Agile Predictions for 2017: The "Tumping" Point

Posted by Steve Elliott on Nov 29, 2016 1:18:45 PM

2016 has been an amazing year. The agile conversation has continued to expand beyond just software development. Agile is not simply a conversation for the IT department any longer, as the business is now an active participant at the table. CIOs are playing such a key role in the enterprise that they are now sitting on the Board of Directors. CMOs have started to embrace an active role in transformations per their involvement in digital transformation. CFOs are getting into the action as well. And most exciting, we are getting very close to a true case study of a 100% successful agile transformation from strategy ideation at the executive level down through the entire organization. 

At the same time, a lot has happened at AgileCraft in 2016.  Most exciting was being named Fortune’s #1 SMB Place to Work, among other awards we have received.  Our growth has been explosive—more and more customers are starting their agile transformation with us; we have seen global expansion of both customers and team members; and new and exciting product enhancements, including our new Roadmapping and Time Tracking tools that are coming in Q1, along with our reimagined user experience.

So, as we head into the last month of the year, I thought I would take the time to make some predictions for what I expect to see coming for agile in 2017:

Enterprises that have traditionally resisted Agile will get on board

The majority of companies in the Fortune 1000 who have resisted investing in agile IT transformation will officially fund large scale transformation initiatives in 2017. Companies will look for new ways to fund transformations, including having the Finance department embrace capitalization of software based on agile development practices. I might sound like a broken record on this topic, but here is the realization that every large enterprise will reach sooner or later: every company is now a software company.  If you don’t embrace this and vow to be excellent at building software, you risk letting others gain the competitive advantage. C-level execs who understand this and react to the need for transformation will lead in their respective spaces and maintain that lead.  It’s very clear, you can’t succeed in the digital world by resisting agile.

Planning, accounting, and balancing will become the top focus

The large-scale frameworks will begin to focus on cross-portfolio planning, bimodal accounting, and portfolio balancing as the PPM space continues to contract.  This has caused an acceleration of momentum in the last 4 months.  Agile at Scale started at the Program level with the notion of team of teams/scrum of scrums rolling up into the release trains.  As we have progressed with Agile at Scale, it’s moved up to the Portfolio level and beyond.  However, common challenges are emerging, such as the need to satisfy the auditors, the corporate governance structure, and the Finance department, which all live in a bi-modal world.  Many transformations stop before they start because enterprises are unaware of how skill set based utilization planning and agile teams can co-exist.  Additionally, the need for real-time actionable data from a solution that provides a single source of data has become a necessity.  Finally, instead of manually compiling error-prone PowerPoints and spreadsheets, there will be a move towards one-click, comprehensive status reports in real time. (Shameless plug for AgileCraft)

Additional frameworks will be introduced, but stall quickly

New scaled agile frameworks will attempt to enter the market, but their success will be limited, with one of the new frameworks centered around the modern agile movement.  Existing methods of scale will stay flat or contract in market share as the Scaled Agile Framework continues to expand.  Several frameworks, including SAFe, LESS, Kanban, Nexus, and DAD give companies several options to choose from.  Many enterprises struggle to decide where to start and what works best for them.  Let’s face it, SAFe is the market leader and it dominates in the marketplace.  No organization implements SAFe 100% by the book, but many successful organizations are figuring out how to mold the framework to fit their business through the use of a common language that SAFe provides.

Application Development Lifecycle Management and Product Portfolio Management will converge

Last, but not least, are the changes I expect to see in Application Development Lifecycle Management (ADLM) and Product Portfolio Management (PPM) space.  As business and enterprise agility takes a more prominent role, the traditional PMO will become obsolete and the ADLM and PPM markets will officially converge.  Thinking back, this should have been one of my predictions for 2016.  Companies no longer want to, or can afford to, invest in a full-fledged PPM solution.  The ROI just doesn’t make sense.  Most companies that are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a PPM solution are rarely using the platform for comprehensive portfolio planning.  Most focus primarily on time tracking and some light-weight resource allocation, so it no longer makes sense to make this significant financial investment.  I believe that enterprises will make a big shift to ADLM solutions that can support their true needs at a much more cost-effective path.

The “tumping point” will be reached

I had a debate with my wife one evening when I used the phrase “Don’t tump that over.”  I argued that tump was in fact a word, and she dissented.  Siri cleared it up and validated that it is a word and I was using it correctly.  Merriam-Webster informed us that it was a “chiefly southern” phrase, but proper nonetheless.  Since then I have referred to tipping points as tumping points just to have a little fun with my friends that were English majors.  With that background story in mind, I believe that in 2017 Agile Business Transformations will truly take hold from top to bottom in several Fortune 500 at-scale scenarios.  We have been flirting with it for a couple of years and it is finally fixing to tump over.  We were impressed when agile made a team of 12 work more efficiently, so it will be incredible to see an entire enterprise wired with agile principals from top to bottom.  This enterprise shift will be very consequential to how companies compete in the modern era and I am looking forward to seeing software continue to disrupt and improve the world. 

Curious what your thoughts are, do you agree or disagree?

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Topics: Scaled Agile, Agile, PPM