With 2010 ending soon it is a good moment to think about the future of agile. First – lets define it: agile is a set of principles, methods and practices that emphasise short turnaround times, high flexibility (also as a way of dealing with risk through adaptation), focus on quality and teams. Agile has been around for a decade now and it is now widely known and accepted – long gone are days when barely anyone knew about it.
With agile now mainstream it is clearly loosing its initial momentum and freshnes. While many would object I think this is a sign of maturity. Agile as a phenomenon merely follows a natural path of methods/approaches from new to commonplace. With that its position changes. From a separate specialty driven by a few “gurus” and a crowd of active followers (and consultants) it is now becoming a part of every good manager’s methods&approaches portfolio. From something that few people specialized in agile will now be transitioning into something everyone must know to a degree appropriate for their seniority and specialty.
This is good news, because it means the agile movement has succeeded in changing the industry – even if it means that I can envision agile practices becoming part of the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) in three to four years. This is the book despised by many agilists (most of whom probably didn’t even read it) yet agile’s inclusion there will be a sign of its success – and an end to an era.
In hope that in the near future there will be much less need for dogmatic “agile coaches” and much more for good pragmatic managers, who will be able to use and apply both agile and traditional project management methods – as well as manage the operational, financial and human part of their businesses/units/teams. Key here is to use methods, tools and tricks that are appropriate to get things done – as opposed to trying to squeeze every situation to fit a method one happens to know best. Dogmatism that I crticized in my last post doesn’t help here.