By no means is agile a new concept in the business world. It has been introduced more than a decade ago and has since changed the way people around the world approach work and project management. However, while agile is still spreading over to new areas, a natural question rises – what is next? Have we now reached a point in time where agile itself will be innovated upon? Or will agile become a monopoly practice? Let us explore.
Over the years, agile has grown from a small movement in the developer community into a mass trend that brings results and productivity to every team it touches. Various applications of agile methods exist today and as the idea spreads further more are coming about. At this point there is really no questioning of the possibilities and value that agile approaches bring to the right teams and because of that most are starting to consider agile as one of the traditional project management approaches instead of a novelty.
Due to this acceptance, agile is now being applied in fields that would have never even considered the practice before – accountants, marketers, government officials and even families are using it to manage their tasks in the most effective ways. Which is something that could not have been even imagined couple of years ago, when agile was seen as designed and helpful solely to developer teams creating specific software products. However, as more and more true life success stories regarding other agile applications surfaced, this perception has changed significantly.
Due to this new acknowledgement and applications that we have in the agile field, the number of practitioners is ever growing as well. Furthermore, it is not only that the number of new practitioners is rising, the number of the experienced and knowledgeable people is rising as well. Agile community is now for the first time ever filled with such a big base of people that have over 5 years of experience in the matter and truly know and understand the practice to its core. Which means they are the ones that know firsthand what are its main benefits and shortfalls.
So will the changes come? Or will agile become the monopoly practice? Well, the premise for change is there already. Agile has been used for quite a while now and for all of that time it has been tweaked and improved to fit the requirements of each team applying it. Whether it was small things, like modifying the concept of backlog or bigger things, like mixing two different approaches to come up with a new one, the agile community has already witnessed change in search of the best process.
The case with monopolization is a bit different, until recently agile was still fighting for its place under the sun. However, once that place was established, it started to become more and more of a monopoly. At the moment, agile is easily swallowing up any and all similar practices, almost not letting them see the light of day, before they are gone. It is simply easier for people to refer to a methodology as agile, thinking they are describing it as something new, while in reality they are dooming that practice for extinction while established and tested agile applications hold their place, withholding innovation and progress.
The only thing that can change this monopolization is people. To be more precise – the ever-growing agile community. Within this community, there is enough knowledge, experience and need to bring the best out of agile. Most importantly, there is enough practitioners who are not afraid to innovate and search for the absolute best solutions, which means that agile applications can not only be tweaked and reworked, but that agile itself may be innovated upon and changed for something even better. While this change may still take years to come, the community already has the capacity to understand and innovate away from the monopoly. Therefore the time to step up and realize the potential in new and different approaches is now!