In a recent post by Big Think, they discussed the concept of “Nowism”. The gist of the article was that while some may think that the “key to innovation is the ability to see trends before they develop and think ahead of the change curve”, Joi Ito, the director of the MIT Media Lab, focuses on “Nowism,” which is the focuses on process, not prediction. In Ito’s view, the greatest innovation successes are derived from serendipity, but also through a process that enables serendipity. The example of Nowism cited was if you designed a dating platform, but there are no takers. You have the ability to see this, change course, and then develop your product into a video sharing platform that you sell to Google for $1.6 billion.
This is exactly what agile development methodologies are all about. It’s about the here and now. Requirements, people, deadlines, scope, all changing every day, and adapting to the situation with ‘working software’ that helps you determine if you are meeting the requirements or NOT. You see, the value of ‘working software’ is not to put pressure on yourself to develop intermediate milestones so you don’t wait until the last minute. The value in each sprint (whether it be 2 days or 2 months) is to have something working where you can show it to the stakeholders and get an idea if you are going in the right direction or not. Or, find out that their minds were in the wrong direction as well.
So it is doubtful that there will be any significant agile trends with respect to this basic agile principle of getting feedback early.
Agile is not about prediction. To the contrary, it is about the here and now, adapting on the spot to the given situation and context. So when you see ‘Best practices’ for agile, make sure you examine them carefully to determine where they fit at the given moment in time, depending on your team, product and environment.