike Cohn, Rachel Davies, Esther Derby, Diana Larsen, Andy Hunt, Peter Koning, Donald Reinertsen, R. Brian Stanfield, Chris Sterling, Linda Booth Sweeney, Jean Tabaka, Henri Lipmanowicz, Keith McCandless, Daniel Vacanti, Mary and Tom Poppendieck, Jeff Patton, Ingrid Bens, Tom DeMarco, Timothy Lister, Gojko Adzic, W. Edwards Deming, Robert Glass, Eliyahu Goldratt, Jim and Michele McCarthy, Jeff Atwood, Henrik Kniberg, Jurgen Appelo, Craig Larman, James Womack, Luke Hohmann, Norman Kerth, Robert Greenleaf, the cast of DevOps folks, and so on...

Like Anna-SoftwarePlant likes this

Thank you @Bill Sheboyfor the recommendation. I will surely follow your list. 


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