Project Management Institute

How Agile are Companies in Germany?

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Contents

Foreword

Executive summary

1. What is Agile to you?

Meaning Agile

Reasoning Agile

Applying Agile

Measuring Agile

2. Level and scope of Agile adoption

Adopting Agile

Mapping Agile

Implementing Agile

3. Benefits and challenges of adopting Agile

Benefitting from Agile

Supporting Agile

Challenged by Agile

4. Agile practices and tools

5. If we could restart

6. Key words for Agile

7. Survey methodology

8. Respondent’s Statistics

About us

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Foreword

The PMI Köln Chapter e.V. proudly presents the results of the survey “How agile are companies in Germany?”. The aim of this survey is to explore success and failure factors when implementing Agile with all its promises in the real world.

Until recently, Agile was considered as a set of principles and practices relevant only to software development projects. However, Agile is now spreading to all parts and types of organisations, turning into a booming field of various frameworks and methods. While everyone refers to the Agile Manifesto [1], [2], “Agile” is perceived and, thus, implemented differently. Hence, an alignment on the almost philosophical question “What is ‘Agile’ to you?” contributes to the common ground and “common language” for adoption. Understanding how Agile we are, in turn, provides transparency and is the means for consistent adoption.

The distinctive feature of our survey is the recognition the adoption of Agile will vary depending on an organisation’s form. In some ways, the Agile transformation of a company will differ from a department’s transformation. Applying an agile approach in a project, which is by definition a temporary organisation, will require yet another approach. For this reason, we strived to scrutinize Agility for different organisational types.

We hope you will benefit from the results of this survey, gaining a deeper understanding under which conditions the procedures described in the agile methodologies are most likely to succeed and produce benefits as promised.

You are cordially invited to contact the PMI Köln Chapter e.V. directly if you want to know how it can support companies and individuals or if you are interested in cooperating with us.

For more information visit: www.pmicc.de

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Dr.-Ing. Olha Mikhieieva
Vice President for Agility of the PMI Köln Chapter

email: olha.mikhieieva@gmail.com

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Klaus Stephan
President of the PMI Köln Chapter

email: klaus.stephan@isapm.org

Executive summary

This survey represents the results of 109 responses submitted for different organisational types (company, department, or project), operating in Germany.

Top findings:

1. Reducing time-to-market and improving customer satisfaction are the top reasons for adopting Agile, whereas the top outcome is improved collaboration across departments and teams. Thus, the reasons for Agile adoption differ from its direct outcomes.

2. Improved time-to-market and improved customer satisfaction are the two most used metrics of success and benefits along with improved transparency and communication.

3. Almost one third of the respondents have implemented Agile in selected projects and another third stated that it is applied in software development projects. Most of the respondents are currently at the early stages of Agile adoption.

4. Less than half of Agile roadmaps cover corporate culture, although 82% of the respondents understand Agile as a mindset.

5. Agile coaching is reported to be the most beneficial tool for Agile adoption.

6. The three most mentioned key words relating to Agile are “flexibility”, “self-organised teams”, and “iterative”.

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1. What is Agile to you?

Meaning Agile

Coming from rather different industries and organisational units, most survey participants (82%) perceive Agile as a mindset and a set of principles and values. 53% shared the opinion that Agile is a framework and/or methodology. 40% consider Agile as a project management approach.

What does Agile mean to you?

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*Respondents could select at most 3 answers

Our analysis across organisational department and projects levels showed the following trends. While at all levels, respondents voted for a mindset and frameworks as the two top meanings, at department level, “customer-centric approach” was chosen as frequently as “framework and/or methodology”. At organisational level, the least favoured interpretation was “innovation approach”, same as at department level. At the project level, the respondents voted least of all for “lever for organisational transformation”.

What does Agile mean across organisational forms?

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*Respondents could select at most 3 answers

Reasoning Agile

Reducing time-to-market and improving customer satisfaction were stated as top reasons for adopting Agile by more than 57% of respondents, followed by improving quality (at 50%).

