What is Agile?

What is Agile?
Joe Burroughs

Joe Burroughs

Many people are frustrated by uncertainty and complexity in their jobs. I use Agile principles to provide clear and simple strategies so that you can win at work!

What is Agile?

This is the question I get asked most frequently. Put simple Agile is just another way of doing things. One that focuses on delivering value quickly and then evaluating what to do next. It’s a mindset. The traditional project delivery mindset involves getting ALL the questions answered up front. The Agile mindset recognizes that it is impossible to get ALL the questions answered because the answers are changing. 

That got existential really quickly… maybe it would be best to look at a simple example.

Agile 101

Starting at the very Basics… What is agile? Well, agile is a way of delivering small units of value quickly rather than delivering an entire project all at once.

What does that really mean though?

Imagine that you are designing a website for a landscaper who has just started the business. They have no collateral. They’re making a career pivot and all of a sudden they want to just jump into landscaping and they have no place to start they come to you. They want you to build them a website.

Would you ask a thousand questions write down their answers and then spend two months and isolation building the website, finally sending them the finished files with your invoice or would you design a few logos, get their feedback, then maybe design a splash screen, get some more feedback, then design some template pages, get their feedback on that continually creating touchpoints with the customer to ensure you’re delivering ultimately what they want? Well, congratulations that is Agile software delivery!

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Why should I care about Agile?

Here’s the million dollar question, why should I care?

Why should you care about agile or these agile roles and opportunities we’re discussing? Well, here are some statistics that I think will answer that question for you. Nearly one in four of the highest performing companies surveyed by PMI, the Project Management Institute completed projects with agile and 46% of surveyed organizations use or have used an agile or hybrid agile approach over the last 12 months and that number is only increasing.

80% of new federal IT projects will be agile or iterative and that’s from Deloitte, one of the leading consulting companies in our nation. 80% of new federal, that’s government, IT projects will be agile or iterative. That’s a tremendous opportunity as they transform from more traditional ways of developing software and IT projects to agile methodologies.

85.9% of 101,592 international surveyed software developers use agile in their work. That’s from stack overflow. So if agile developers across the globe are using agile methodologies at a rate of around 90% I think we’re safe to say that this is going to take over from the ground up.

Over 460 senior executives from around the world said they believe organizational agility is critical to business success. This is from Forbes. So top-down senior executives say that agility is critical to success.

And finally 16% of 601 development IT professionals described their company as pure agile, yet 51% are leaning toward agile. This is from Hewlett Packard. Well, the number seems low. 16% of 601 IT professionals say their company is pure agile, yet 51% are leaning toward it, showing the potential for growth. If only 16% are there now and eventually 100% will be.

You are in the right place at exactly the right time in your career to take advantage of this new agile development trend. Congratulations!

Why should a company adopt Agile?

Use the Comments Section below to describe a company you are familiar with or a fictional company and why they might benefit from adopting Agile? Explain how Agile delivery would solve for one or more of the drivers mentioned above. Consider what someone who disagrees with your point of view might suggest or say instead and how you would address those concerns.


Joe Burroughs

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2 thoughts on “What is Agile?”

  1. I am interested in this company, Capsula Mundi. This is a company that allows people to recycle their bodies when they die back to the earth in a capsule made biodegradable plastic. I believe this company could benefit from Agile because although they have one product which is the capsule which is one size. Some may say, for what the company’s goal, it was achieved. I believe they could incorporate Agile to introduce other products similar to the pod, where their next project would be progressive to get consumer feedback and that would increase customer relations and familiarity with the company. They could have done this before the creation of the actual pod. They created a human sized pod but not one for animals. Now, animal lovers are inquiring about one for their pets. This could have been done before the debut of the human pod.

  2. That is an interesting area. There is a good amount of growth within the end-of-life field from companies facilitating the donation of bodies to specific science and medical specialties or even plastination. The expansion to cover pets is a natural next step.

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