Is Agile taking over? One thing is for sure, the Agile Methodology is accomplishing what it set out to do. You can Google what Agile is meant to accomplish and get the coach speak answers or you can continue reading and figure where the rubber meets the road. Agile methodology is a method to get the most important tasks completed better. It is really that simple. You hear it used mainly for software, but apply the methodology at the local church, when it is time to send the shoe boxes of supplies to soldiers or the less fortunate, and you will find that it works markedly well there too.
Back in the day most Software projects (and by most I mean 80%) had an inspiring inception, enthusiastic kick-off, and methodical planning and requirements phase only to lead to complete failure. These teams were not made of dummies either. They were smart people with PhD's and decades of software development experience. But the projects kept failing and in this failure came new solutions.
Either imminent failure was realized and the project was abandoned, or it wasn't. For the one's that were not abandoned something new happened. This was the beginning of Agile. A higher ranking PM came swooping in to save the day. The weekly status meeting was abandoned (though rarely taken off the calendar) for a daily meeting. Which meant that everyone was in trouble and they had to say every day what they had done in the last 24 hours. Typically the new status was presented in ETC's, or Estimate Time to Complete. But this was degrading, because everyone was smart, and it was not anyone's specific fault that the project wasn't on schedule. Even the most articulate, influential, personable, and amazing managers that "swooped in" could rarely gloss over the fact that everyone was in trouble.
Agile basically starts everyone off in trouble. From day one, no matter what happens, the team meets every day. This way no one ever feels like they are in trouble. Do you remember the last time ordered a pizza and worked around the clock in a conference room to brainstorm or get tasks done? Agile is a little like that too. It is an open area with little or no privacy and collaboration truly thrives.
Why did 80% percent of the projects fail? For the same reason Agile is taking over and there are hundreds of reasons. One of them is that Agile allows us to do is react to changes in the market in the middle of development. It allows constant re-assessment based on business priority. It is scope creep on tap. But that is OK, because along with the business being able to change what they want on a whim, they have an emulsified collection of features that are prioritized based on value. By adding more in, something must come out. What is the point of getting a big software out the door if the market expected customer experienced has changed by the time you get there? By the time of deployment there would are a dozen more social plugins, apps, plugins, wearable tech (smart watches) that need to consideration, just to be at the industry standard. With Agile you don’t deploy dinosaurs. You deploy what brings you the most value first.
Most projects have what are considered waste. These are features that don't bring value. Either they are antiquated by deployment or just small fruit way up on top of the tree. Now you can respond to low-hanging fruit as they appear. Typically, (and a little ironic) only 80% of what we set out to do in projects really needed to be done. We can constantly cull away the 20% of waste. That by itself is a breath of fresh air to any project.
The Agile Methodology strives for one core achievement; to get as much Business Value from a team as humanly possible. That is it. Not to make things more efficient, because you can efficiently do the wrong things. What good is it to efficiently change the tires in pit row 20 times a race, when you only needed to change them three? What good is a status for a cinder block racing the ocean's floor? It's gone, there is nothing down there, get over it. While waterfall is not exactly sinking like a rock in the ocean, Agile Methodology is quickly becoming the life jacket of choice.
Read more about the Agile Methodology here: Business Value, Release Planning meeting, Sprint Planning meeting, Daily SCRUM Stand up, Retrospective, User Stories, Story and KANBAN boards