Agile working is booming. Five trends in Agile to look out for

15 May 2018 Authored by Consultancy.uk

Agile working provides organisations an approach to improve both efficiency and effectiveness, as well as employee satisfaction. The agile methodology is therefore rapidly gaining terrain in the business landscape. While the way of working traces its roots back to IT-related departments, Agile has now clearly made its way to the corporate landscape.

Agile is a way of working that emerged out of a growing dissatisfaction with IT techniques used in the late 90’s, such as the waterfall method in software development. The approach puts speed and autonomy at its core, advocating a process characterised by the division of tasks into short phases of work and frequent reassessment and adaptation of plans. Since the launch of the Agile Manifesto in 2001, the approach gained popularity among IT experts, and since the past few years its application has also gone mainstream across business domains.

According to a study by Wemanity, a consultancy specialised in Agile transformation, 83% of large corporates in Western Europe are today adopting Agile. Of those corporates, 42% are implementing Agile in non-IT teams, either piloting Agile in specific environments or scaling Agile throughout the whole organisation. Across the board, more than half of the 140 corporates surveyed highlight that at least half of their teams are working Agile. The white paper by Wemanity further distills several trends in Agile working, an overview of the top five:

Agile is maturing

Employees and organisations are advancing their Agile maturity. Respondents rate their Agile knowledge with the score of 7,3 on personal knowledge. Moreover, half of the organisations that participated have been working with Agile for at least three years. The biggest group of respondents has between five and ten years of personal experience with Agile practices and the mindset. It doesn’t come as a surprise that most respondents (83%) acknowledge the benefits of Agile for their organisation. From a country perspective, the Dutch are regarded as Western Europe’s frontrunner in agile adoption and maturity.

Agile working is booming. Five trends in Agile to look out for

Enterprise Agile is hot

Currently, mostly IT-departments work Agile (34%). Agile started in software teams as this way of working gave employees the opportunity to quickly and accurately handle bugs in the coding process. Yet, Agile could be beneficial for other teams: HR-teams could see positive results (59%), as well as business teams (72%), and marketing teams (76%). “Corporate Agile, working together on an integrated level throughout the whole company, is upcoming,” state the authors.

However, there still is a long way to go. One out of five companies is scaling Agile throughout the whole organisation, and one out of ten organisations is fully working Agile. On a corporate level, a quarter of all teams work Agile, and in 20% of the cases around half of the teams are doing so.

Custom made over existing

There are multiple fixed frameworks that respondents utilise: Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), Enterprise Scrum and the Integrated Agile Transformation model. However, custom made frameworks seem to be the most popular. Roughly two out of three organisations choose custom made frameworks – frameworks tailored to fit the specific vision of an organization – over existing models for the Agile transformation. “This demonstrates that learning the existing models by heart is by no means a necessary thing to do,” write the researchers at Wemanity.

Agile is future proof

Agile’s future is sustainable: according to the vast majority of the respondents (86%) Agile is a crucial change instrument for organisations going forward, and nearly 75% of the respondent’s state that Agile will be the norm. Mostly because of the increased time-to-market, the link between business and IT and the opportunity to manage changing priorities, respondents consider Agile to be essential in the future. Besides Agile itself, other concepts within the Agile family are growing in importance. Continuous Delivery, Design Thinking and Growth Hacking are expected to rise in stature in the coming years.

DevOps is the next big thing

DevOps is a development that arises from the same family of thought as Agile. DevOps is all about constantly evolving, developing, testing and providing feedback. This way the product or service turns out to be more flexible and is more adaptable to changing wishes of customers or stakeholders. Half of the respondents (46%) rate DevOps as very important. Surprisingly, less than half of the respondents has an expert on DevOps in their team. The adoption level of DevOps differs per country, but overall 25% of all the teams consider the implementation of DevOps within their organisations.

Related: Seven best practices for Agile working according to BCG Platinion.

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