- The foothold Agile has obtained in many organizations will spread beyond software and IT, gaining acceptance in other areas of the business.
- There will be an increase in failed implementations, with a subsequent backlash against Agile.
- The term Agile will cease to be used to identify any set of practices; it will simply be THE way that we operate.
I say this because, quite bluntly, corporate survival rates are declining. Consider the following statistics from The Shift Index study by Deloitte's Center for the Edge—which examined 20,000 US firms from 1965 to date—shows a dramatic decline in the life expectancy of a firm in the Fortune 500:
- Only 74 of the original 500 companies in the S&P Index are still on the list 40 years later.
- The average life span of an S&P 500 company has steadily decreased from more than 50 years to fewer than 15, and trending towards 5 years.
In terms of failed implementations, well, they will come as Agile expands. Using the wrong tool for the job is one way to drive failure. For example, I personally feel that Kanban works better for support organizations whereas something like a Scrum/XP hybrid is better suited for new product development. That’s not to say that one tool can’t work, it’s just that some tools are better suited for certain purposes than others. Force-fitting one tool for every job will invite failure.
Ignoring the people dimension is also one great way to drive failure. Pay attention to the ADKAR® model, or follow Jurgen Appelo’s advice on changing the world (building on the ADKAR® model and other research):
Ultimately (how many years out, I cannot say), “Agile” as a term should disappear because it will be the standard. Right now it’s a convenient term to use while we’re undergoing a sea of change that involves the stripping away of the inessentials, of driving innovation and creativity with greater speed, of learning and adapting quickly—using new approaches to our work because we can’t drive faster execution using existing approaches (at least not in a way that is sustainable).