What Is The Value Of Agile In Your Organization?

From: Forrester Analysts Tom Grant and Diego Lo Giudice
To: App dev and delivery practitioners, especially ones with Agile experience
Re: It’s time for us to take another look at the value adoption, and we’re inviting you to join our survey

Starting around 2009, Agile moved into the mainstream of software development methodologies with startling speed. Today, Forrester’s data shows approximately 38% of developers have adopted Agile across a wide range of industries. The demand for Agile is so great that it has broken through many potential barriers, including ones such as compliance. As year-to-year growth of Agile adoption continues, it’s clear that a lot of teams are seeing a lot of value in Agile. But what kind of value? In some of our earlier surveys about Agile, it was clear that velocity was only one of several perceived benefits.

For example, Scrum is far and away the most widely adopted flavor of Agile. Scrum focuses on how teams organize themselves and how they organize their work. For teams that have struggled to make accurate estimates or adapt to changes to the backlog, the attraction of Scrum isn’t just velocity.

The mixing of Scrum with other methodologies is a sign that development teams measure the benefits of Agile across a variety of dimensions. For example, the increasing popularity of Kanban, often as a mechanism for collaborating with people outside the development team, shows how teams are looking at “Agile plus something” as a path to improved combination and that magical experience of “flow” we read about so much recently.

This deeper look into value is the next step in our research about Agile. What do teams want from Agile? How many of these benefits are universal, and which depend a great deal on team size, offshoring, type of project, and other factors?

We plan on using the results to help app dev teams better explain the potential value of Agile to stakeholders outside their team. Executives need to know that “ship code faster” is not the only measure of Agile success. Business users need to understand that they have an active part to play in the success of Agile, measured as delivering more successfully the software they want. As metrics are all the rage these days, organizations need to apply the right ones to identify the real value of Agile.

The three main areas of this survey include the following:

  1. What are the true benefits of Agile — expected and achieved?
  2. How are these benefits connected to the ways in which organizations adopt Agile and the business problems these organizations face?
  3. What specifically does Agile improve to bring about these results.

Thanks again for your contribution. For participating in the survey, we will provide you with a copy of the final results. Many thanks in advance for your participation, and once again, here is the link to the survey.

— Diego and Tom


Agile in Product Engineering

This was a very good survey and much of this applies broadly across industries. That being said, we have a large number of customers that live in the historically hardware centric world of product manufacturing and are struggling with how Agile fits in. Software is becoming the tail that wags the dog in many organizations and so Agile practices for manufacturing organizations is a very hot topic that would be great for Forrester to cover in greater detail. One of my colleagues wrote a recent blog post on Agile and SPL that is an interesting facet of this area (http://ptc-integrity.blogspot.com/2011/10/spl-and-agile.html). Thanks.

Business value of Agile

Good to see this survey, and the focus it has on making the business value of agile visible. I've heard many organization that have realized benefits using agile, though the actual benefits (shorter lead time, higher quality, better internal/external co-operation) differ. It would be great to get more insight in this - looking forward to see the survey results.

The hybrid dimension

The survey is great, but I found it lacking a dimension related to the hybrid nature of IT shops. Clearly IT shops will for an extended period run a mix of project approaches (for instance agile and traditional projects) How is this going to play out? Will IT shops deploy hybrid project management tools or multiple tools to support it? I would have liked to see this dimension surveyed and discussed.