In 2001, a group of software developers established the principles of the Agile methodology in a document called the Agile Manifesto.

With time, principles like “customer satisfaction through earlier and continuous delivery, “simplicity, the art of maximising the amount of work not done” or “continuous attention to technical excellence” and “good design enhances agility” have been adopted by project management.

Agile is an iterative approach that helps teams deliver a higher quality of work faster. Instead of investing resources in a project and launching it as the final version, Agile proposes a different approach. Teams deliver in small increments that are tested to make sure the company is ready to respond to change and adapt to market needs quickly. 

In 2019, companies will continue to implement Agile. Here is an overview of the Agile trends occurring in companies across industries.

  1. Companies are still struggling to “be” Agile. Since Agile is a mindset and a way of being in a state of continuous development, many companies are trying to implement the principles of Agile without internalising its principles: iterative thinking, delivering in increments, cross-disciplinary collaboration, early feedback and direct communication. A solution could be to hire a coach that has worked in companies that implemented agile successfully.
  2. Leaders are starting to realise that to get all the benefits of Agile implementation they have to be involved at the team level. Agile is to a great extent about changing the mindset and the organisational culture. For change to be durable, it has to start from the top. The leadership is responsible for orienting the organisation in the right direction. The goal is not to implement Agile but to be more responsive to the market, to shorten the product life cycle and to remain competitive on the market.
  3. More companies are implementing Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe). However, very few of them have a clear understanding of what they are trying to achieve. Companies are focusing on practices as opposed to achieving outcomes. 
  4. Agile is continuing to expand outside of IT. The Agile principles apply to all departments. It helps teams to prioritise, to work in an incremental and iterative way and to get things done. The most important thing in Agile is establishing the targets, what is it that the team wants to achieve and what is the minimum amount of process needed to reach the outcomes.

The path to agility is to look at things in an outcome-driven way. Companies shouldn’t start with the practices, with “we have to implement Agile”, rather with what they want to accomplish. Additionally, the transformation is not just a team level problem. The role of leadership in visualising the progress of the transformation, in measuring if the company is achieving the desired capabilities and outcomes, is essential.