Product Innovation Trends

The Need to Review the Agile Manifesto: The World has Changed

Derwyn Harris | August 22, 2014

This is the second post in a series examining the changes that have occurred since the Agile Manifesto was published and the implications they have on how we might consider the Manifesto today. Find the first post here

Earlier this week I introduced the need to rethink the Agile Manifesto and in today’s post we take a look at things have changed since it was published. The world has seen many fundamental changes since 2001, not least in terms of technology and how teams work. Working patterns and methodologies have changed. The workplace has truly become global and connected. From online cloud storage to social networks, we’re now permanently embedded through modern technology. Not only is this true for how we communicate with colleagues, it is true for how we connect with customers. As a result of the social communication revolution, hierarchies of communication have been flattened and reshaped power relationship between rulers and masses (or management and workers). The dialogue with customers is instantaneous, and the customer voice is more empowered than ever before, more able to share opinions with us and everyone else about a product or service.

If we take a snapshot of 2001, the world of technology was a very different place. For example, the Ericsson R380 had just been released in 2000, widely considered to be the world’s first ‘smartphone.’ The first camera phone was rolled out in Japan in 2000 by J-Phone, using technology that would not find its way to North America until 2004. Social media was really an unknown term. Even MySpace was not around yet and the closest we had to what we would now call social media was archaic Instant messaging applications such as ICQ.

Music technology was probably the big event of 2001. Napster had just taken the industry by surprise and the first iPod had just come out. Things would never be the same. The phrase ‘DotCom’ was still something of a buzzword, and AOL was at its peak user base. Google had 400 employees worldwide and the whole idea of a creative workplace was just beginning to emerge. Amazon turned its first profit, laying the foundation for major growth in the coming years.

Today things look very different…

Mobile phones are no longer just phones. They are wearable. They are tablets, music players, movie players, video and still cameras, navigation systems, mini computers and health monitoring devices, and much more, dependent on which of the tens of thousands of apps available you use. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Instagram have fundamentally changed how we communicate and share media and information. Content is highly personalized and we are firmly in the age of opt-in and permission-based marketing and communications.

The ‘Internet of Things’ has replaced DotCom and almost everything is connected – refrigerators, thermostats, cars, smart TVs. And, of course, we know what happened to Google.

There are a couple of important points to note from all of this. One is the sheer number of companies that have emerged over the last few years, but the more important fact is that so many of these companies are making products which have software embedded in them as a core operational element.

Read the next post in the series here. Find me on Twitter or share your thoughts on the Manifesto in the comments below and download my eBook “A Modern Take on the Agile Manifesto.”

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