As someone who grew up on the waterfall model, there is something to be said about being methodical and recognising the many steps one must go through to reach the goal. But for all its merits, one thing the waterfall model has difficulty adopting is change.
The waterfall model in software development is like bureaucracy – there is an order to things that resists changes along the way.
As it is often repeated: change is the constant in the universe. The ability to respond to these changes, and take appropriate amendments, may have led 17 software developers to band together and come up with what is known today as The Agile Manifesto – a declaration of policy and aims specifically to address the need to adopt a less rigid model for software development.
Read about The History of Agile here.
Relevance to modern times
Agile started as a discussion on how to improve product development. That was in 2000. 20 years on, is the context in which it was conceived still relevant?
According to a recent study on Agile from PMI, introducing Agile methodologies generally comes with a lot of challenges. These include issues with communication, day-to-day operations, management buy-in, team interaction, changing culture and mindset, product design, and maintaining the project after implementation.
The original Agile Manifesto has received an increasing amount of criticism in recent years, including from one of its founding authors, Andrew Hunt, who in 2015 labelled the movement a failure due to how it had been moulded into what he called ‘iron rules of a set of practice’ that do not change with the progression of time and speed of technology.
Recent studies from Allied Market Research revealed that “63% of businesses stated the failure of Agile implementation in their organizations.”
During a PodChats for FutureCIO dialogue, Cliff Berg, founder of Agile 2, noted that while the original Manifesto for Agile Software Development was intended for the software developer community, the concept itself has become more nuanced.
“(Overtime) people tried to apply it (Agile) to all kinds of situations,” said Berg. This multiplication of interpretation eventually paved the way for a much broader discussion on what exactly is Agile.
Berg explained that Agile 2 is not about software or technology. Acknowledging that there are elements in Agile that are applicable and important to product development, he explained that Agile 2 addresses this range of context and as far as whom it is intended to be for, the book Agile 2 extends up to leadership.
In explaining one of the ideas behind Agile 2, Berg said there is a need to address the leadership issue given the importance of leaders’ views in defining how an organisation takes on or shapes the adoption of Agile concepts into the business.
Lisa Cooney, a principal at Agile 2 Academy (former Agile coach at Axios) and one of the co-authors of the Agile 2 book, agreed that Agile 2 is not a replacement of the original Agile Manifesto but rather meant to enhance it, retain its most important elements, and address some of the things left out in the original.
“What we’ve learned during this pandemic is that we have to make new rules when the old ones no longer serve us,” she added.
The book is the result of years of research by a group of fifteen highly established, field-tested Agile experts, including the seven authors and co-editors of the book.
As Berg pointed out the book tries to fill the gaps that exist in predominant Agile ideas, and add a lot of critically important things that are missing - such as dealing with data, and the many kinds of leadership and their utility.
“Agile 2 acknowledges that today’s business generally occurs in a technology platform of some kind, and so one can no longer have a sharp divide between what is business and what is tech. That is a new reality, and it has big implications for Agile and for how one approaches initiatives,” he added.
Click on the PodChat player to listen to Berg and Clooney share their views about the values that follow from Agile into Agile 2 and begin your journey to Agile 2.
- What do you mean by Agile?
- In the context of present-day business operations, including the disruption caused by COVID-19, is Agile still relevant?
- What is Agile 2 and how is it different from the first iteration? [Cliff + Lisa]
- Was there any specific group that was left out in developing Agile?
- For Agile 2 to work in Asia, what needs to happen from the perspective of leadership, culture, approach to technology, approach to business?
- What must Agile practitioners leave behind to shift to Agile 2?
- Is there a place for low code, no code, iPaaS in Agile 2?
- What is your advice to CIOs to make Agile 2 relevant to the organisations they support today?
Agile 2: The Next Iteration of Agile offers an expanded look at the original Agile principles developed 20 years and updating these to current conditions. The authors were careful to expand the ecosystem of contributors to recognise the influence and impact Agile has across the different functions within the enterprise and industries.
In the book’s foreword, Dr Rik Farenhorst, co-founder of DevOps Agile Skills Association, wrote: “… the authors do not intend to reinvent the wheel, but are keen on building on what is already working. Some of the key Agile values and principles are powerful to this day, but application in practice often needs some additional clarity and lots of examples.”
Agile 2 redefines those principles to enhance the value of software projects and other kinds of group initiatives, helping developers embrace a more modern approach to project management.
Containing expert insights into technology, innovation, leadership, product design, and collaboration, Agile 2: The Next Iteration of Agile aims to become a staple across the software development community and beyond, including all kinds of product development, encouraging long-needed debate over issues within the original methodology.
The authors of Agile 2 hope to encourage holistic thinking across the entire system, and for situational context to become a consideration for success.
Speaking about Agile 2: The Next Iteration of Agile, Dr Farenhorstcommented that “The authors hit the nail with addressing key topics that are haunting many organizations, leaders, and teams, such as how to collaborate, communicate, value both experts and generalists and commit team capacity.
“They rightfully argue that how to adopt certain principles or how to interpret certain values depends on your organization’s needs and its current level of maturity. Using this book as your Agile guide, you can aim and navigate your transformation in a more tailor-made way, resulting in more business value. I expect this book to be found on many nightstands in the coming years.”Dr Rik Farenhorst