Reasons for adopting Agile

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*Respondents could select multiple selections

The results suggest that the reasons for adopting Agile at project level are similar to those for following the methodology at department level or to transform an entire organisation. The survey reports the same top three reasons at all levels mentioned. At department level, two additional reasons – “increase project success rate” and “improve productivity” – got the same ranking as “improve quality”.

Some deviations can be highlighted when comparing the most and the least important reasons for adoption only. At organisational level, the main reason for adoption is improving customer satisfaction (at 70%). At department level, reducing time-to-market is the main reason for adoption (at 73%), as it is at project level (at 58%). The reason ranked lowest at the organisational level was an improvement of employee satisfaction; at department level – digital transformation leverage; and at project level – an improvement of employee satisfaction, once again.

Reasons for adopting Agile across organisational forms

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*Respondents could select multiple selections

Applying Agile

Two thirds of the organisations apply Agile mainly in software development projects. For one third of them, digital projects are the main field of application and for almost a quarter – development of innovative services and products. The latter may be seen as a rather interesting fact, since “innovation approach” was least associated with Agile. One company in six applies Agile in non-software projects, which testifies to its applicability not only to IT projects. Apparently, Agile is expanding into non-software environments and businesses need more insights into how its methods are best applied in non-software projects.

What are your main application areas of Agile?

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*Respondents could select multiple selections
The cross analysis at different levels shows some significant deviations.

At organisational level, selections are distributed most evenly. 45% of respondents apply Agile in software development projects. Proof-of-concept, digital projects and development of innovative services and products rank at approx. 30% each. At department level, software development projects are the main field of application according to two thirds of the respondents. One third of respondents state to manage digital projects and non-software projects with an Agile approach. Moreover, one organisation in four applies Agile to develop innovative services and products.

At project level, Agile is applied mostly in software development projects and widely used in digital projects, whereas other areas are of less interest.

What are your main application areas of Agile across organisational forms?

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*Respondents could select multiple selections

Measuring Agile

Looking at success metrics in Agile, the ability to respond to change stands out. After all, this is one of the meanings of the word “agile”. For example, the Agile Practice Guide® (PMI) [3] mentions metrics such as velocity, cycle time, lead time and approved iterations among others. The results of the survey show that improved time-to-market is used most to measure success and benefits of Agile in Germany’s businesses. The two other metrics mentioned most frequently were improved customer satisfaction and improved transparency and communication. The latter is a strong counterargument to the perception of Agile as being chaotic.

Measures of success and benefits of Agile

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*Respondents could select multiple selections

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2. Level and scope of Agile adoption

Level of Agile adoption

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Almost one third of respondents have implemented Agile in selected projects and another third stated that it was applied in software development projects. Thus, 75% of participants are in the initial phases of adoption. 60% believe that they will have scaled Agile in 2-3 years or be in its more mature phases. For example, 26% believe they will have integrated Agile into the company’s business functions and 13% expect the transformation to be completed by then.

In only 2% of organisations who took the survey, Agile was integrated into the company’s business functions, and another 2% of respondents stated that transformation is completed and the organisation is fully agile. Among these companies we have found both large and small organisations from a number of industries, ranging from banking or insurance and industrial manufacturing to telecommunications and consumer goods.

Looking at the adoption level in 75 large size organisations evaluated in the survey, one in six is in the experimentation phase, whereas one third has implemented Agile in selected projects or teams or applied it in non-software projects.

Level of Agile adoption in large size organisations

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Mapping Agile

It is not surprising that the vast majority of organisations have included agile methods in their roadmaps. Technologies and tools are part of 56% of roadmaps followed by project management, at 53%.

Less than half of agile roadmaps cover corporate culture, although 82% of respondents consider Agile as a mindset (see Chapter 1).

Which of the following is included into your roadmap for implementing Agile?

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*Respondents could select multiple selections

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Implementing Agile

Supporting the findings on the roadmap towards agility, companies who took our survey first implemented collaborative tools (65%). The elements ranked second were visualisation and trainings in agile methodologies (both at 59%). Building cross-functional teams was also implemented by more than a half of respondents (53%). Only 45% make use of agile coaching.

