Iterative and incremental software development methods can be traced back as early as 1957, with evolutionary project management and adaptive software development emerging in the early 1970s..
During the 1990s, a number of lightweight software development methods evolved in reaction to the prevailing heavyweight methods (often referred to collectively as waterfall) that critics described as overly regulated, planned, and micromanaged. These lightweight methods included: rapid application development (RAD), from 1991; the unified process (UP) and dynamic systems development method (DSDM), both from 1994; Scrum, from 1995; Crystal Clear and extreme programming (XP), both from 1996; and feature-driven development (FDD), from 1997. Although these all originated before the publication of the Agile Manifesto, they are now collectively referred to as agile software development methods.
Already since 1991 similar changes had been underway in manufacturing and management thinking derived from Lean management.
In 2001, seventeen software developers met at a resort in Snowbird, Utah to discuss lightweight development methods. They were: Kent Beck (Extreme Programming), Ward Cunningham (Extreme Programming), Dave Thomas (PragProg, Ruby), Jeff Sutherland (Scrum), Ken Schwaber (Scrum), Jim Highsmith (Adaptive Software Development), Alistair Cockburn (Crystal), Robert C. Martin (SOLID), Mike Beedle (Scrum), Arie van Bennekum, Martin Fowler (OOAD and UML), James Grenning, Andrew Hunt (PragProg, Ruby), Ron Jeffries (Extreme Programming), Jon Kern, Brian Marick (Ruby, TDD), and Steve Mellor (OOA). Together they published the Manifesto for Agile Software Development.
In 2005, a group headed by Cockburn and Highsmith wrote an addendum of project management principles, the PM Declaration of Interdependence, to guide software project management according to agile software development methods.
In 2009, a group working with Martin wrote an extension of software development principles, the Software Craftsmanship Manifesto, to guide agile software development according to professional conduct and mastery.
In 2011, the Agile Alliance created the Guide to Agile Practices (renamed the Agile Glossary in 2016), an evolving open-source compendium of the working definitions of agile practices, terms, and elements, along with interpretations and experience guidelines from the worldwide community of agile practitioners.