As another pivotal year in the evolution of Agile passes us by, let’s look ahead at five super-trends to look out for in 2020:
The Agile Manifesto is now 19 years old. Over the years, we’ve seen Agile grow from a seven-person Scrum team to scaled-up SAFe organizations. All those years of continuous improvements and adaptability have inevitably led to a new form of agility for software developers in 2020. Perhaps we’ll see something like “Framework-Driven-Development” emerge as an answer to the increasing frequency and complexity of software updates, SDK updates, and the like. Whatever it becomes will garner a lot of momentum in 2020 because we are always thirsty for “better ways” of working.
We’ve seen Agile seep out of the Technology department into other departments within the organization. Agile Engineering, Agile Human Resources and Agile Marketing, to name a few. This expansion will continue. We’ll see the original values and principles of Agile software development applied to new departments, like Agile Customer Service. These new adopters will undergo transformations and reap the benefits of agility and adaptability in their own dynamic business environments.
We’re in the age of machine learning and deep learning where Artificial Intelligence is “configuring algorithms trained by real world data.” And we have certainly amassed a large amount of data around our own Agile practices—because we are outcome-driven, right? In 2020, Artificial Intelligence will boost our agility to levels previously unattainable by human power alone. AI will help Agile teams make decisions about their Agile practice, and Agile practices will be used to build AI solutions.
Good agility is driven by outcomes. Bad Agile emerges in cultures that are primarily practice-driven and governed by consistency. With all the corporate Agile-scaling that has occurred over the past few years, we’ve seen a lot of Bad Agile. Which makes sense because, in order to scale effectively, there needs to be an emphasis on practice. People need to be trained on how to do it. But often, people never learn why it should be done that way. The result is Bad Agile. Unfortunately, we expect to see more of this trend in 2020, as Agile continues to expand in many organizations.
Traditionally, Agile and agility are concepts many have struggled to define. “Agile is something you are, not something you do.” Or, “Agile isn’t a process, it’s a mindset.” This year we’ll see a sustained effort to bring clarity around the concept of agility. But a new metaphor may rise to popularity—one that uses physical agility to describe what it actually means to be agile. Physical agility is the obvious metaphorical choice to describe agility because it reflects how the original manifesto-signatories arrived at the term. An agile body is one that can move quickly and easily in any direction. One’s physical agility is the combination of balance, coordination, speed, reflex, strength and endurance. Agility can be measured—and improves with practice and ‘reps’. Does this sound familiar? But you don’t hear people say, “I’m going to the gym to do agile.”
These trends, along with many more improvements to the way we work, will help advance Agile on its evolutionary path to becoming our new normal in 2020. Lastly, if your organization needs any help implementing agile processes at any level, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’d love to help you get started.
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