Faster, Sooner, Better: What's Changing In Agile Development?

I hear people talking about Agile 2.0 a lot. But when I look at what’s happening in the application development and delivery space, I see that many organizations are just now starting to experience Agile’s true benefits, and they’re not yet leveraging those benefits completely or consistently. So let’s stop talking about Agile 2.0 for a moment and instead digest and operationalize what’ve learned so far. There’s plenty to improve upon without getting into inventing new practices and acronyms to add to the Agile transformation backlog!

What I see is that app-dev leaders want to understand how they can optimize existing use of AD&D Agile practices like Scrum, XP, Kanban, improve the practices around the more advanced ones like TDD, continuous testing, CI and CD and leverage all with what they’ve learned over the years (including waterfall). Scaling the whole thing up in their organization in order to have a bigger and more consistent impact on the business is what their next key goal is. We fielded the 2013 version of our Global Agile Software Application Development Online Survey to find out how. I present and analyze this data in my latest report. The survey addressed common questions that clients ask me frequently get in inquiries and advisory, such as: 

  1. How can we test in a fast-paced environment while maintaining or improving quality?
  2. How can we improve our Agile sourcing patterns to work effectively with partners?
  3. Enough about Agile project management — what about engineering practices? As we improve project management practices and our relationship with the business to deliver faster, how do we guarantee that we can actually deliver faster in production? (i.e., have you heard of DevOps?).
  4. What are the valid metrics in this new context?
  5. What are companies doing to scale Agile development?

If you download the report, you’ll notice that, more and more, Scrum is the de facto standard with 90% of the participants using it! But Lean and Kanban is gaining traction too.

I don’t think the market needs an Agile 2.0 — yet, anyway. First let’s use what we already have and make it work better. We don’t need a new definition of Agile to fuel momentum (sorry, what lack of momentum?!?). The Agile path is clearly set for the industry as a whole; it’s taken 10 years to get Agile to penetrate the market and improve the upstream part of the application development life cycle, but it’s not going to take that long to get Agile to improve and automate the downstream part of ALM (read: DevOps).

Faster, better apps will become a reality once we’ve made the entire software supply chain — both upstream and downstream — more Agile. That’s where Agile is going.

Your comments on the survey data are welcome! And may I ask: What are you doing to scale Agile? Contact me if you were not able to join the survey this year but would like to do so next year.


Let Agile be agile

Interesting post Diego. Some Agile practitioners are looking to redefine Agile for greater scalability, or the “next generation” of development. My opinion is that we don’t need an “Agile 2.0” – we need to use Agile to scale Agile. Adding to the manifesto or Agile principles just makes Agile… well, less agile. Instead, we need to use the core Agile methods and principles to improve Agile maturity in our IT shops and businesses, and then keep cycling through higher and higher levels of Agile maturity, ever-expanding the processes, methods and business areas that reap the benefits of using Agile.

Agile expansion doesn’t need to stop when a mature, efficient Agile IT shop is realized (besides, there’s always room for improvement); Agile is bigger than IT. Agile principles need to be expanded across our enterprises, where they can demonstrate improved operational speed and excellence, and greater corporate growth and profitability. Let’s keep Agile agile.

Dwight Kingdon, Principal Consultant/Agile Coach, Mindtree USDC

Yes Agile has to stay Agile !

I could not agree more to your comment. It reminds me of what's happened to SOA: we have have it around for quite some time ! Nobody talks about it any longer !. But it took years before organisations realised that to scale and enjoy the true benefits of SOA they needed to work on changing their process, practices and culture. Someone tried to resurrect momentum on SOA with SOA 2.0.... But that was ineffective ! Today we don't even talk much about SOA, but companies are doing it and scaling it, but fortunately with no hype on SOA 2.0....the day we stop talking about Agile, we've succeeded, because hopefully we've become Agile !.... but we are not there yet !... BTW, you might love the fact that the survey data shows that clients using coaches and consultants are being more successful.... I'd add good quality coaches !
Cheers Diego

Agile focus is too much tech oriented

Luckily I don't hear anything about Agile 2.0 - in my case this is most likely that I don't spend a great deal of time with consultants.

My experiences, output (volume and quality) of agility (methods, processes) increases when the focus is more on adopting new business driven concepts and methods, such as focus on rules/decision management and decistion tables (I like BR solution's TableSpeak approach).

Agility is also about creating a culture and atmosphere where business and technical people enjoy a joined platform to help them advance as one team, with one common result and possibly many other, more or less, indiviidual results.
And yes I agree, obviously, let's not stick labels [Agile 2.0] on something for the sake of promoting consulting activities - leading to more confused decision makers.

About agile product development ... we turned one of our experiences into a "standard" tool - we still learn from its usage on projects :)