A mark of an established discipline is often the varied flavours it contains. Agile, with its wide range of evolved frameworks, is increasingly accepted as a staple of software development and digital transformation. After two decades of being debated, implemented and refined by devotees and forward-thinking businesses, Agile approaches have gone mainstream. But what does this mean for the future? Here’s what we’re looking out for in 2023 and beyond.

Customers will drive the change we see 

The Agile manifesto was written and signed in 2001, in a world with dial-up internet and without iPhones. Today’s consumers are surrounded by astonishing technological sophistication and their expectations are driving digital transformation on every scale, but the principles of the manifesto remain relevant.

During a period when Covid, environmental crisis and economic uncertainty overturned business and life as usual, the flexibility of Agile offered an effective response to enterprise disruption. But the true test lies ahead. We will discover whether the experimental, nimble business behaviours that were necessary to meet the challenge of a global pandemic establish themselves as the new normal. Or whether we will fall back into rigid structures when faced with changing customer demands. No prizes for guessing which way we’re leaning on this one.

“The tumult of the last few years – from the pandemic, to supply chains, from economic recessions to government changes and the environment – all suggest that an agile business is one better suited to thrive in volatile times.” - 16th Annual State of Agile Report (Dec 2022)

Refinement of scale

The rapid rise of Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), along with frameworks like Scrum@scale, shows no sign of abating and demonstrates the appetite from larger organisations for greater agility. While there are small team purists who see tensions with Agile principles as inevitable when working at scale, we’re confident that the imagination required to marry pragmatism and innovation will drive creative advances in the expansion of Agile practices. Our prediction is that scaled Agile will actually help move us away from Agile bubbles towards the holy grail of enterprise-wide Agile culture.    

Agile vs Artificial Intelligence or Agile AI?

Agile is unapologetically ‘people first’, as spelt out in the very first line of the Agile Manifesto – Individuals and interactions over processes and tools. So where does this leave AI and Machine Learning? We anticipate lively debate and exciting developments in the relationship between Agile teams and new AI technology. From user stories to unit testing, expect to see more AI interventions, and a whole raft of new techniques and skills being developed as Agile adapts to creatively integrate automation and AI into its workflow.   

Motivated Individuals

People who are part of an effective Agile team tend to enjoy their work more, benefiting from the responsibility and freedom they are given to stretch their talents and use their skills. Motivation, although it often goes unsaid, is a fundamental part of Agile and a key principle for success: Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need and trust them to get the job done. While we’ve outlined predictions and expectations for the future above, this one is also a personal commitment. Through our Agile Digital Services team, we are determined to give talented people working for CGI and our clients new opportunities to learn, and to create collaborative Agile cultures that reward and develop them. A healthy future for Agile relies on a fulfilling future for Agile practitioners.