Go back to blog listing

Forrester: Barriers and Best Practices for Scaling Agile

ScreenShot174.jpgFrom Diego Lo Guidice's Continuous Delivery Conference keynote:

"A number of common challenges prevent Agile from being as successful or scaled as widely as we would like. In Forrester's 2015 State of Agile Development study, both large and small firms cited the following as the top 3 barriers to Agile adoption:

  1. People's behavioral change (59%): From top management down to developers, but it's not as hard to change the behavior of developers. The developers I've talked to all tend to agree that Agile makes sense.

  2. Lack of skilled product owners from the business (49%): Why are you doing Agile if the business is not involved? I don't get it. Business has to be involved. They should be leading these initiatives. Even at the team level, they are the ones that are prioritizing the requirements.

  3. Lack of dedicated cross functional teams (40%): We've created these silos, then we create great process and instead of communicating, we write documents ("Want to know what I did? Go read it.") That's a waste. That's what cross-functional teams actually solve. 

 "Agile Experts" Break Through These Barriers

Not surprisingly, "Agile expert firms"—firms that have successfully scaled Agile practices to more than half of their teams— have determined how to work through common adoption barriers more effectively than "Agile neophytes":

  • People's behavioral change: This is a problem for 78% of Agile neophytes, but only 42% of Agile experts.
  • Lack of product owner commitment or skill from the business: This is a problem for 69% of Agile neophytes, 51% of Agile experts.
  • Lack of Agile skills in the upstream: This is a problem for 58% of Agile neophytes, 24% of Agile experts.
  • Lack of dedicated cross-functional teams: This is a problem for 54% of Agile neophytes, 17% of Agile experts.
  • Lack of Agile executive leadership: This is a problem for 58% of Agile neophytes,17% of Agile experts.
  • Lack of Agile skills in the downstream of DevOps: This is a problem for 53% of Agile neophytes, 22% of Agile experts.

What Agile Best Practices are Actually Applied?

The same survey also asked "What core Agile practices do you apply?" Results for upstream activities (activities that remove the barriers between business and the development teams) were:

  • 86% have short iterations
  • 84% use daily scrum meetings
  • 80% have a product owner
  • 78% gain early and frequent feedback
  • 68% use burn-up/burn-down charts

For downstream activities (activities that remove the barrier between development, test, and operations), results indicated that:

51% of respondents indicated that they perform all of the above upstream best practices; 24% perform all of the downstream best practices. Only 15% perform all the key upstream and downstream best practices."

Stay up to date