The following guest post is written by Greg Geracie, President of Actuation Consulting. Actuation Consulting is a leading provider of training and consulting for product managers and product teams. This post is tied to another post that Greg has done entitled; Product Development Methodology Statistics.
Agile methodologies have become a component of everyday conversation in the product development world. While widely adopted, confusion remains about what Agile really means and how to best utilize these methodologies. In fact, a recent study by the analyst group Voke indicates that half of the organizations that they surveyed did not have a consistent definition of what Agile actually means!
To be honest, this should not come as a surprise. While Agile has been around for quite some time organizations are still in the process of determining how to ideally utilize these powerful methodologies. While Agile has successfully planted itself into most organizations, there is more to this than meets the eye.
Actuation Consulting recently conducted a global survey of product team performance. The central result of the study was that we discovered five factors that, if effectively implemented, provide product teams a 67% chance of becoming high performing.
However, contained deeper within the study findings was another powerful set of facts related to the current use of different product development methodologies.
Survey respondents stated that approximately 13% of organizations were using “pure” Agile methodologies. “Pure” meaning that iterative incremental techniques were not being mixed with other methodologies. Surprisingly, 18% of organizations said they were “pure” Waterfall. More than you might have expected! Contrary to popular belief Waterfall is still alive and well.
At this point you might ask two questions. 1) How can Agile be so small a percentage? And 2) if Agile and Waterfall combined make up 31% – what method makes up the rest?
Good questions. Let’s take number two first.
The answer is “blended” methodologies. 53% of organizations state that they’re combining Agile and Waterfall together to address organizational challenges. They’re doing this in a variety of ways based upon the needs of the organization. Some are using Agile for new product development since it’s an effective way of hedging investment risk. Others are using Agile for “high value” product development projects. The variations are quite extensive.
So perhaps the best way to think about Agile’s reach is to combine the blended and “pure” Agile numbers together. Calculated this way 71% of organizations are using Agile to some degree – almost three-quarters.
As you might expect, pure Agile is skewed heavily toward earlier stage organizations. Pure Waterfall organizations tend to be larger in size and scale. However, the blended approach is consistent across all sizes!
There truly is more to Agile adoption than meets the eye!
Actuation Consulting and Planbox will be doing a webinar on this data and other relevant findings from the study, planned for the latter part of September. Stay tuned for dates and times.GregGeracie