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Is the Agile Movement at an Inflection Point?

Agile Inflection Point
Inflection Point – a critical change in direction.

Yesterday, a couple of data points crossed my desk that got me wondering if the Agile movement has succeeded and will now be absorbed into the mainstream. First, Jurgen Appelo posted about how the Agile Movement is Shrinking, but the Agile Mindset is Growing. He explained that some Agile conference attendance numbers are shrinking while business change is accelerating, and the most sought-after skills are collaboration and agility.

An alternative explanation is that people do not go to in-person conferences as much anymore. COVID taught us that remote is possible. Anyone who tried to get Taylor Swift tickets knows in-person can be expensive, and maybe on video is the next best thing.

Then I learned the upcoming PMI Global Summit in Atlanta has already outsold all previous PMI conferences and will be the largest in-person event in PMI history with over 3,300 attendees and still rising. The program has many agile and business agility sessions, and I will be presenting on Introducing Agile to Non-Agile Organizations.

Confirmation bias – The tendency to favor information that confirms or strengthens our beliefs.

Also this week, Stefan Wolpers wrote a great article about Should We Change Scrum? He describes circumstances where interfaces or changes to Scrum could improve its adoption and increase business agility.

Hybrid-approaches and integrating agile techniques with more structured approaches are nothing new. In 2000 (before the Agile Manifesto was written), I co-authored the first white paper about using agile approaches with structured project management Using DSDM with PRINCE2.

If the agile movement is declining because it has succeeded in introducing agility, I guess that is good. Heck, I have dedicated a bunch of time towards spreading agility within PMI and know many others who have also.

Explaining agility will continue to be necessary, but maybe we are seeing an inflection point? Maybe these data points are just confirmation bias? I’d be interested to hear people’s thoughts.


Curtis Hibbs

Just a few quick points:

- Movements (like agile and agility) have a lifecycle, themselves. We really have to expect that this movement will be no different than others:

- I remember back in the late 2000's when Dave Thomas (one of the manifesto authors) first proclaimed "Agile is Dead" and my reaction was, not really -- its just going mainstream, all according to the movement lifecycle.

- That was about team level agile. The new thing is now agility at the organization level. That is simply going through the very same lifecycle.

Mike Griffiths

Hi Curtis!
Thanks for stopping by to leave a comment. I really hope agile is moving into the mainstream. It is what we have been pushing for, for so long. The other options include "repression" and "failure" but I like the "go mainstream" and "success" options more! I think that's what we are seeing now, which is a good thing.

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