You’ve certainly heard of agility in your company and tried one or two agile methods. There are also numerous articles on agility, which discuss a wide range of topics from methods to mindset. Agile methods have been introduced by companies for almost 10 years now. But what about agility and how agile are companies really? I will show two studies in combination that show the current state of agility very well. The key questions are:

  • How widespread are agile methods in companies?
  • Do the agile methods really make companies more agile?

Study 1: Status Quo Agile

In the first study I selected, Prof. Komus surveyed more than 700 project leaders at GPM 2017. The aim was to capture agile methods in German companies. The main results are brief and concise:

  • Agile methods are used almost only in software development and are increasing in IT-related areas.
  • Scrum is the most used agile methods besides Kanban and DevOps.
  • Strengths of agile methods are results in quality of results, customer satisfaction and evaluation of progress.
  • Quality and risk minimization Reasons for using agile methods
  • Agile methods are often used only on a point-by-point basis or agile elements are used in classic project management.

I would like to go into two specific graphs in more detail below. On the one hand, this is a graph assessing the importance of agile methods. It shows that the agile methods Scrum, Kanban, DevOps and Design Thinking are spreading and are being used more and more. In conclusion, agile methods have become an important part of companies.

Dissemination of agile methods Source Prof. Komus

Furthermore, the study shows that only 20 percent of the projects are consistently agile and 12 percent are consistently agile. So there are mixed forms. Prof. Komus has therefore raised the prevalence of the agile elements, which are mixed with the classical projects. In conclusion, Dailys, Sprint Planning, Backlogs and User Stories are now very often found in classic and agile projects.

Use of agile elements Source Prof. Komus

Finally, one can deduce from the study that agile methods are widespread and are actually already a part of companies. What remains open to me now is what the benefits of agile methods are. Are these companies really more agile? Perhaps the next study I have selected can tell us more.

By the way:The study is re-collected every 2 years and the survey is currently running until November. Take a part! To the survey!

Study 2: Future Organization Report

Study 2 was conducted by the University of St. Gallen as well as Campana and Schott. More than 500 managers and employees were asked about the impact of using agile methods. The main results are:

  • Agile methods increase employee motivation and enable better prioritization of tasks.
  • This increases the speed and efficiency of decision-making and implementation
  • Agility requires lifelong learning and collaboration
  • It is important that cooperation, communication and decision-making take place on an equal footing, regardless of the respective hierarchical role.
  • Managers in agile companies already give up a lot of responsibility and create freedom.
  • Only about a quarter of the respondents attest to a high to very high degree of agility at their own company.
  • The study’s executives believe that agility is not yet fully anchored in employees’ minds.

Again, I would like to go into two special graphs in more detail. The first graph is the evaluation of one’s own agility. Respondents should assess their own and personal agility. The results of the executives are surprisingly high, as an executive has always had a lot of freedom. The results of the employees interviewed are exciting. According to the assessment, this is quite good. On a personal level, employees either do not perceive any or a little more agility.

Has your personal agility increased since using agile methods? – Source:

Let’s look at the company as a whole. In the second graph, employees should evaluate the overall agility of the company. Since individual agility is somewhat more neutral according to one’s own perception, the overall agility of the company seems to be even more neutral than the personal agility that the employees perceive. The perception on both the personal and company-wide level shows only a small improvement.

Has your company’s agility increased since using agile methods? – Source:

The results of the survey suggest that the agility of companies has increased very little and that employees are more likely to feel it on a personal level. It is now up to managers and scientists to find out more.

Conclusion and discussion

Agile methods are very widespread and are becoming increasingly popular. Even if agile work is not consistently done, agile elements are actually used almost everywhere. Unfortunately, the conclusion also shows that the current efforts for agility are more focused on local optimization and bring only a relatively small benefit. So there is still much to be done for management and science by example and role model function to anchor agility also in the minds and DNA of companies.

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I blog about the impact of digitalization on our working environment. For this purpose, I present content from science in a practical way and show helpful tips from my everyday work. I am a manager in an SME myself and I wrote my doctoral thesis at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg at the chair of IT Management.

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