Half of companies applying Agile methodologies & practices

07 May 2020 Consultancy.eu 5 min. read
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The Agile trend is here to stay. Around half of all organisations have now been applying Agile practices for over three years as a methodology for change and transformation. 

Agile has its roots in the world of software. Following its conception, Agile gained popularity in the domain because, in comparison to the traditional waterfall approach, the approach provides companies with a more flexible, efficient and results-led way of realising their technology developments. Since then, the use of the approach has expanded rapidly to all sectors and most functions within organisations. 

Today, management teams conduct scrum sessions, HR teams work in an agile fashion and project managers use agile practices for the delivery of their milestones and activities. According to a new study by Organize Agile among professionals in 19 countries, nearly half of all organisations have been using the Agile methodology for three years or longer.

How many years is your organisation applying Agile

These companie are mainly using Agile as a methodology for their change programmes – known as agile transformations. These are large organisational changes that embrace agile working in small multidisciplinary teams that focus on delivering results in a fast, experimental and iterative manner. Well-known companies that use Agile include Apple, IBM, Microsoft and Procter & Gamble. 

The benefits of Agile

So what are the benefits of Agile? The top reason cited (83% of respondents) is the ability to improve flexibility amid a rapidly changing environment. Leveraging a quicker way of bringing incremental innovations and new products/services to the market, companies can timely cater to the changing needs of customers, and try to stay ahead of their competition. Sticking to the traditional Waterfall approach in today’s environment often means that organisations are left a step behind of their competition. 

Gidion Peters, a partner at Organize Agile, highlights how Agile is proving its worth in particular in today’s time of crisis. “Agility is now more than ever. The current time of crisis is demonstrating how important it is to be able to adapt quickly.” 

This is true for all facets of an organisation, from strategy and business planning (navigating the storm) to supply chain (stabilising the impact of Covid-19 on deliveries), human resoures (aligning resourcing to current demand) and finance (optimising working capital and cash flow). 

What are the benefits of Agile working

The second reason for adopting Agile builds on the benefits it provides to bottom-line results, a finding in sync with a number of international studies demonstrating that leaders in Agile working rank in the top quartile when it comes to revenue growth and profitability. 

The third top benefit of Agile according to the respondents is that it benefits an organisation’s culture. Empowering employees to take more responsibility through an approach that fosters teamwork and collaboration, Agile increases the job satisfaction of employees. Rolled up to a macro level, this creates a more open and productive culture. 

The most widely-used Agile methodologies

There are nowadays over ten widely used Agile methodologies, and while they all share much of the same overarching philosophy, as well as many of the same characteristics and practices, there are differences in their terminology, practices and operational tactics. 

According to the dataset of Organize Agile, Scrum is by a distance the most popular Agile methodology, with 80% of respondents stating that they use the approach within their Agile transformations. 

Which Agile methodology is being applied

In Scrum, a Product Owner works closely with their team on a Product Backlog, which is a list of things that need be to done to realise the final product such as a working system or a prototype. In short iterations of work, called Sprints, cross-functional teams team up to deliver the activities in the Product Backlog. Once a Sprint has been delivered, the Product Backlog is analysed and reprioritised, if necessary, and the next set of deliverables is selected for the next Sprint. 

Kanban is the second most widely-used Agile methodology. Kanban is a highly visual workflow management method that is popular among Lean teams. Like Scrum, Kanban is a process designed to help teams work together more effectively by providing insight in the delivery and creation of products/services. Also incorporated into Kanban is a strong focus on continual delivery. 

Agile Portfolio Management ranks third. This is a methodology that brings the world of Agile into traditional portfolio and project management. Against the backdrop of disruption in an increasingly digital world, managing a portfolio has become more challenging in the past years. Using Agile, project managers can ensure that they break down their project requirements into smaller chunks, providing more flexibility to adapt to new/changing requests from the business.

Other well-known Agile methodologies include LeSS, SAFe, Lean Software Development, Lean Agile Process and Extreme Programming (XP).