Since we’ve already established what to look out for in 2018, let’s take a look at what the next decade could hold for Agile
Back in 2001 a bunch of people met up in a ski resort in Utah to come up with the Agile Software Manifesto. Since then the simple yet powerful Agile values and practices have empowered teams to develop software faster with better quality. True to its name the Agile world continues to be extremely dynamic with new practices, frameworks and methodologies flooding the market every day. Let us look at some of the hot topics which have captured everyone’s imagination.
Scale Up: Enterprise Agility
Gone are the days when agile was adopted in pockets of the enterprise and professed that they are agile and nimble. The agile proclamation can stand only if all teams follow agile practices with a fair deal of consistency. As it turns out many enterprises have floundered in embracing enterprise agility. According to a recent state of agile survey, 60% of enterprises who have claimed they practice agile have also sheepishly admitted that over half of their teams are yet to test the agile waters. Though enterprise Agility continues to elude many, the coming years might see more businesses looking to spread their agile wings.
Include Business Functions, Too
Agile was earlier confined to software development, but enterprise agility requires a restructuring of the entire value stream from concept to cash. This will mean including business functions like HR, Research, Marketing and Finance in the Agile net. Evan’s Theory of Agile Constraints (hyper link to Evan’s site) throws more light on this. Obviously these functions will initially cavil about agile practices but will ultimately fall in place once they see better results. To help teams with this alignment, Discipline Agile Delivery has an out of box process framework which includes business functions too.
Enterprise Agile Frameworks
Enterprise agility might be a bit overwhelming for agile newbies. Enterprise Agile frameworks can be a handy guide for these newbies to effectively scale agile. Enterprise Agile frameworks are process “blueprints” which come with a set of Agile practices, organization structures, roles, and other recommendations. Some of the popular ones being SAFe, Less, DAD and Nexus. In fact, most of these frameworks provide the flexibility to pick and choose different versions based on the agile maturity and size of the enterprise. E.g. SAFe provides essential SAFe for team agile and LESS provides LESS huge for large teams. In the past couple of years, we have seen a spurt in adoption of these frameworks and we believe this upward trend will continue.
Agile Coaches provide a big boost to the consistency in adoption of agile practices. Businesses generally tend to confuse agile coaches with Scrum Masters, but the scope of both the roles vary to a great extent. While an Agile coach superintends the implementation of agile at an organisational level, scrum master is the team’s strategic coach. More than half of the enterprises which have been successful in scaling agile believed that the agile coaches have been instrumental in their transformation journey (Source: Scott Ambler’s State of Scaled Agile Survey). Boston Consulting Group goes one step further and suggests setting up an agile COE. The next decade or so might see more no of enterprises setting up a centralised agile team to oversee the implementation of agile.
There are multiple agile methodologies which have been in existence for quite some time. While scrum has been extremely popular there are others like XP, Kanban, and DSDM. In the past enterprises have been trying to “standardise” with one methodology but have slowly realised that there cannot be one single source of truth. In fact, the founding members of scrum have themselves acknowledged that Scrum and Kanban together works out well. Even SAFe prescribes a combination of Scrum, Kanban and XP principles. Of course before jumping into any methodology teams will have to weigh in many factors like size, nature of work and maturity of the organisation.
With the grind of Agile, it is impossible to come out unscathed without an automation ecosystem in place. In the next few years most enterprises will realise this (in fact most have already!) and will adopt DevOps practices like continuous delivery, automated provisioning & self-service configuration. Availability of infrastructure continues to be a sticky point today but with the meteoritic rise of Containerisation and Infrastructure as a code this might just be a thing of the past!!
In the past many critics of Agile have rejected Agile as a management fad with too many loopholes in its practices. We believe Agile is here to stay and as mentioned in the post, it will extend its influence from software development to other business functions too. Philippe Kructhen (founding member of the Agile Manifesto) hit the nail on the head when he said, “I have no doubts that Agile will mature further, become more open to the outside world, more reflective, and therefore, more effective.”
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