The Age of Agile

There have been such events before. Events so profound that they shape all society in ways inconceivable to their originators.

Will the agile movement have such a profound effect? Will it be seen as revolutionary as James Hargreaves’ invention of the spinning jenny, or as revolutionary as George Stephenson’s first locomotive?

Indeed, will we come to see the founding of the agile movement in Snowbird, Utah, USA as the pivotal moment of the information revolution — as valuable as the development of a horse drawn hoe was to the agricultural revolution, or the development of the aforementioned spinning jenny and locomotive were to the industrial revolution?

I think so.

Since the founding in February 2001 of the agile movement, software development has improved immensely.

Ask yourself this question, “When did I last do my Google Chrome/IE/Safari training course?” If the answer is “Huh?” then agile software development has served its purpose. We have working software. We have intuitive software. We have agile software.

And “revolution” is not too grand a word to use. For example, the use of the word “agile” has become more and more common in every day parlance. A second entry has had to be added to the Oxford English Dictionary to emphasise the role of agile techniques within project management and software development. Global searches for the term “agile” have been steadily rising since 2004.

So what does it mean, and how can it help us within the project and program management world?

The original agile manifesto didn’t mention project management at all, preferring the phrase “self-organising teams.”

However, it did have a lot that we would all find familiar.

As project and program managers, we know individuals and our interaction with them are the key to a successful outcome. We understand the collaborative approach gets results, and we strive to change ourselves and the client in the best possible way.

The great benefit of agile?

It brings back the human component. It brings back immediate contact and constructive feedback into a single virtuous loop. Everyone is on the same journey, and the support of — and help for — each other within teams is a crucial part of its success.

The Project Management Institute provides a certification route and plenty of research papers on agile project management. In addition, there are plenty of SCRUM organisations to partner with. For those looking to convince senior management, The Standish Group have an outstanding set of research, as does Forrester Research.

Isn’t it time you moved into the Age of Agile?


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