The Agile Architect

Top 10 Agile Changes Over the Past 10 Years

Our Agile Architect recently celebrated his 10 year work anniversary and uses this as an opportunity to look back and see how agile has changed over the last decade.

balbes bobblehead

I recently celebrated 10 years at WWT Asynchrony Labs. Don't believe me? I have the bobblehead to prove it! And while 10 years is a long time, it feels like only a single decade.

I thought I'd use this opportunity to reflect back on what's changed in the agile world. So here it is. My list of 10 things that have changed (or not) over the last 10 years.

  1. Enterprise Agile Has Become a Thing
    Agile used to be about teams. Now everyone is talking about SAFe, LeSS, DaD, and other enterprise agile frameworks that try to coordinate work and releases across multiple teams.

  2. Framework-Less Agile Is Not a Thing
    We used to try to discover new ways of working. As teams got larger, we experimented to see what techniques we could adopt to mitigate the problems. Now everyone wants to use a framework. Frameworks are good starting points if they can solve some immediate problems. But they are not the end state. They are just the starting point for innovation.

  3. Agile 2.0 Is a Thing
    10 years ago, the Agile Manifesto was the reference point everyone agreed to. Now, everyone is asking if the manifesto is out of date. New manifestos are springing up either to replace the original or augment it.

  4. Software Craftsmanship Is a Thing
    The ninth principle of the agile manifesto is "Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility." Now the ideas this principle spawned have rolled up under their own movement with their own manifesto.

  5. DevOps Is a Thing
    The first principle of the agile manifesto is "Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software." In pursuit of this over the last 10 years, the DevOps movement has grown and flourished.

  6. Agile UX Is a Thing
    When I started at Asynchrony 10 years ago, we weren't even sure that user experience techniques could be applied to an agile project. Now we take it for granted that we'll have user experience specialists on our teams.

  7. Scrum Is the Thing (Unfortunately)
    10 years ago, the agile world was split between Scrum and Extreme Programming. In the intervening years, we've seen plenty of other methodologies crop up, but for the most part, people seem to use Scrum and Agile pretty much synonymously now.

  8. Is Lean a Thing Anymore?
    Lean principles have been so well integrated into agile that the lines between them blur. Teams are using Kanban practices outright or adapting them to hybrid approaches like ScrumBan.

  9. Estimation Is No Longer a Thing
    Planning poker, so important 10 years ago, is now considered a bad practice. The No Estimates movement pushes us to measure and extrapolate rather than guess at estimates,

  10. Measuring Business Value Is Still Struggling To Be a Thing
    Despite our best efforts, measuring business value is still one of the biggest challenges for an agile team. It's easy to measure effort. Measuring true business value takes a great deal of knowledge and insight into the company.

Final Thoughts
Those are my personal thoughts on the changes over the last 10 years. It will be very interesting to see what the next decade brings.