Agile development and capitalism

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Years ago, I had the pleasure of having lunch with the late Sanford C Bernstein, the founder of the eponymous company and the creator of the money management industry. He made the argument that capitalism was the perfect system, because it was the only system that viewed people as people were, rather than as they wished they would be. In essence, Sanford argued, capitalism is the only system that said, "people will be self-interested, rather than changing that, let's leverage it."

This uniqueness is the primary reason that capitalism and market economies have been so wildly successful, bringing more material benefit to humans in the last 200 years than in the thousands of preceding years of recorded human history.

Today, I had the pleasure of discussing development methodologies with Josh Mahowald, chief architect of He made the argument that agile development is different from all other methods in that it assumes people *will* make mistakes, and rather than fighting them with intense process, tries to mitigate them with very short development and customer interaction cycles.

Agile like capitalism, recognizes people as they are, not as we wish them to be, and uses human nature.

We coined the phrase, "agile is the capitalism of development."