Agile is Dead (So is COBOL, XP, RAD, UML, SAFe, etc)

Why are people so excited to announce the death of software development paradigms?

John Mecke
8 min readAug 13, 2021

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“Agile is Dead” is a great clickbait headline. To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the publication of the Manifesto for Agile Software Development, all sorts of pundits came out of the woodwork to announce that Agile was dead. Agile is not the first 20-year-old software development paradigm to be declared dead. COBOL, eXtreme Programming, UML are a few others. Why are people so excited to announce the death of software development paradigms?

Somethings Never Die

The first fax was sent in 1860. The samurai in Japan were not abolished until 1868. That means there was a five-year period when a samurai could have sent Lincoln a fax warning him about his assassination in 1865. The online fax market will be over $1 billion this year — 161 years after the first fax. Some technologies just won’t die.

There are many paradigms in the software development industry that have been declared dead. Some include:

  • COBOL (1959)
  • Mark IV — First 4GL (1968)
  • Structured Analysis & Design (1973)
  • Information Engineering (1981)

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John Mecke

John has over 25 years of experience in leading product management and corporate development organizations for enterprise firms.