Celebrating 20+ Years of Agility at the Agile20Reflect Festival

Added to The Alliance

February 2021 will mark the 20th anniversary of a pivotal moment in the history of the Agile movement, specifically the creation of the Manifesto for Agile Software Development.


Earlier this year Scott Seivwright, an Agile coach based in Scotland, casually floated the idea of bringing the global Agile community together to celebrate and reflect on the past 20+ years of Agility, and to engage in conversations about where Agile is going. Scott’s idea has blossomed the Agile20Reflect Festival, a loosely-knit affiliation of Agilists from 46 countries who are banding together to create a series of free, locally-created events throughout February 2021.20th Anniversary of the Agile ManifestoModeled on the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Agile20Reflect is decidedly _not_ a conference. The distributed Festival community of volunteers has evolved a set of 9 guiding principles for creating events. Agile20Reflect is meant to be free to everyone, designed to be accessible and inclusive, and community-funded where necessary (though the focus is on limiting the need for any funding). The list of planned events currently includes panel discussions, debates, a conference, and community meetups. Through the Volunteer Speaker bureau, presenters who are willing to contribute their time and expertise to local events can register to connect with the Ambassadors who are serving as coordinators for local communities in their country — over 129 well-known Agilists have volunteered so far. If you’re interested in volunteering in another capacity, connect with a local Ambassador to find out how you can contribute.

What really speaks to me about this Festival is the grassroots nature of people coming together around a set of shared principles and a desire for community to create meaningful experiences together. It’s almost-entirely reliant on self-organization — people who are motivated to pull together an experience aligned with the Festival principles don’t need anyone’s permission. And this is not a commercial enterprise of any sort: the goal is to connect with our peers, reflect on our shared experiences as Agilists, and to have some fun! As the festival is planned for the dreary dark part of the year for us in the northern hemisphere, building in opportunities for fun is key. When I spoke with Scott last weekend, we hatched the idea of an online Agile Mardi Gras/Carnival Party (if you’d like to help plan one, please let me know as I’m looking for volunteers to pitch in!).

The Agile20Reflect Festival has the potential to blossom into something magnificent. I was chatting with Alistair Cockburn earlier this year about the origins of the Agile Manifesto, and he spoke about how the Manifesto itself culminated from a network of conversations. As we head into celebrating 20 years of Agility (and 20 years of Agile Alliance!), events like this Festival will spawn new networks and new possibilities.


About the Author


Ellen Grove is the Interim Managing Director of Agile Alliance. Based in Ottawa, Canada, Ellen has been working in software development for over 20 years, moving from software testing to user-centered design to managing development teams to Agile coaching and training. Ellen is an Agile Coach, trainer and facilitator who works with organizations of all sizes - from startups to multinationals - to help them find more effective ways of working based on Lean and Agile principles and practices. After many years of organizing and presenting at Agile events at home and around the world, Ellen was elected to the Agile Alliance board of directors in 2017, and became the chair of the board in February 2020 before stepping into her current role.


This is an Agile Alliance community blog post. Opinions represented are personal and belong solely to the author. They do not represent opinion or policy of Agile Alliance.