Agile in 2020 and beyond: What does it mean to you?
It’s mid-January 2020, and it feels like a next-gen Y2K is coming (joking, sort of — technology hasn’t “failed” us yet). What will be different in the year 2020? How will design and technology change in this decade? Or impact my career? Why should I care?
As a Design Lead, I find myself on “the Google” between meetings, searching through technology and design sites. The need to stay current is evident. Competition is steep. Yet what I really want is to find information that will improve how my team and I work together. Should we be more “Agile”? (A phrase I hear way too often.) What does it mean to be Agile as a designer? Or as an employee in an organization?
When I hear Agile the first word that comes to my mind is flexible. As a designer, Agile is a twofold approach. It’s iterative, meaning we refine through repetition to work towards a goal (A/B/C and maybe even D testing, user feedback, heat mapping, etc.), but it’s also adaptive. With Agile, we have the ability to refine or change based on outcomes or scenarios such as client requests, development issues, scope creep, shift in priorities, and paid media budgets — all the factors that make up a beautiful day in the agency neighborhood.
From a business perspective, how does taking an Agile approach apply? How will companies become more Agile in the next decade? How will the tools and technology shape the way we work — and potentially work better with clients?
I believe we are at a paradigm shift when it comes to working Agile. My 11 years of professional experience shows it has always been about prioritization based on need. But from a business perspective, considering everything is data-driven, information tops need.
“Agile is a powerful methodology but in an increasingly data-driven world, it may not necessarily be the right one.”
Now, in 2020, some nay-sayers are arguing “Agile is dead,” while others enthusiastically suggest “this is just the beginning” (Why Agile’s Future is Bright).
A common misconception is that Agile is just a “methodology,” like Scrum (which I know my fellow designers and developers are familiar with).
The origin of Agile was in response to massive change and growth in the marketplace. Agile became a remedy for Waterfall approaches. Over the last decade, as Agile developed from a Scrum methodology into a mindset, businesses adapted their own vocabulary and terms for what Agile meant to them. But in this new decade, with the massive growth of data, systems and tools, how will we rethink Agile? How can we be more Agile? What are the most important trends to follow in 2020?
This new year promises big changes, so here’s what to look out for:
- Design and development teams will collaborate more at the initiation of a project. Development will inform design, and vice versa.
- Development resources from large enterprises will be more outsourced. In turn, this will initiate a rise of more start-up shops or smaller-scale dev agencies or businesses. This will apply not only to developers, but to anyone with specialized expertise.
- Agile for all: In the coming years, Scrum will be applied to large-scale enterprise initiatives, not just design and development teams.
- Feedback and feedback loops are now more important than ever and will reshape the way enterprises do business.
- Infusing human data and business data into the way we work and how we make decisions will be more imperative.
While this is all very exciting, it may still be foreign to some of us. There are plenty of conferences coming up about Agile that can help us get up-to-speed with the concept and its practices.
Here are some conferences in the US to put on your radar in 2020:
Agile Open NW: Portland, OR (February 3-5)
DeveloperWeek: Oakland, San Francisco, Austin, New York, Seattle (February 12-16)
LeanAgileUS: Fort Lauderdale, FL (February 24-26)
Agile Open San Diego: San Diego, CA (March 11-13)
Global Scrum Gathering: New York, NY (May 11-13)
Agile2020: Orlando, FL (July 20-24)
If you want to be a change leader in your organization or just among your peers, I encourage you to get more familiar with Agile and what it means for the way you work in 2020 and beyond. I know I will.