The Conceptual Underpinnings of Agile Development

While the growing popularity of agile development methodologies is undeniable, there has been little systematic exploration of its intellectual foundation. Such an effort would be an important first step in understanding this paradigm?s underlying premises. This understanding, in turn, would be invaluable in our assessment of current practices as well as in our efforts to advance the field of software engineering. Drawing on a variety of sources, both within and outside the discipline, we argue that the concepts underpinning agile development methodologies are by no means novel. In the tradition of General Systems Theory this paper advocates a transdisciplinary examination of agile development methodologies to extend the intellectual boundaries of software development. This is particularly important as the field moves beyond instrumental processes aimed at satisfying mere technical considerations.

The presentation is based on an article in the "Agile Software Development: Current Research and Future Directions" book, which will be given to participants at the conference.