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Is Agile dead? Evolution and the Future of Agility

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Is Agile dead? Evolution and the Future of Agility

The debates over the relevance of Agile methodologies in the technology world have been ongoing for several years, sparking many controversies among practitioners, agility trainers, Agile Coaches, Scrum Masters, and Agile Evangelists.  In recent years, phrases like “Agile is dead” or “Scrum is dead” have become increasingly common on social media platforms such as LinkedIn. Faced with the growing complexity of projects and rapid technological development, changes in market dynamics, it is worth considering whether Agile is capable of meeting contemporary challenges. What will agility look like in a few years?

The Rise and Distortion of Agile 

Agile was born in 2001 when a group of 17 people met to establish key values and principles for agile methodologies, recorded in the Agile Manifesto. Agile has gone through various phases of adaptation and criticism. Initiated as a manifesto moving away from traditional, rigid project management methods, it aimed to introduce greater flexibility, adaptation to change, and focus on people and collaboration over processes and tools. However, in the early years of its glory and the first fashion for using Agile and Scrum, they were implemented at the team level. They were characterized by a lack of reference to the client, business goals, organization, way of thinking, and culture. 

The Misinterpretation and PatoAgile 

Over the years, the original assumptions of Agile began to be distorted by abuses and commercialization. Attempts were made to switch companies from the Waterfall approach to Agile, showing that individual teams working in Scrum effectively deliver software. Unfortunately, attempts to scale these practices across entire organizations encountered obstacles. Above all, there was a lack of preparation for the entire organization to change. In such organizations, Agile/Scrum was dead before the first attempts to implement them were made.

There are still many companies/organizations/startups that duplicate and copy this erroneous approach. The side effect is the emergence of various Agile and Scrum ‘creatures’ that have nothing to do with the values of agility, and ‘to be Agile” has become more of a certificate than actual practice. An example can be the Daily Scrum, which lasts an hour, and in addition, looks like a status meeting, having nothing to do with planning work for the next 24 hours, introducing only boredom and frustration to the participants of such a meeting.

A misunderstanding of the idea of agile software delivery and the inept introduction of Agile into organizations has resulted in an increasing number of organizations using patoScrum or those that have reached patoAgile in their agile transformation. 

The Path to True Agility 

However, fortunately, there are organizations in which Agile equals effective software delivery, a continuous conversation between the client and developers, focus on business goals, or truly agile work and cooperation. In such organizations, Agile, Scrum, or any other agile method/framework is not and will not be dead. In these organizations, Agile evolves in a way that supports modern working methods and data usage. Companies that have successfully carried out an agile transformation understood that for agile software delivery to make sense and be successful, the change of mindset must cover the entire organization, not just a few people or one department.

The CEO must understand, support, and set a good example for his coworkers and employees during the agile transformation process. Organizations that have understood that the basis for taking steps towards agile transformation is to understand, accept, and adhere to the values and principles of the Agile Manifesto, which is somewhat the decalogue of agility, can boast many products or initiatives completed successfully, which have translated into growth, development, and significant profitability of these companies (such as Amazon, Apple, Nvidia, Microsoft, and Tesla). Every day they prove the viability of Agile and agile methods. 

The Future of Agile 

Despite many challenges, Agile is not dead – it evolves. In companies where the speed of delivering value and responding to changing customer needs are crucial, Agile still constitutes a methodical backbone. The problem is the way agility is interpreted and implemented in organizations. The development of fields such as Big Data, artificial intelligence, and machine learning requires flexible frameworks that Agile can provide. The future of Agile will depend on a return to its roots – focusing on the values and principles that made it revolutionary. In the years ahead, technological megatrends such as AI, automation, and IoT will shape the way we work. Agile will have to adjust to the new realities, where rapid prototyping, continuous learning, and adaptation will become even more important. Agile in the future will have to be more fluid and dynamic to support iterative experimentation and quick learning from data.

The Agile of the future will likely adopt a more comprehensive approach. Organizational agility, where speed, flexibility, and resilience are key to every aspect of the business, will become imperative. Agile will promote a culture of continuous improvement, experimentation, learning from mistakes, and celebrating innovations. Shaping the future of Agile will require a deep understanding and respect for its past, as well as openness to innovations.  

Embracing Continuous Evolution 

Agile is far from being dead; it is rather at a turning point. Changes in the technology industry are not a threat but an opportunity for Agile to renew and deepen its key values. The future of agility will depend on the ability of leaders to understand that Agile is more than a set of practices – it is a philosophy of continuous development and adaptation (Inspect & Adapt), which needs to be cultivated at all levels of the organization.

In the coming years, the Agile community will have to decide how best to preserve the core principles of the methodology while maintaining openness to innovations. Agile is not dead – it is a methodology in a state of continuous evolution, which still has much to offer in the world of rapid technological and business changes.

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