What comes after "Agile" - the current management fad/speak

For those of us who have been around the block a few times, the current Agile (SAFe) craze has a “use by” date according to a thin slice of history:


1960s

Kaizen in Japan


1985

US Navy adopts Total Quality Management


1989

UK government adopts PRINCE2


1990s

Business Process Reengineering (BPR) emerged and went gang busters


1995

Six Sigma was popularised by Jack Welch at General Electric


2000s

Six Sigma merged with Lean manufacturing processes

Agile emerged from the software community


2009

Prince2 Refresh 1


2010

Business Process Management (BPM) succeeded BPR


2011

The Scaled agile framework (SAFe) is a set of organization and workflow patterns intended to guide enterprises in scalinglean and agile practices.


According to its authors, SAFe is based upon ten underlying concepts, which are derived from existing lean and agile principles:

  1. Take an economic view

  2. Apply systems thinking

  3. Assume variability; preserve options

  4. Build incrementally with fast integrated learning cycles

  5. Base milestones on objective evaluation of working systems

  6. Visualize and limit work-in-progress, reduce batch sizes, and manage queue lengths

  7. Apply cadence (timing), synchronize with cross-domain planning

  8. Unlock the intrinsic motivation of knowledge workers

  9. Decentralize decision-making

  10. Organize around value


2017

Prince2 Refresh 2


2021

Version 5 of SAFe released.


2025 ?

My money in on at least one more Prince2 refresh and a couple more versions of SAFe.


Where to from here?

The dominant cycles were Prince2 in the early noughties, then Six Sigma for 10 years and now it's all about Agile.


Generation Xers will have thrived (survived) through all of these knowing the world turns and the cynics smirk that history just repeats itself.


For 2025, I am wondering about this new concept called Dialogic Change (DC).


Dialogic change (use of dialogue) is thinking of organisations as networks of meaning-making, always in a process of becoming.


DC is useful for solving adaptive challenges and those wicked problems.


Gervase Bushe (professor at the Beedie School of Business) has numerous research papers, books and videos of dialogic change.



For those of us who have been around for a while we can speculate if dialogic change catch on.


Who knows? It is certain Agile will eventually be over-taken, or be replaced, or maybe re-emerge as SAFe-plus or extra-SAFe.


Lol. But, I wish it was funny. It could come true.