5 Important Insights from State of the Agile Report

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This past month, Digital.ai has published its annual 2022 State of Agile Annual Report. And in the report this year, there are quite a lot of surprising changes and trends that are observed and worth being mentioned. If you are an Agile professional or enthusiast, it’s probably something you should know. Here is our list of top 5 Amazing insights from the Report.

1.  Time of Transition and Growth

Agile has been around for over 20 years and it seemed that the growth of Agile has largely leveled off. However, after the pandemic, the industry the report demonstrates that Agile again is growing at a rapid pace. While the general struggles of traditional corporate management and Agile management have remained the same, there is plenty of appetite to start and continue investing in this area.

The fact of the matter is that “the time of transition” is upon us. The remote work is challenging many previous tendencies of team spaces and team compositions. It’s much more common to observe geographically scattered teams and even team members in those teams. Yet even in new remote environment, Agile methodology is still relevant and powerful in terms of its return on investment and results produced.

Agile and Scrum are growing, which is great news. When it comes to the success of Agile, however, there is still no panacea and no magic that makes it work. It still requires lots of commitment, discipline, and trust. And those teams who deem themselves successful with Agile share one common trait – they all rely on great people! So great talent, with proper growth mindset, excellent communication, and leadership culture is what makes or breaks the success and the level of success achieved with Agile.

2.    How Agile Teams are Measured

The report shared an interesting metric. 47% of Agile Teams are measured by On-Time Delivery! Let’s be completely honest here – wow, that’s a lot of companies getting things wrong. The Agile community and Product Management community have long transitioned from chasing Outputs to producing Outcomes!

This is especially surprising given that 44% of Agile Teams are measured by Business Objectives Achieved, which is essentially the outcomes. That means that the value of nearly half of the Agile Teams is not being well understood and realized. Another interesting fact is that 35% of Agile Teams prioritize their work by Time to Deliver. While it’s possible that Time to Deliver could be associated with Business Goal, it’s hard to imagine such a large number of Agile Teams being bound to a strict timeline. 

The report states, “On-time Delivery is a key goal where Agile practices focus on IT and Software development teams, and Business Objectives are closely tied to Digital Transformation.” This is again very surprising considering that Agile started in IT and Software Engineering and one would expect IT and Software teams to be more Aligned with the Business Goals than timelines. 

The report then provides another interesting stat – 19% or 1 in 5 have no idea what is the measurement unit of value and how Business Value is being measured. Perhaps that is why half of the Agile Teams revert to measuring based on something they well comprehend – On Time Delivery!

3.   Agile “Very Satisfaction” is at 20%

Got to love the statistics. Let’s dig deep into an interesting statement shared in the report: “While over 7 in 10 respondents say they are satisfied with the Agile practices in their company, half are somewhat satisfied and one in five very satisfied”.

One can’t stop to wonder why this number is so low. According to the report, 3 in 10 or 30% are not at all satisfied with Agile, which is 10 percent more than the very satisfied group. With the growing number of Agile adoptions, it would be easier to imagine that the very satisfied group would be larger than very dissatisfied. Perhaps that is due to the report covering all work functions, not just IT & Software and those folks are just starting to be exposed to Agile in their workplace.

Perhaps there is a missing link here! Jeff Sutherland, the founder of Scrum makes a strong statement, that to succeed in Agile it’s critical to have the right people! The staff that is ready, willing, and able. Ready and committed to using Agile, willing to learn and do Agile right, and lastly able to perform necessary functions and tasks. Seems like a good reminder to check on the people before launching Agile Transformation initiatives. Do people believe in it and want it?

4.   Wake Up Call to Company Leadership

The report shares interesting insight that is critical for all business leaders.

“40% are dissatisfied with Agile at their organization as statistics show that Agile practices frequently clash with company culture. In fact, company culture is listed as the leading “cause of unsuccessful delivery with Agile”.

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This is a good opportunity to remind everyone of the value of Agile. The value of Agile is not a “kumbaya” moment for the Agile team members. The value of Agile is a proven impact to the business ROI.

Doing Agile right delivers better performing and scalable results – a true business value. So if this value is not realized due to company culture, then it’s time to take notice and invest into the right company culture to get you there.

5.   Common Agile Transformation Frustrations

The report provides some interesting insights into the process and tooling challenges. Of things to note, the top reason those who are not satisfied with Agile are feeling is so due to the various tools and legacy systems they have to continually use in conjunction with the Agile tools. This creates a very frustrating Team Member experience. 

The reason this is interesting is that the premise of the Agile manifesto regarding “Individuals and Interactions over Processes and Tools” is missing something. The report states that tools play a big part in the success of the transformation, especially in larger organizations which have lots of processes that were built out for years. So what’s the solution?

It’s important to realize that every person transitioning to an Agile Team asks one very specific question – “What’s in it for me?” There is a lot of value of Agile for the organization, but what about the personal value? If Agile can deliver tools that make it easier for Team Members to do their jobs in an Agile environment, then satisfaction will be achieved. The next challenge stated in the report is having access to consistent tooling that utilizes that same approach to make things simple, consistent, and scalable across many teams.

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