Agile vs Agile 2: What is the Difference Between The Two Methodologies?

In 2001, the Manifesto of Agile Software Development came into being. A group of fourteen leading figures in the software industry produced the Manifesto, demonstrating their experience of what methods do and do not work for software development.

The main aim of this new methodology was to mitigate the rigidity of development methods such as the waterfall model. This new methodology advocated for a flexible schedule and delivering value faster and often. Since strict planning can go wrong if the team or the software fails, the agile model allows developers to adjust their plans and be more “nimble”.

The Agile methodology stands on four core values:

  • Prioritizing Individual and team interactions over tools and processes.
  • Generating a working software instead of maintaining comprehensive documentation
  • Collaborating with customers
  • Making changes even while following a plan

This methodology allows development teams to implement small projects quickly and fix errors in the software from the get-go without having to work on the project again from the start. Each and every iteration and new function/logic is tested after implementation. In the Agile model, new features and iterations become available to the customers immediately unlike rigid models like waterfall wherein all the features are developed and delivered at once.

The agile movement moved teams away from creating up-front plans, micromanaging, some dependence on specialists, and having to deliver on big promises. It promoted collaboration, self-sufficiency, and making incremental deliveries to the clients. However, this model fails to understand the need for structure, leadership, and it undermined individual differences.

What is Agile 2?

Agile was an experimental model with its own set of hits and misses. However, the agile methodology was more of a philosophy that undermined the value of engineering.

The developer community had believed that there would be a consensus in the future on how to utilize agile methods at a scale, but the community continued to scatter. While agile methods worked well with small teams or projects, it was difficult for larger organizations to successfully implement it.

10 years after the original Agile manifesto was published, a fresher perspective was provided in the new MoreAgile Manifesto by Geert Bossuyt from Xebia. This manifesto marks the beginning of Agile 2, which recognizes how communication and collaborating all the time takes power away from everyone and advocates that technical issues need to be solved individually no matter how time-consuming this may be.

Agile 2 combines the most brilliant ideas from Lean and Agile to generate an effective and simple form of agile for IT and software development. It gives development teams the flexibility to incorporate a pure agile approach over a product’s entire life-cycle, or a hybrid approach within a conventional project framework using agile methods.

Agile vs. Agile 2 – Here’s how the two methodologies differ:

  • Redefining Leadership: While Agile tried to do away with leadership by promoting self-organization, Agile 2 acknowledges the need for many forms of leadership. Agile was based on the belief that managers must trust teams to work independently without intervening, but this approach proved not to be enough.  Agile 2 theorizes that every individual can take “personal leadership” but that sometimes teams do require leadership, but that this leadership should be empowering and also must provide a direction to teams.
  • Teams or Individuals: The Agile methodology encourages teamwork and working in a collaborative manner,  whereas Agile 2 advocates that individuals are as important as teams. Each team member individually requires mentorship, professional growth, opportunities to learn new things and to receive feedback regularly. Agile 2 advocates for the need for individual recognition.
  • Extremism vs Balance: Agile 2 tries to bring balance and judgment back into the old agile methodology. The Agile community is unidirectional and pushes teams to collaborate and interact more and more, reducing the focus on the work to be done or issues that must be resolved. Team members do not invest time thinking and researching and then lose a lot of time communicating with others while using agile methods. While good ideas can be generated by teams, the Agile community undermines individual contributions to ideas and the role that private reflection plays. Instead of this extremist approach to development, Agile 2 provides improves the development process by bringing in more thoughtfulness and judgment.
  • Developing Business and Technical Understanding: Teams following the Agile methodologies often have a specific understanding and do not try to learn about other areas of development. The development team focuses on deploying applications, the testing team looks only at the functionality of the product and the design team tries to optimize the website or application for UI/UX and SEO. Agile 2 emphasizes that the technology team should also take an interest in business issues and develop a holistic understanding of business and technology.

Agile 2 is undoubtedly a better version of Agile as it includes what worked and improves upon the limitations of Agile. It emphasizes individuals along with teams as in most cases it is the individuals that need attention from leaders to become better contributors. It puts forth the need for balance and thoughtfulness in terms of understanding the situation and adapting to it. Agile 2 overcomes the extreme nature of the agile community and allows team members to develop a holistic, more complete understanding of technology and business concepts.

This new and improved methodology has introduced the concepts of shared responsibility, authoritative as well as personal leadership, bringing value without having to communicate excessively,  and encourages team members to develop additional skills.

Sameer Mehta is a blogger and entrepreneur and writes on technology and lifestyle-related topics. He has more than 15 years of experience in technology, consulting, and marketing. He has written for Entrepreneur, West Agile Labs, Exegy Consulting, Jewellerista, etc.

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