The evolution of the management role ranks at the bottom of the list. However, those respondents who voted for a necessary change of the management role belong to those organisations who are more advanced in their transformation towards a fully agile enterprise. Especially companies that apply agile in non-software projects devoted their attention to changing the classic management style into servant leadership.

Which collaborative tools do you use to support the agile approach?

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*Respondents could select at most 3 answers

Cross-sectional analysis reveals that those companies with the highest level of Agile adoption, meaning where Agile is integrated into the company’s business functions or where transformation is completed, have implemented collaborative tools such as Jira (100%), trainings on agile methodologies (75%), certain visualization tools (75%) and cross-functional teams (75%).

Collaborative tools of the organisations with the highest level of Agile adoption:

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*Respondents could select at most 3 answers

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“Try cross-functional teams first, before sending everyone to a Scrum training.”

3. Benefits and challenges of adopting Agile

This chapter reports on the positive effects of adopting Agile, key facts supporting its implementation and obstacles to harvesting its benefits.

Benefitting from Agile

Positive effects of adopting Agile are one of the key outcomes of this survey. When evaluating those within a company or a project, one also has to keep the initial reasons for adoption in mind, which were notably reduced time-to-market and improved customer satisfaction (see Chapter 1).

Improved collaboration among departments and teams ranked as the top benefit of Agility (57%) followed by improved employee satisfaction (49%). The third place is almost evenly shared by improved customer satisfaction, improved quality, and reduced time-to-market.

What positive effects have you experienced from adopting Agile?

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*Respondents could select multiple selections

Both at the organisational and department level, the second most positive effect was not only improved employee satisfaction but also increased productivity (48% and 42% respectively), which ranks rather low in the overall results. At project level, however, increased productivity was seen as the least positive effect and was selected only by 21% of respondents.

Positive effects from adopting Agile across organisational forms

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*Respondents could select multiple selections

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Supporting Agile

Respondents reported agile coaching to be the most beneficial element for adopting Agile (61%). Training on agile methodologies was ranked second and chosen by 51% of participants. The third place belongs to an agile transformation programme or project, closely followed by collaborative and visualisation tools.

What of the following do you believe supports adoption of Agile?

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*Respondents could select multiple selections

Challenged by Agile

Reporting on challenges in Agile adoption is challenging by itself since numerous options and formulations of terms are used in professional and scientific literature. When inspired for lengthy options, scientific papers with systematic results are helpful for a detailed analysis of challenges. For example [4], where excessive enthusiasm towards agile methods is listed as a challenge among thirty five others. In this survey, however, only ten challenges were suggested for selection. Respondents indicated agile teams in “waterfall” organisational structures to be the main challenge (67%). Lack of agile skills and being rooted in traditional methodologies as well as organisational culture were rated as obstacles by 57% and 56% of participants respectively.

What challenges have you faced during transformation to Agile?

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*Respondents could select multiple selections

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“We are still in a learning phase, so try fast, fail often is nothing to be ashamed of.”

4. Agile practices and tools

Agile means a framework and/or methodology to more than half of respondents of this survey (see Chapter 1). The responses on applied “methodologies” reveal no significant differences to similar surveys.

The results indicate that Scrum (96%) is the most popular agile framework, followed by Kanban (69%) and SAFe (34%). Other frameworks to scale Agile are less popular with 18% of respondents applying Scrum of Scrums and only 5% scaling with LeSS.

Which Agile framework and/or methodology have you applied so far?

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*Respondents could select multiple selections

Most popular collaboration tools

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“I would spend more time to focus on agile culture. This is the most important aspect. Methods follow culture.”

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5. If we could restart…

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In this part, we share the strongest respondents’ voices on what they would do differently if they could restart their agile journey. Some valuable quotations can be found on different pages of this paper. Management engagement, agile mindset, agile training as well as other “pain points” (see diagram above) were mentioned at most by the survey participants.

“Set being agile (mindset, culture, …) before doing agile (setup framework, setup projects, …)”

6. Key words for Agile

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Our respondents provided numerous key words to describe Agile. The most mentioned key words are represented in the diagram above.

