That’s how the Agile 2009 conference in Chicago opened. In the keynote, Alistair Cockburn cleverly paraphrased Marc Antony’s funeral oration from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar: “I come to bury Agile, not to praise him.”
A very narrow definition of Agile has passed away, to be replaced by a mature, expansive version that has now joined the mainstream of development methodologies. Agile with a capital “A,” with its vision limited to the development team, died of natural causes. Its successor still worries about build scripts, daily Scrum meetings, and IDE plug-ins, but it recognizes the sovereignty of business objectives, and governs jointly with other methodologies. While we might talk more about agile with a small “a,” the significance of this change is big.
Next Monday, August 31, Forrester colleague Dave West and I will be presenting some of our preliminary results from our Agile adoption survey. (Which is still open, if you're interested in participating.) We'll be covering Agile adoption in both IT departments and technology industry companies, including the differences between the two.
Of course, everyone wants to know how many development teams have adopted Agile. My sneak peek for you is, "Substantially more than we had originally estimated." If you want to hear the full answer, here's the link for the teleconference.
Hot on the heels of the requirements survey (which is still available, if you haven't participated), we've launched the Agile adoption survey. Colleague Dave West and I are looking into the state of Agile adoption, looking for answers to commonly-asked questions like...
What aspects of Agile are getting stronger or weaker adoption?
How important are tools, coaching, and other aids?
How important is the flavor of Agile you select?
What types of organizations or projects seem to have the best chances of success with Agile?
In this episode, Israel Gat illuminates the ways in which Agile adoption depends on organizational and cultural factors. We also muse about Helmut von Moltke, 19th century military Agilist. (Go look it up!)
Plus, a brief review of an even briefer document about innovation in “knowledge-creating” companies, and a heads-up about some upcoming survey research about product requirements and Agile adoption. Copyright (c) 2009 Tom Grant
Many thanks to Israel Gat at The Agile Executive for posting my thoughts on how Agile is following the same path that many revolutions take. After you've had some initial successes, and take your new programme seriously, what now?
While the actual document about Agile usage in the technology industry slowly but majestically navigates through the final editing and production process, I thought I'd share an important bit of data that didn't make it into the report. Shown in the diagram below is the percentage of survey participants who said that they used particular Agile methodologies. We also asked the respondents about other methodologies that often come up in discussions of Agile, either as complementary approaches (for example, Lean), or as points of comparison (Waterfall being the most obvious one).
How many at each table in the Agile seating chart? As you can tell, there's no clear winner here, other than Scrum, which overshadows every other Agile methodology in adoption. There's another way to look at the same picture: whenever there's a family photo of Agile methodologies, the participants almost always make sure to invite their poor cousins to attend. There are both good and bad sides to that earnestly ecumenical approach.
This Saturday's convocation of product managers, P-Camp 2009, was an outstanding event. Great presentation and great conversation. Many thanks to Rich, Luke, and everyone else at Enthiosys for organizing P-Camp, and to all the sponsors for making it happen.
Here are a few take-aways from the presentations I attended:
Speaking of social media, one of the two research documents now in the editing queue looks at using social media as a source of product requirements. Using Forrester's POST* methodology as a starting point, how can product managers harness the enormous amount of potentially useful information transmitted in the clear through blogs, forums, Wikis, and similar technologies?
The other document in editing is the "Agile company" piece, covering the results of the survey and interviews we conducted to understand how Agile development changes technology companies. To foreshadow the results, I had to divide Agile adoption into two stages. To date, Agile aficianados have focused on the first, Agile within the development team. Clearly, for the story of Agile adoption, that's only Chapter One.
* In this approach, the steps for analyzing social media involve people, objectives, strategy, and technology (POST).
2009 might be, in the Chinese calendar, the Year of the Ox, but January feels like the Month of PowerPoint. I've been doing a lot of speaking lately, including last week's great session about Lean and Agile in San Diego. (And thanks again to Rober Pryor of the San Diego Software Industry Council for the invitation.)
A small presentation to some Forrester clients about the state of the technology market, including where the opportunities lie, from a geographic, vertical, and solution perspective. Plus a few tips on how to emerge from the downturn a stronger company.