As I’ve written previously, it is exciting to see more and more organizations adopting Agile development processes but there remains a great deal of confusion regarding what Agile is and how it can best be actualized. This post addresses the fifth and final of my Top 5 myths about Agile development.
Myth #5: Agile is only for software development
Agile has had a profound impact on the software development industry. Lean processes like Scrum, XP and Kanban are now being used by nearly every major organization. While Agile got its start in software development, that is not the only place it can and should be used. Agile was introduced in order to better mirror the way knowledge workers actually work. Agile encourages teams to release a product quickly and improve the product over time through a series of iterations. This is no different than the way most professionals work today. Reporters publish stories quickly and add new information throughout the day. Marketing organizations produce draft copy and refine it over time until it is ready to be made public. Scientists publish an initial report and refine it as they gather more information.
Agile adoption is spreading across a wide range of industries and disciplines.
Entrepeneurs are using Agile to improve the way they start new companies. There have been a number of books written about Lean Start-ups. One of the best ones is “The Start-up Owners Manual: The step by step guide for building a great company” by Steve Blank and Bob Dorf. If you are interested in using Agile processes for a new company or product, this book is a great place to start.
Marketing agencies and teams are quickly adopting Agile as well. Sites like http://www.agilemarketing.net/ and http://chiefmartec.com/category/agile-marketing/ share their own insights and processes to improve marketing through Agile techniques. AgileMarketing.net even has their own version of the Agile Manifesto.
The publishing industry is considering Agile as a way to increase time to market and lower risk. O’Reilly is leading the way in this space with articles like http://toc.oreilly.com/2012/01/agile-methods-software-publishing.html and http://toc.oreilly.com/2012/02/agile-for-real-world-publishing.html.
Agile techniques are even being applied to scientific research studies. This is a new area, but it is growing quickly. There is even a Manifesto for Agile Research at http://xavier.amatriain.net/AgileResearchManifesto/.
Agile makes sense across a wide range of disciplines. Think about the work you’re doing today. Could you improve what you are doing by releasing more quickly and using iterations to refine you product? I would love to hear more about how others are using Agile in their industries. Please share your thoughts and ideas in our comments section.