UK Agile Awards
Since the early part of the 2000s, there has been a steady rise in use of Agile development methodologies, not only in United States but across the globe. While difficult to account for the rise in adoption of the methodology, a recent Forester 2012 survey indicates that the perceived benefits of Agile are oriented towards improved quality, better opportunity for mid-course corrections and overall improvement of customer satisfaction. The results of the survey are not surprising because Agile clearly approaches development from the perspective of the customer. In fact, one of the four key elements of the Agile Manifesto focuses clearly on the importance of customer collaboration.
The growth of Agile, however, seems to have significantly increased since 2008. The chart below from Indeed.com illustrates the percentage growth of job postings that include Agile as a skill criteria. Notice, that while there was steady growth from 2006 to 2008, the spike in requiring Agile as a necessary job skill in the development arena dramatically increased year over year in growth from 2008 and beyond.
One explanation of this fact could be due in part to the reality that the economic collapse brought to many enterprise IT organizations that suddenly were forced to do more with less. Every day system maintenance, moving functionality to the cloud or continuing development on market differentiating products did not slow with the recession, but the workforce available to address these challenges began to shrink due mostly to cost cutting measures that impacted the workforce. Four years after the global economic collapse, similar trends have been sustained across the world and more importantly, adoption of the methodology has resulted in a culture shift in product development and enterprise IT. The result has been a steady increase in how corporations are embracing agile, not only to drive cost effective, quality development but also to change the very culture of their efforts to adhere to the customer first approach that makes agile work.
The community is the most important element in making agile stick and for helping organizations gain success using the methodology. In 2010, Connections, a recruiting agency in the London England area, identified the absence of proper recognition across the Agile community in the United Kingdom (UK). The need for recognition was, Connections believed, necessary to nurture applications of Agile that were working for companies across the UK, while at the same time, discouraging instances of poorly deployed Agile methods that harmed not only the companies that attempted to apply Agile, but threaten to negatively impact the associated Agile community. The result was the United Kingdom Agile Awards, which was first held in the fall of 2010.
In September, Yoh acquired Connections, due in no small part to the investments that Connections has made to the betterment of the Agile community. The acquisition included the main sponsor opportunity, the UK Agile Awards, and Yoh has committed to investing in the awards but to leverage the advent of the awards to better broadcast the successes that are represented by the winners of the UK Agile Awards.
This week, I have been in London preparing for the awards, which will be held Thursday night The Grand Connaught Rooms in Central London. We are looking forward to the success stories and will be sharing insight, interviews and more from the evening. Agile is more than a methodology, it is a cultural alignment that must be adopted and applied not only from the perspective of technical skills but also from the very approach taken to ensure an ongoing commitment to continuously champion the needs of the customer. The UK Agile Awards will continue to work to identify and recognize those in the United Kingdom who are exemplary of this commitment.