Agility includes effective, that is, rapid and adaptive, response to change. This requires effective communication among all of the stakeholders. Stakeholders are those who are going to benefit from the project in some form or another. The key stakeholders of the project include the developers and the users. Leaders of the customer organization, as well as the leaders of the software development organizations, are also among the stakeholders.
“Failing fast” means getting putting applications out in the wild as soon as possible to learn whether they will succeed. This gives you access to early user feedback to quickly weed out ideas and methods that don’t work. Failing fast is a good thing—or, at least, it's preferable to failing slowly and spending too much time, effort and money developing a product that should have been put to rest earlier. Money and time you save by cutting off unsuccessful projects quickly will mean you have more money and time for the successful ones. The concept of failing fast can help businesspeople and stakeholders reduce the riskiness of launching products by letting real users and the marketplace dictate their product choices.
Agile is here to stay. The economic difficulties of the past months have finally put waterfall out of its misery; now more than ever, long requirements phases and vaporous up-front documentation aren’t acceptable. Software must be visible and valuable from the start. For many designers, Agile is already a fact of life (and for those less accustomed, some recommended reading follows at the foot of this article). We are reaching the point where we must either acclimatize or risk being bypassed. The good news is that Agile does allow us to still do the things we hold dear—research, develop a vision, and test and improve our designs—we just need new techniques. Now is the time to get real, and prove design can adapt, if we want to stay relevant in these increasingly unreal times.