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Agile trends you need to know about
Jacqueline Metrowich
Senior Scrum Master, DVT

Agile trends you need to know about

Monday, 14 May 2018 14:36

I always look forward to reading VersionOne’s Annual State of Agile Report which surveys respondents and companies worldwide on their use of Agile methodologies, practices and tools. The 12th one was recently released and reports a continued upward trend in the use of Agile practices in non-software companies and large organisations of more than 20,000 employees. Businesses and software development teams are adopting Agile methodologies to improve their processes and deliver better software products faster. Here in South Africa, we have certainly noticed increased interest from large corporates who want to remain relevant in the face of leaner, more customer-centric, technology-driven competitors.

However, the survey also reports that the biggest challenges experienced when transforming an organisation to Agile, are that traditional organisational culture conflicts with Agile values, the general resistance to change, and lack of management support.

The following are some of the challenges of adopting Agile:

  • Resistance to change.
  • Lack of buy-in from stakeholders
  • Poorly defined processes.
  • Inadequate training and coaching.
  • Lack of trust and collaboration.

To overcome these challenges, businesses and software development teams must adopt a growth mindset and be open to learning and experimentation.

Most companies nowadays implement the Agile methodology that includes iterative meetings called daily Scrum meetings, during which each team member reports progress and issues on their tasks.

With agile methodology, the scope can expand quickly as the project progresses, but an estimate that is completely off track can create problems in results and quality. Agile adoption and development trends are constantly evolving, and businesses and software development teams need to stay up to date with the latest trends to remain competitive.

We believe that this will lead to more culture and change management coaches being involved in Agile transformations, to help address culture conflicts, change management and executive buy-in. Agile development teams are increasingly embracing DevOps practices to streamline their workflows and improve the efficiency of software development processes.

Trends in Agile Practices and Methodologies

Agile is constantly evolving, and new trends are emerging. There are some of the latest Agile development trends that businesses and software development teams should keep an eye on

  • Growing Interest in Agile Among Non-Software Companies: An increasing number of non-software companies and large organisations with over 20,000 employees are embracing Agile practices. This shift is driven by the need to stay relevant in today's leaner, customer-centric, and technology-driven business landscape.
  • Challenges in Agile Transformation: While Agile adoption is on the rise, organisations encounter challenges during the transformation process. The most common hurdles include conflicts between traditional organisational culture and Agile values, general resistance to change, and lack of management support.
  • Rise of Culture and Change Management Coaches: To overcome cultural conflicts and improve change management, more organisations are turning to culture and change management coaches. These experts play a crucial role in addressing cultural barriers and gaining executive buy-in for Agile transformations.
  • Agile Extending Beyond Software Development: The International Consortium for Agile (ICAgile) is now offering methodology-agnostic Agile training certifications in various domains such as Talent, Marketing, and Leadership. This extension beyond software development aims to enhance the performance and delivery efficiency of IT departments.
  • Scrum and Kanban Lead Methodologies: According to respondents, Scrum remains the most popular methodology for Agile implementation. However, the use of Kanban has been steadily increasing, with its adoption rising from 39% to 65% between 2015 and 2017. Many organisations are leveraging Kanban and task boards for improved visibility and efficient project management.
  • Scaling with SAFe and Scrum of Scrums: When it comes to scaling Agile, the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) and Scrum of Scrums are the preferred methodologies among organisations.
  • Growing Interest in DevOps Practices: DevOps practices and tools are gaining significant traction. Continuous testing, continuous delivery, automation in testing and release builds, and cloud services are becoming key focus areas for companies, with 71% investing in DevOps practices, as reported by VersionOne.
  • New Agile Measurements for Success: organisations are reevaluating their metrics for project success. Customer or user satisfaction and business value delivery are now widely recognized as crucial success indicators, with a 46% increase in the use of customer/user satisfaction as a measure between 2016 and 2017. Traditional measurements like velocity and burn-down charts are decreasing in popularity.
  • Overall Success with Agile: The report highlights that Agile practices are resulting in more successful projects across various organisations. Companies are eager to enhance their Agile implementations and expand Agile practices throughout their entire organisation.
What's next for Agile?

The Prominence of Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning Methodologies for Agile:

Requirement analysis is a crucial step in the development process. Extension beyond software development into other areas of the organisation. The International Consortium for Agile (, who provides methodology agnostic Agile training certification, has this year introduced training in the areas of Talent, Marketing, and Leadership, to further increase the performance of a focused and delivery efficient IT department.

Agile Software Development methodology has already become an inevitable part of technology enterprises due to its efficient and flexible nature, and continuous delivery. Agile Software Development methodology has already become an inevitable part of technology enterprises due to its efficient and flexible nature, and continuous delivery.

We can expect to see more agile teams integrating DevOps practices, using tools and technologies that enable seamless collaboration between development, operations, and other stakeholders. Distributed agile teams are geographically dispersed, and collaborate using various communication and collaboration tools. Organisations will strive to gain a deep understanding of customer needs and preferences, and agile teams will work closely with customers to deliver software products that meet their needs and provide a superior user experience.

Scrum continues to be the most popular methodology as indicated by respondents to the VersionOne survey and this is growing year on year. However from 2015 to 2017, the use of Kanban rose from 39% to 65% and the use of Kanban or task boards as a tool is growing compared to all other traditional PM tools, issue trackers and spreadsheets. Everyone agrees that the visibility created by offline boards is invaluable and many have found it powerful in managing, measuring and optimising the flow of business value through the entire value stream; product roadmapping, as well as project portfolio planning.

SAFe and Scrum of Scrums are still the most popular methodologies for scaling.

Another trend that we have observed and that was also reported in the VersionOne survey is the increased interest in DevOps practices and tools, such as continuous testing, continuous delivery, automation in testing and release builds, and cloud services. VersionOne saw 71% of companies now investing in DevOps practices and tools. I have observed more teams, having experienced the gains of working in small cross-functional groups, wanting to increase their velocity and quality delivery by introducing DevOps practices and patterns. This topic is also gaining popularity at conferences, MeetUps and on online forums.

With the introduction of Agile methods, new measurements of project success are being recognised and used. For the first time we are seeing customer or user satisfaction and business value delivery being widely used as measures of success. VersionOne reports that the use of customer/user satisfaction as a measure increased from 28% in 2016 to 46% in 2017. Fortunately, this has also resulted in a decrease in measuring velocity and burn-down charts, which are intended only to be used internally by teams to organise themselves in achieving their goals.

Overall organisations are now recognising that working in an Agile way results in their projects being successful, and they want to improve their use of Agile practices throughout their organisations.

To summarise:
  • More non-software companies are going Agile
  • More large organisations are moving to Agile
  • Recognition of cultural conflicts with Agile
  • Agile is extending into more areas of the organisation
  • Scrum is still the most popular methodology
  • Kanban is growing
  • DevOps practices and tools are growing
  • New Agile measurements are being used
  • Increased success with Agile

In this age of agile trends, it's evident that successful, adaptable, and expandable business processes take the lead. Project management experts employ their full range of skills to ensure seamless team operations. From agile scrums tailored to business requirements to design thinking principles that prioritise customer needs from the outset, and not to forget the incredible prowess of AI and machine learning, which accelerate testing and time to market.

Editor's Note: This post was originally published on 14 May 2018, and was updated on 11 September 2023.

Published in Agile
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