Over the past two decades, research in the area of agile and lean software development has mirrored the strong growth of the use of agile and lean methodologies. However, while these research streams have made a significant contribution in the use of agile and lean methodologies, much of the recent research lacks the rigor and relevance to make an impact in research and practice. For example, many of the studies have not measured the actual use of agile or lean methods nor had a significant theoretical grounding. Furthermore, agile research has not expanded to fully cover emerging opportunities and challenges. A deeper theoretical motivation on agile and lean software development can help demonstrate how the principles of, for example, agile software development, may be transferred to these other areas, and hence, broaden the research’s relevance. This paper provides commentary intended to help push the agile and lean research agenda forward, and outlines three key critieria that future researchers should consider when conducting research on the phenomenon of agile. The paper also provides an example for the use of the criteria, and presents several initial, open research questions that could help increase the use of agile, including the use of agile and lean concepts in other IT and non-IT contexts.