It’s always ironic to write predictions for the future of Agile. The adoption, development and use of agile approaches are by their very nature unpredictable and complex. How Agile will be used and deliver value in the future is ultimately unpredictable. But the Agile world is a big one, and just like any super tanker, it takes time to change course, which gives me the luxury of highlighting the trends that I believe will continue or grow over the next year.
In business, complexity gets bad press. That’s not surprising. It can be cognitively demanding to understand how a system or organization made up of many very different interconnected elements actually works. But the fact that such systems or organizations are difficult to understand doesn’t make them inherently bad. In addition to its more obvious costs, complexity confers critical benefits, especially in dynamic and uncertain environments. In the following pages we draw on our experience and perspectives in business, biology, and physics to offer some reflections on the nature, benefits, and costs of complexity and provide some guidance on managing it in business organizations.