What is agile?\n\nAgile is a project management methodology that uses short development cycles called \u201csprints\u201d to focus on continuous improvement in the development of a product or service.\n\nAlthough incremental software development methods go as far back as 1957, agile was first discussed in depth in the 1970s by William Royce who published a paper on the development of large software systems. Later in 2001, the Agile Manifesto, a "formal proclamation of four key values and 12 principles to guide an iterative and people-centric approach to software development," was published by 17 software developers. These developers gathered together to discuss lightweight development methods based on their combined experience.\n\nThe principles of agile\n\nThere are 12 key principles that still guide agile project management today.\n\nAgile methodology adoption\n\nAlthough designed originally for the software industry, many industries now use agile when developing products and services because of the highly collaborative and more efficient nature of the methodology. The following table shows adoption rates of the agile methodology in a variety of leading industries, as shown in the 11th Annual State of Agile survey by Version One.\n\nThe benefits of agile\n\nAgile was originally developed for the software industry to streamline and improve the development process in an effort to rapidly identify and adjust for issues and defects. It provides a way for developers and teams to deliver a better product, in a faster manner, through short, iterative, interactive sessions\/sprints. In the era of digital transformation, with many companies migrating to a digital workplace, agile is a perfect fit for organizations looking to transform how they manage projects and operate as a whole. Agile can help ensure company-wide process and methodological alignment. In terms of business benefits, both the digital workplace and agile provide:\n\nAdvantages of agile for project management\n\nIn the project management field, agile provides project teams, sponsors, project leaders and customers many project-specific benefits, including:\n\nThe drawbacks of agile\n\nAs with any other methodology, agile is not well-suited for every project, and sufficient due diligence is always recommended to identify the best methodology for each unique situation. Agile may not work as intended if a customer is not clear on goals, the project manager or team is inexperienced, or if they do not function well under significant pressure. Throughout the development process, agile favors the developers, project teams and customer goals, but not necessarily the end user's experience. Due to its less formal and more flexible processes, agile may not always be easily absorbed within larger more traditional organizations where there are significant amounts of rigidity or flexibility within processes, policies, or teams. It may also face problems being used with customers who similarly have rigid processes or operating methods.\n\nCombining agile with other methodologies\n\nThe opportunity exists to combine agile with other methodologies such as waterfall to create a hybrid solution. Companies sometimes use waterfall to handle one or more phases \u2014 such as planning \u2014 where these do not require rapid or repetitive steps. Planning in particular requires a more comprehensive, methodical, often slower approach to defining, analyzing, and documenting aspects of a project. This makes waterfall a better approach. Once a project enters the development phase, rapid and repetitive changes require a different approach and this is where agile kicks in to deliver the best results in the shortest amount of time.\n\nThis hybrid approach aids in making agile even more adaptable within various industries or to suit the more unique nature of a project, product, or service. Again, due diligence is required to determine the suitability and capacity of the different methods and processes available.\n\nPopular agile methodologies\n\nWithin agile there are some frequently used or popular methods, with Scrum, Kanban, and Lean being the most popular. Some agile methods include:\n\nTo find out which methodology is right for your project or organization, see "Comparing agile project management frameworks."\n\nAgile project management and Scrum\n\nScrum is a powerful framework for implementing agile processes in software development and other projects. This highly adopted framework utilizes short iterations of work, called sprints, and daily meetings, called scrums, to tackle discrete portions of a project in succession until the project as a whole is complete. There are three key roles within Scrum: the Scrum master, product owner, and Scrum team members:\n\nOrganizational hurdles to adopting agile\n\nOrganizations looking to adopt agile for project management my encounter any of a number of common hurdles, such as the following:\n\nFor a deeper look at how to make the shift, see "Agile project management: 16 tips for a smooth switch to agile."\n\nFor insights into how organizations go wrong with agile, see "7 simple ways to fail at agile" and "5 misconceptions CIOs still have about agile."\n\nKey agile skills\n\nThere are six key agile project management skills or attributes that all project managers should have:\n\nAgile project management certification and training\n\nAs agile methodology picks up speed, so does the demand for professionals with agile knowledge and experience. Here are seven agile-focused certifications to provide a benchmark for your knowledge.\n\nFor a more in-depth look at these certs, see \u201c7 agile certifications to take your career to the next level.\u201d\n\nAgile project management software\n\nCompanies using agile are likely to leverage software geared to agile development in order to get the full benefits of this methodology. Here are just some of the agile solutions available:\n\nAgile project management tools, templates and resources\n\nThere are also many templates available from companies like Microsoft that project managers can use rather than re-creating the wheel. Here are just a few among several others available from Microsoft: \n\nAgile project management software vendors also typically have built-in agile templates in their software.\n\nThe future of agile\n\nAs competition is continually increasing and time to market is also shrinking, agile offers numerous benefits and limited drawbacks. As more companies make the shift to a digital workplace that is highly dependent on speed, flexibility and increased productivity, agile or hybrid methodologies will become increasingly necessary. Its application in multiple industries and alignment with the benefits offered by a digital workplace model, indicate that agile adoption rates will continue to increase across industries around the world.