Agile is a common household name as the methodology became more deeply rooted in software development this year than ever before. Virtually all companies used the word to describe their products, from testing to requirements management and ALM as a whole. Aside from tools becoming agile or making a software development team more agile, organizations seemed to grapple this year with how best to implement the methodology to ensure success.

Throughout the year, many experts and agile practitioners weighed in on the best ways to be agile, but what it really came down to is this: There isn’t one. It’s really about what works best for the organization as a whole. And maybe now that agile has been around for some time, people are more lax with its implementations, but it’s a rare day when anyone says they follow Scrum or XP by the book. It’s more of an “a little of this, a little of that” approach.

This year also showed an uptake in the integration of lean concepts into agile methodologies. Typically used in manufacturing, lean concepts, such as eliminating waste and single-piece workflows, have made their way into software development shops.

Aside from lean’s emphasis on reducing waste, it also addresses the idea of “What is the value in what I am doing?” which is something agile did not, some experts said.

But however much agile or lean an organization may use, the implementation and integration of the two seems inevitable. Some have already defined this forthcoming combination of agile and lean, while others are still searching for the right terminology. Perhaps 2011 will render a clearer idea.