You have probably heard of agility in your company and tried out one or the other agile method. There are also numerous articles on agility, which discuss a variety of topics from methods to mindset. Companies have been introducing agile methods for almost 10 years now. But what about agility and how agile are companies really? In the following, I will show two studies which, in combination, show the current state of agility very well. The central questions are:

  • How widespread are agile methods in companies?
  • Do agile methods really make companies more agile?

Study 1: Status Quo Agile

In the first study that I selected Prof. Komus with the GPM Over 700 project managers surveyed in 2017. The aim was to record agile methods in German companies. The most important results in a nutshell are:

  • 70 percent of agile methods are used almost exclusively in software development and are increasing increasingly in IT-related areas.
  • Scrum is the most widely used agile method next to Kanban and DevOps.
  • The strengths of agile methods lie in the quality of results, customer satisfaction and the evaluation of progress.
  • Quality and risk minimization Reasons for using agile methods
  • Agile methods are often only used selectively or agile elements are used in classic project management.

In the following I would like to take a closer look at two special graphs. On the one hand, there is a graph with the evaluation of the importance of the agile methods. It shows that the agile methods Scrum, Kanban, DevOps and Design Thinking are spreading and being used more and more. In conclusion, one can say that agile methods have developed into an important part of companies.

Dissemination of agile methods source Prof. Komus

The study also shows that only 20 percent of projects are consistently agile and 12 percent are consistently agile. So there are mixed forms. Prof. Komus has therefore raised the spread of agile elements that are mixed in with the classic projects. In conclusion, dailies, sprint planning, backlogs and user stories can now be found very often in classic and agile projects.

Use of the agile elements source Prof. Komus

Finally, one can deduce from the study that agile methods are widespread and are actually already part of companies. What remains open to me now is how the use of agile methods is. Are these companies really making them more agile? Maybe the next study that I have selected can tell us more.

By the way : The study is carried out anew every 2 years and the survey is currently running until November. Please take part! To the survey!

Study 2: Future Organization Report

Study 2 was carried out by the University of St. Gallen as well as Campana and Schott carried out. Over 500 managers and employees were asked about the effects of using agile methods. The main results are:

  • Agile methods increase the motivation of employees and enable better prioritization of tasks.
  • This increases the speed and efficiency in decision-making and implementation
  • Agility requires lifelong learning and collaboration
  • It is important that cooperation, communication and decision-making take place on an equal footing, regardless of the respective hierarchical role.
  • Managers in agile companies already give up a lot of responsibility and create freedom.
  • Only around a quarter of those questioned attested that their own company had a high to very high degree of agility.
  • The executives of the study believe that agility is not yet completely anchored in the minds of employees.

Again, I would like to go into two special graphs in more detail. The first graph is the assessment of your own agility. The respondents were asked to assess their own and personal agility. The results of the executives are surprisingly high, as executives have always had a lot of freedom. The results of the employees surveyed are exciting. According to the assessment, this is quite good. On a personal level, employees either perceive no or a little more agility.

Has your personal agility increased since using agile methods? – Source:

Let’s look at the company as a whole. In the second graph, the employees should rate the overall agility of the company. Since the individual agility is slightly above neutral according to their own perception, the overall agility of the company seems to be even more neutral than the personal agility that the employees perceive. Perception, both on a personal and company-wide level, shows only a small improvement.

Has the agility of your company increased since using agile methods? – Source:

The results of the survey allow the assumption that the agility of the company has increased very little and that employees feel this more on a personal level. It is now up to managers and scientists to find out more reasons.

Conclusion and discussion

Agile methods are very widespread and are becoming increasingly popular. Even if the work is not consistently agile, agile elements are actually used almost everywhere. Unfortunately, the conclusion also shows that the current agility efforts are more likely to be geared towards local optimization and are only of little use. So there is still a lot to do for management and science to anchor agility in the minds and DNA of companies through example and role model function.

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I blog about the influence of digitalization on our working world. For this purpose, I provide content from science in a practical way and show helpful tips from my everyday professional life. I am an executive in an SME and I wrote my doctoral thesis at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg at the Chair of IT Management.

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