The 2018 State of Agile Report has found that accelerating software delivery (75 per cent) is the main reason to adopt Agile. It is closely followed by enhancing the ability to manage changing priorities (64 per cent) and increasing productivity (55 per cent).
While improving project visibility (42 per cent) and team morale (28 per cent) are receiving more recognition, reducing project risk (37 per cent) came in at eighth place. Although the majority respondents are realising the most desirable outcomes of Agile, areas such as risk reduction did not score higher, even though it can be seen as beneficial for Agile transformation.
One change noted in this year’s report is the importance of user satisfaction as a measure of success for Agile initiatives (57 per cent) and projects (46 per cent), putting it ahead of popular criteria such as on-time delivery, quality and business value. This suggests a greater understanding of customers being the most important point in the value chain.
It also highlights the importance of listening to customers and delivering what they really want. Even if a project is delivered on-time, provides value, and is mostly defect-free, the customer will still go somewhere else if it doesn’t completely meet their expectations.
This is particularly true in relation to quality attributes such as performance, reliability, accessibility and other non-functional criteria as described in ISO25010. These are activities that teams are still struggling to move from the end of the development to within the iterations.
Agile is well-positioned to aid with this, since emphasising customer satisfaction is at the core of the Agile Manifesto and related 12 Principles. By referring to those values and principles, organisations can see what they need to do differently and make the necessary changes to bring about a positive customer experience.
The report also highlights the rise of distributed Agile teams, with 79 per cent of respondents using Agile in at least some teams. With many people working from home, while on the road, or at geographically-distributed office locations, it’s no surprise that Agile is used to keep people connected even when they are not in the same room at the same time.
Improvements in collaborative technologies have certainly made distributed Agile teams a more viable option that in the past. Organisations are now seeing success in distributed Agile with individual team members spread out geographically, though the separation of too many time zones continues to pose a challenge.
Ultimately, the success of the distributed Agile team arrangement ultimately rests on whether the team really is an Agile one. If the programming and QA teams are simply located in two different locations, this is not a true distributed Agile team and the same issues inherent of this setup will result.
Agile done right
This year’s State of Agile report has found that the need for customer/user satisfaction is increasing and that distributed teams are becoming common in Agile software development. Another key takeaway was that a growing number of organisations are scaling Agile with the help of internal Agile coaches, consistent practices and processes across teams, and a common tool across teams.
Seasoned Agile users may already be aware of some of these developments and be acting on them, but for those who are new to Agile, it is important to get these good practices from the start. This will ensure you avoid falling into bad habits that can significantly impact project delivery, quality and cost.
Our coaches and experienced professionals can help to support your Agile transformation, bringing proven frameworks, templates and a wide body of agile knowledge that can accelerate your Agile journey. To learn more, visit our Agile training and Agile testing sections.