We look at agile trends on the 20th anniversary of the Agile Manifesto. While in recent years the agile world has focused on promoting and raising awareness of its mindset, the big news of these two years of pandemic in the IT sector comes with the new challenges posed by the sudden increase in teleworking and the impact it has had on employees, organisations and their capacity for innovation. Additionally, there is a growing interest in renewing and strengthening the culture of organisations as agile development, value delivery and having a good business strategy are competitive factors.
As a result of the pandemic, many companies were forced to have their employees working from home from one day to the next, having to accelerate the adoption of new technologies and processes. Fortunately, most employees in the IT sector were already familiar with the use of remote communication technologies, but the impact of having all workers offshore remained to be seen. In general, there has been a good adaptation in this sector to remote working and to try to reduce the impact of physical distance without reducing productivity or the ability to innovate. Existing team techniques have been adapted and new ones have been learned to facilitate sessions and reduce the impact that physical distance can wreak on communication and the generation of collective intelligence. Tools such as Miro, which offers the possibility of making collaborative online boards, have been fundamental to this.
The main challenges have been and remain the preservation of the team feeling, employee engagement, organisational culture and capacity for innovation. In particular, relocation has affected new recruits, who have not been able to have that first physical contact with the company or meet their colleagues face to face, which makes it difficult to generate bonds and a sense of belonging. Health concerns and isolation have added difficulties that companies have tried to combat with specific actions, creating online meeting forums for employees to interact and get to know each other.
According to the annual report, 5th State of agile (2021), 22% of companies have started to practice agile in the last two years. The use of agile in software teams has increased from 37% in 2020 to 86% in 2021 and in non-IT areas it has doubled. More and more Finance, HR and Marketing teams are using agile practices and processes. In terms of methodologies and frameworks, Scrum remains the preferred methodology with 66% usage. ScrumBan and the Kanban method remain with a discreet 9% and 6%, respectively.
New organisational models that already existed are becoming more widely known and there is increasing talk of Teal, Holacracy and Sociocracy 3.0. The application of these new paradigms in organisations that were not set up this way from the start is still a long way off. However, more and more companies are introducing changes in their culture, giving a voice to their employees and caring for their well-being as well as their professional development. The trend is towards purpose-driven, decentralised and delegated power structures, with a strong foundation in communication, collaboration and collective intelligence.
The big question is: is telework here to stay after the pandemic? It is very likely to continue, altought with less intensity. At the very least, a hybrid model will be maintained, with face-to-face and remote days. According to McKinsey (2021), this puts the number at four to five times higher than before the pandemic and office space will be reduced by 30%.
All in all, it is easy to conclude that both the agile paradigm and employee- and customer-centric organisational cultures that leverage collective intelligence will continue to trend in the coming years.