Agility is the ability of a company’s information function to make preparations to respond very quickly, as much as possible in real time, to changing capacity requirements and changing functional requirements, and to be able to use the possibilities of information technology in such a way that the company’s technical scope can be expanded or even redesigned (source).

In the course of my research, I have analyzed two studies, which I would like to explain in this article in order to explain the current state of agility.

Study 1: Status Quo Agile Methods

The first study was conducted by Komus (2020). With the help of an online survey, more than 600 professionals were asked about the current use and importance of agile methods. The survey shows that the vast majority of respondents’ projects are currently mixed, i.e. they contain agile and classic elements. According to the participants, the proportion of consistently agile projects is 20%. Furthermore, the majority of the projects focus on software development and IT-related topics (see Figure X). According to the study, almost 90% of the stated consistently agile projects are to be located in the IT sector. Reasons for the use of hybrid approaches are often internal framework conditions or the difficult implementation of agile methods.

According to the participants in the study, the main reasons for using agile methods are:

  • Optimization of product development speed (56%),
  • Optimization of product development quality (39%),
  • Risk reduction (38%) And
  • Optimization of employee satisfaction (35%).
Current use of agile methods in various areas (own figure according to Komus 2020)

In the study, 85% of participants reported that the continuous or partial use of agile methods has improved in a certain form. Only 15% saw no change. At the same time, 70% of the respondents confirmed that the effort was significantly higher than expected. The main agile methods used are:

  • Scrum (55%),
  • Kanban (25%),
  • DevOps (20%) And
  • Design Thinking (15%).

As mentioned, agile methods are increasingly being used with traditional approaches. According to the participants, the most important elements adopted by the agile methods are:

  • Spring Planning (82%),
  • Daily Scrum (82%),
  • User Stories (80%),
  • Product Backlogs (80%),
  • Sprint Review (78%),
  • Sprint Retrospective (77%),
  • Kanban Boards (77%).

A final essential point is frameworks designed to scale agility by combining methods in the enterprise. More than two-thirds of respondents reject these frameworks. The reasons for this are that the focus is currently on establishment at the team level or there is insufficient knowledge to apply the framework in the company. The main frameworks of the other participants are:

  • Scaled Agile Framework (54%),
  • In-house development (35%),
  • Large Scaled Agile (23%),
  • Spotify model (16%),
  • Nexus (15%).

Study 2: Perceived Agility

Together with the University of St. Gallen, the consulting company Campana and Schott conducted interviews with more than 500 executives on the topic of agility across all industries in 2019. The focus should be on the management’s assessment of the agility of the company.

Assessment of the increase in agility by the respondents to the survey (own figure according to Campana and Schott 2019)

According to the figure, almost three-thirds of participants noted an increase in the agility of the company. The increases relate to the following areas:

  • Speed of task completion (90%),
  • Employee satisfaction (81%),
  • Business performance (79%) And
  • Team orientation (74%).

Conclusion

In conclusion, agile methods have become an important part of companies and have shown significant improvements in some areas. In particular, it became clear that the key to success is not the application of the entire method, but of individual agile best practices. The following applies: Constructive agility in parts of the company increases perceived agility.

Sources

Campana-Schott. (2019). Future Organization Report 2019. Retrieved May 20, 2020, from https://www.campana-schott.com/de/de/unternehmen/media-events/studien/future-organization-report

Komus, A. (2020). Results report: Status Quo Scaled Agile 2019/20. Retrieved May 20, 2020, from https://www.process-and-project.net/studien/studienunterseiten/status-quo-scaled-agile-2020/

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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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