In a post published almost two years ago I made the point that
…the apparent increase in the level of Agile adoption in recent years seems to link perfectly with the next generational change as we witness the gradual increase of Generation Y in the workforce. Gen Yers are perfectly engineered to adopt Agile. The team centric feature of the Agile approach is perfect for a generation who grew up in a collaborative, social media driven environment. Quick and short development cycles fit perfectly into the generational need to achieve and achieve quickly.
I also made the prediction that
Agile adoption will increase and with it the challenge for organizations to ensure this adoption is done for the right reasons. I wouldn’t be surprised if as a result of the growing exposure some changes will be incrementally added to the ‘methodology’ as this approach is maturing and entering center stage.
Fast forward two years and it is now a good time to take stock and gaze into the future.
One of the most noticeable phenomena we can witness today is the proliferation of Agile – as a concept – in almost every facet of the organization. The term ‘business agility’ is increasingly used to refer to adaptation of business processes, procedures and practices with a focus on delivering and achieving business value.
Adopting the Agile mindset also means that organizations are now looking at the way they manage change with a view to enable faster response and adaptation to market and other organizational changes and remove or sidestep any organizational impediments that stand in the way of such responses.
The above mindset is also manifested in two undercurrents that seem to be catching an increased level of momentum:
- Beyond Budgeting – a management model that enables people in the organization utilize their knowledge and experience and make decisions without the burden of excessive command and control mechanisms stifling their initiatives;
- #NoEstimates – a movement to reduce the reliance on estimation, based on the assessment that most estimates are wrong and thus add little to no value to the organization.
It is worth noting that the Economist Intelligence Unit published a study in 2009, titled “Organizational Agility: How business can survive and thrive in turbulent times”, where it concluded that:
Nearly 90% of executives surveyed by the Economist Intelligence Unit believe that organisational agility is critical for business success. One-half of all chief executive officers (CEOs) and chief information officers (CIOs) polled agree that rapid decision-making and execution are not only important, but essential to a company’s competitive standing. Agility may also be linked to profitable growth: research conducted at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) suggests that agile firms grow revenue 37% faster and generate 30% higher profits than non-agile companies.
Interestingly, the report also suggests that along side the above observations
- “most companies admit they are not flexible enough to compete successfully” and further claim that
- “Internal barriers stall agile change efforts“.
The observations brought earlier in this post seem to suggest that the path to clearing up these two issues is now well underway. The forces that have pushed the Agile revolution through the software development domain are now marching forth with a view to make similar revolutionary changes on a much grander scale. While there would still be resistance across boardrooms and executive teams it would be fair to suggest (along the famous line coined in one of the Star Trek movies) that “Resistance is futile”. The question now is not “IF” this mindset will prevail but rather “WHEN” it will get hold. The challenge for friends and foes is in collaborating in order to ensure that whatever transitional activities are taking place from the old to the new are done in a manner that ensures consistency and adaptability – controlled evolution vs forced revolution.
The future may already be here – it might just take a bit longer to see it.
Think about it!
Thanks to Kailash Awati for listening to my rant and helping me see the light at the end of the tunnel