If Agile is Mainstream, What’s Next?
A new year offers an opportunity to theorize on what the future might hold. Recently, I was talking with a colleague about Agile and the future. He said that when Agile was first proposed it was a disruptor to the way that projects had traditionally been delivered. He went on to suggest that this disruption had resulted in significant improvements to all projects because it forced people to rethink what they were doing and how they were doing it. I think that’s all true. But then he stated that as Agile had become a mainstream approach its ability to disrupt had been lost. He believed that we need a ‘new Agile’—a new disruptor to again challenge norms and push the discipline of project delivery forward. It’s an interesting idea, so let’s look at it.
Why did Agile originally succeed?
There are many reasons why Agile succeeded, but one of the biggest reasons was that it forced people to fundamentally rethink how projects were delivered. Ironically, that was also one of the reasons why it faced so much resistance in the early years. Project managers and stakeholders, who had been taught that projects had to be highly structured, weren’t comfortable with the more iterative and adaptive style of Agile, even if that structure that they were so keen on was often inaccurate.
But no one could ignore the reaction of customers. The more customer-centric approach that Agile
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