How Agile Evolved in 2014

The Agile industry is evolving at an incredible speed. Just in the past year, we’ve seen many changes in best practices, applications, automation, and so much more, including:

Increase Adoption of Agile at the Enterprise Level (Agile@Scale)

While scaled Agile at the enterprise level was not brand new in 2014, we saw a huge uptick in the number of companies seeking and successfully implementing Agile at the highest levels.

It’s no secret that Agile functions at its highest efficiency when the entire organization is aligned with Agile principles. We’ve seen time after time the conflict that results decision makers hand down priorities, schedules, and requests that simply don’t fit into the Agile framework the development team is trying to implement. This pattern leads to stress or – in the worst cases – complete failure of the project.

But, when Agile is properly scaled to all levels of the organization and the company truly embraces Agile principles from the top down, the machine runs faster and smoother than ever before. Agile is most effective with the entire decision making process is in line with all production that takes place.

We’re definitely glad to see this change taking hold.

More Focus on the ROI of Agile

As more and more organizations adopted a Scaled Agile Framework for Enterprise (SAFe)-based, top-down approach to scaled Agile, discussions about value streams and return on the Agile investment began to brew. Many of the tools on the market don’t make this kind of tracking easy, and to many organizations, the concept is breaking new ground. Decision makers were often shocked to find that the 80% of their investment estimated for development and 20% for support services, were actually reversed.

The increased trend of starting at the portfolio level and drilling down to the program and team levels once strategy and appropriate financial goals are in place will continue to put Agile transformation on firmer footing. 2014 paved the way for more effective evaluation of value streams businesses are investing in.

Heightened Discussion of DevOps

Removing barriers between building software and seeing it go live, the unification of development and delivery, end to end Deployment; however you define it, DevOps was the phrase of the year. While the concept of DevOps might be more mature in theory than in actuality, we expect to see even more conversation around building in feedback loops to create continuous decision-making processes.

An Elemental Shift in Perception

For a long time, the question in the minds of nearly every software developer was “should I go Agile?” But this year, we saw the question change from “should I go Agile?” to “how quickly should I roll Agile out?” And it’s a question not only being asked by developers. Marketers, project managers and business owners are all starting to investigate the benefits of Agile – across all industries.

With this important shift in perception, we can start focusing more of our resources on guiding successful Agile transformations and helping our clients get the most out of them, which is very rewarding for us as a company who truly believes in the power of Agile.