What's next for the evolution of Agile?

I’ve recently bumped into an interesting Agile related discussion in one of my LinkedIn Groups and thought it was worthwhile to summarise some of its most thought-provoking ideas and conclusions. 

So, one of the Agile group members simply asked the following questions: “Is Agile another hype cycle? What is next after Agile?” and this eventually resulted in more than 50 comments from active Agile practitioners and PMs, Scrum Masters and Coaches, Program Managers and corporate IT heads.

Answering the first question whether Agile is another hype cycle, many experts agreed that many of Agile's concepts had been around for quite long, but had different names.

For instance, the appropriate group size and its effects on the communication efficiency have been subjects of research for over a hundred years now, and self-driven cross-functional teams had already been used in Sweden and Great Britain back in the 1950s.

However, Agile Manifesto was the first “official” attempt to explain the why instead of the how - and this attempt appeared to be quite successful.

Being more than 10 years old now, the term Agile has already shed off the tag of a hype, especially in the United States and Europe. In Asia Agile is still in the nascent phase, but its adoption will inevitably skyrocket there in the near future, too, and that’s when the question if Agile is just a hype will pass into oblivion.agile evolution, agile development ukraine, agile best practices

Answering the second question about what will follow today’s Agile era, discussion participants pointed to the following practices and concepts:

  • Lean startup
  • Lean construction
  • Software craftsmanship
  • Practical Adaptive Design
  • DevOps
  • Distributed open source teams
  • Cross-company teaming (when businesses partner around a common venture or product and bring their software teams to collaboratively work on it)
  • Crowdsourcing teams (working in collaboration with the product target audience)
  • Evolution of Product Owner’s role towards the whole Team Ownership
  • Rightshifting as a way to improve knowledge-work businesses (such as IT and software development)
  • Transition from Project orientation to Product orientation (now when we have more or less mastered the art of building software products on-time and on-budget, we will need to produce the best possible quality products and improve shipment of the business value)
  • Blend of practices (e.g., Scrum + Lean + own company processes)
  • Stronger focus on change management

These are just some of the future Agile evolution results mentioned - most of which are already in use now and aren’t really that new at all.

One interesting conclusion is that the next step after Agile will be the total explosion of jargons that will subsequently transform software production into the total chaos and ad hoc processes operated by various “mutually appointed gurus”. We’ll basically restart the whole software development process from scratch and re-invent terms and methodologies.

Anyway, one thing is clear from the experts’ discussion – no matter what they’ll be called, most of future software development concepts, approaches and frameworks will still be based on what we call Agile today.

And what’s your futuristic outlook on the next big thing after Agile?

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