Agile not Doing it for You? Here’s Why - PM 360 Consulting
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Agile not Doing it for You? Here’s Why

Agile not Doing it for You? Here’s Why


So some time in the past you switched to using Agile. And after the initial teething problems, presumably you felt it started to make a difference?

It appears you’re right; the figures would appear to bear this out. According to the most recent Standish Group Chaos Study from 2020 [chart above] and Agile projects succeed where traditional projects fail.

In fact, the study shows that Agile Projects are 3 times more likely to succeed than Waterfall projects. And Waterfall projects are twice more likely to fail.

Interesting stuff.

Now, looking at the table above, you’re probably wondering what ‘CHALLENGED’ means. In the Standish definition it means that ‘the project is completed and operational but over-budget, over the time estimate, and offers fewer features and functions than originally specified’.

My definition of that would be a lot simpler – the project ‘didn’t succeed’.

When I saw these figures, I was staggered. But not by the 42% versus 13% figure. If that’s what the figures say then fair enough.

But it’s that other figure – that even when you use Agile, 58% (47% + 11%) of projects – nearly 60% – still don’t succeed.

Imagine I tried to sell you something – a car, a TV, a phone – and told you it would work 4 times out of every 10!

So why is this? Why is it that, even with the supposed wonder drug of Agile, we can still only achieve a hit rate of 4 in every 10.

The answer is that Agile is not the answer.

At least not by itself.

For successful projects you need to apply the principles of project management.

And these are immutable whether you’re using Agile, Waterfall, PRINCE2 or whatever you’re having yourself.

Study these principles, become familiar with them, apply them and then you’ll unlock the full value of Agile.


Article written by Fergus O Connell December 1 2021