Agile Narratives provides a way to gather and share personal stories relevant to Agile software development and mine them for knowledge. In 2005 I set up the Agile Narratives project and in August that year it was approved as an Agile Alliance programme. In 2006 Johanna Hunt joined the programme as co-director.

We believe that one of the most expressive media for communicating and influencing among people is narrative: stories about success and failure. We all have such stories, whether we work under the Agile banner or not, but because Agile development is not the mainstream approach, the stories are relatively few and are scattered.

Most people in the Agile community already recognize the legitimacy of techniques with a narrative element like appreciative enquiry and project retrospectives. These help people in teams articulate, share and learn from their experiences and provide the shared emotional energy to create positive change. We extend that idea to people previously outside the Agile community, drawing them in and helping them articulate arguments for change in their companies by drawing on the experience of others who have been in similar situations.

Our primary goal is to:

  • Make existing knowledge more accessible and increase its spread. In particular, we want anyone to be able to answer their own questions about Agile development, its counterpoints such as chaos, migration, risks etc. using the stories told by others.

Our secondary goals are to mine the narratives to:

  • Understand and track the emergence of Agile development into the mainstream.
  • Look for beneficial techniques that have not yet been recognized by the Agile community.
  • Establish compelling business cases to try Agile development.

We are also looking at interesting ways of comparing the stories to find deep underlying patterns.

Try it for yourself, and let me know what you think. If you have any suggestions for how we could improve the site, gather more stories or interpret the data in new and interesting ways, please let me know.