The State of Agile – Matthias Marschall

I’ve been working as CTO and Tech Lead for a couple of web startups in Germany. In these jobs, I transitioned multiple organizations from waterfall or chaos to Agile and lean processes. In order to create real value at all levels of the organization, companies must employ a combination of Lean, Scrum, and Kanban methodologies or processes. It’s critical to optimize the whole rather than just software development.

How has Agile changed?

Agile ideas have been around for quite some time. A lot of great people applied Agile practices and thought models to their daily work without calling them “Agile”. The Agile manifesto helped focus these ideas and created a more concerted approach. Since its inception, more and more people begin to think in this direction and a set of repeatable working practices have started to converge to well structured processes. Nowadays, I see Scrum and Kanban as the most widely known variants of Agile processes.

What is the future of Agile looking like?

The biggest challenge for the Agile community I see is to stop propagating the “only truth” in one specific Agile process variant. I think we have to leave the turf wars behind and accept that only a mix of Agile practices will really increase the creation of customer value. Only if we apply agile to our organizations end-to-end we can be successful in avoiding sub-optimizations in one area. And applying Agile to various parts of our organizations (not only Agile software development), we need to make sure that we choose the right tool for the job. I think we’ll see more and more places where people apply e.g. Scrum for feature development projects, Kanban for maintenance or system administration, and Lean tools like value stream mapping on the upper management levels. This mix has a great chance to really strengthen our organizations and optimize the value creation chain so that we deliver more value to our customers.

You can find Matthias Marschall at @mmarschall and blogging on http://www.agileweboperations.com/.

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