7. Survey methodology

A list of 1000 potential respondents related to a project environment was used to serve as the survey’s base of samples. The questionnaire used 23 questions to cover four areas of interest around Agile:

1. What is Agile to you?

2. Level and scope of Agile adoption

3. Benefits and challenges of Agile adoption

4. Agile practices and tools

A total of 109 completed responses were received corresponding to a response rate of 11%. 40 respondents evaluated Agile in a company/organisation, 26 in a department and 43 in a project. A cross-analysis between organisational, department and project levels was mentioned through the evaluation of the survey only when significant deviations were found in the survey’s results.

8. Respondent‘s statistics

The following diagrams represent respondents’ statistics. The responses came from a diverse set of organisational sizes, roles and industries. Most responses came from project managers. 33% of respondents are employed in IT and 29% hold leading (management or team) positions. Most of respondents work at big size companies with a turnover above 500 M€ and a number of employees exceeding 500 FTE. Thus, the results of the survey best represent big companies.

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“Inform external stakeholders more about agile adoption, not just the implementing team.”

About us

About the Project Management Institute Köln Chapter e.V. (PMI Cologne Chapter)

Founded more than 15 years ago, the PMI Köln Chapter e.V. is a free and independent non-profit association of project management professionals whose task is to consult and train companies and members. We hope to contribute to the development of professional project management in particular by formalizing best practices and fostering the exchange of experience. Associated to PMI® and well connected to many other organisations, we actively collaborate with members and friends of project management all over the world. The PMI Cologne Chapter contributes to the exchange of best practices between professionals, students and leaders, supporting individuals and companies when struggling with the real world, seeking innovative solutions for a disruptive world, transforming organisations, teaching methodologies and evaluating insights based on scientific methodologies. You are cordially invited to contact the PMI Köln Chapter e.V. directly if you want to know how it can support companies and individuals or if you are interested in cooperating with us.

Visit us at www.pmicc.de for contact information, to meet your fellows or attend the next free chapter meeting.

About CGI

Founded in 1976, CGI is one of the largest IT and business process services providers in the world, delivering high quality business consulting, systems integration and managed services. CGI combines innovative services and solutions with a disciplined delivery approach that has resulted in an industry-leading track record of delivering 95% of projects on time and within budget. CGI delivers enterprise agile solutions to clients across a wide range of industries with a special focus on banking, government and telecommunications. Our agile experts, including more than 1,000 scrum masters and state-of-the art global delivery centers located across the globe, support clients in building agile-ready cultures and transitioning to agile enterprise processes. This way, we help our clients drive tangible improvements throughout their software development lifecycles and achieve measurable business outcomes.

Sponsor

We thank the company CGI for sponsoring the design of this white paper.

Authors

Dr.-Ing. Olha Mikhieieva, Anna Chirkova

Contributors

Klaus Stephan, Mirko Blüming, Thorsten Diekmann, Jana Mehl

References

[1] Kent Beck et al., Manifesto for Agile Software Development, https://agilemanifesto.org/ (accessed 2.10.2019)

[2] Scaled Agile, SAFe. Lean-Agile Mindset, https://www.scaledagileframework.com/lean-agile-mindset/ (accessed 2.10.2019)

[3] Project Management Institute (2017). Agile Practice Guide. Newton Square, PA: Project Management Institute.

[4] Dikert, K., Paasivaara, M., & Lassenius, C. (2016). Challenges and success factors for large-scale agile transformations: A systematic literature review. Journal of Systems and Software, 119, 87-108

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All contents of this publication, in particular texts, photographs and graphics, are protected by copyright. Unless expressly stated otherwise, all rights of use lie exclusively with the PMI Köln Chapter e.V. If you wish to use the results, even in extracts, please contact us at www.pmicc.de.

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PMI Köln Chapter e.V.
Lötsch 44
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Tel. 0160 91 92 21 65
www.pmicc.de

CGI is sponsor of the layout and design and assumes no responsibility for the content of this survey.

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