The tricky aspect to writing about trends for the year-ahead is in having the perfect crystal ball. This crystal ball needs to have a pulse on all things agile management, including the history, the pace-of-change, the major players – all in consideration of the latest trends in business, technology, and people.
Predicting trends is kind of like relying on statistics – there are no guarantees. However, we do know that agile management is here to stay and we only anticipate greater growth and progress. The sheer number of companies providing agile management tools, training, certification, and leadership is a testament that the 2018 trends point only to good things happening.
A caveat about trends, don’t assume that you need to follow all of these trends. Remember the beauty and simplicity of agile – in being flexible and doing what works for the individuals in your organization. A trend doesn’t mean you have to implement it – just know what’s going on and make your best judgement on what will fit best into your team dynamics.
Agile Management Moves Beyond Software Development
Agile management is no longer a secret. We’re seeing it move beyond software development into every industry that needs a flexible and customer-driven approach to project management. Think of marketing agencies juggling multiple clients, financial experts and managers working to stay on-top of the numbers, and construction companies who must keep numerous client demands in scope and on-time.
Along with giving businesses a chance to improve how they collaborate with their customers, agile management practices are an ideal way for these non-traditional agile shops to open internal communication.
With a younger and more adaptable work-force leading the agile transition, we’re seeing traditional industries slowly but surely adapting to agile management. Thanks in part to excellence in agile training, certifications, and tools – it’s now easier for such industries to make the change to agile management. It will be interesting to see how this wider adoption of agile management encourages continued growth and change with the trends shaping agile.
DevOps and Agile Stick Together
For far too long there was a thinking that agile and DevOps couldn’t work together. However, this has changed in 2018. This togetherness is in part in thanks to a better understanding of how agile and DevOps are focused on the same ultimate goals.
The very nature of DevOps – of bringing an agile approach to how IT departments function and operate – only speaks to this inevitable marriage. Depending on your organization, you may see your DevOps manager getting more involved with the product managers in planning and delivering on iteration success. IT team members are slowly becoming part of the agile software teams, to ensure that product roll-outs are scheduled properly and the surprise factor of a release is erased.
At its core, is communication and collaboration – DevOps and the agile teams are in-sync – eliminating potential blockers that can interrupt story success.
Agile Management Software Becomes Easy
Remember the early days of agile management tools? Gosh, they were clunky and hard to use. The learning curve was steep and no one really had the time to devote to really learning these new tools – after all, most of us were still trying to understand agile management.
Well, good news for all of us – we’re in a new era of agile management software. It’s time to welcome tools that make collaboration, communication, planning, and flexibility an actuality. Now more agile management software development companies are including online webinars, informative blogs (that go beyond product promotion), and improved customer service – all with the goal of making it easier for teams to be truly agile.
Look for companies who can deliver on straight-forward agile management tools that work for everyone and don’t demand hours of reading and heavy manuals. Now is the perfect time revisit your agile management tools – make sure your team is not being held back by outdated and hard-to-use software.
Less Bugs and More Success
In-step with improved agile management software tools, is a decrease in bugs and deal-breakers. Better software tools, an improved understanding of how to make agile work for the team, and an understanding that transitions take time – are all culminating in better team success.
The days of releasing software and then planning the patch schedule are long-gone for teams who are fully integrated with agile management. However, it has been hard to break the mindset that problems and bugs are acceptable. With advances in pair programming, test automation, better user experience design, and a whole-team approach – code is cleaner and better.
Artificial Intelligence is Here
It only makes sense for artificial intelligence (AI) to make real gains in agile management. We’re seeing first-hand how AI is taking the routine and mundane out of the day-to-day for quality assurance experts. With improved automated testing solutions that take advantage of AI, the routine (and somewhat boring) tasks can be given to a smart solution.
Beyond quality assurance, we expect AI to become part of the tools project portfolio managers and product managers are using. Giving these leaders the real capability to predict and be proactive – all thanks to the data analysis that AI enables. Problems can be identified early-on, automated testing is no longer static, risk can be analyzed from multiple data points, and ultimately we’ll see better team productivity.
What is Next for Agile Management?
We want you to think out-loud and brainstorm with your team – talk about how agile is working for you. Think about what would make your day-to-day and project success better. Discuss these trends (and any we’ve missed) – assess them from all angles and do what’s right for your team and organization.
Remember, it’s up to us working directly within agile management to lead the charge in cementing trends into de facto standards and processes.