Ward Cunningham

Business Agility & Software Engineering Excellence

Ward Cunningham is a Fellow of Cutter’s Business Agility & Software Engineering Excellence practice. He has worked for and consulted to both daring startups and huge corporations. He has served as CTO, Director, Fellow, Principal Engineer, and Inventor.

Ward was Director of Committer Community Development of the Eclipse Foundation, an innovative open source collaboration among large and small commercial interests. He has served as an architect in Microsoft's Patterns & Practices Group; the Director of R&D at Wyatt Software; and as Principal Engineer in the Tektronix Computer Research Laboratory.

Ward is best known for creating wiki. He leads an open-source project rebuilding wiki to solve more complex sharing situations addressing some of societies toughest problems. Ward also founded movements in object-oriented, agile software, extreme programming, and pattern languages. And he was a co-author of the Manifesto for Agile Software Development (the Agile Manifesto).

Ward was also a pioneer in the concept of technical debt, first drawing the comparison between technical complexity and financial debt in a 1992 experience report:

Shipping first time code is like going into debt. A little debt speeds development so long as it is paid back promptly with a rewrite... The danger occurs when the debt is not repaid. Every minute spent on not-quite-right code counts as interest on that debt. Entire engineering organizations can be brought to a stand-still under the debt load of an unconsolidated implementation, object-oriented or otherwise.

Ward can be reached at consulting@cutter.com.

Ward Cunningham on Technical Debt