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Are you an Agile Frontrunner or still catching up?

New report - why it’s no longer survival of the fittest, but survival of the most agile.

Just how agile are you? No, I’m not talking about your daily exercise regime, or how quickly you can nip in and out of the morning traffic on your way to work; I’m talking about how easy it is for your business to adapt to changing market conditions and regulations, to respond rapidly to new customer demands, and to transform with disruptive digital technologies. Agile in a business context today means survival.

In our new report Agile at Scale from the Capgemini Research Institute, more than 45 executives in global organizations highlight how they have scaled their agile approach to achieve enterprise-wide agility. The executives surveyed for the report have spent three or more years scaling agile beyond product development and IT to embrace broader change programs, portfolios. We’ve called them the Frontrunners. In response to the question of where Agile delivers greatest value, they cite a focus on what is strategically important as the biggest benefit. The top five areas of value are:

  1. Focus on what is important for business
  2. Deliver better customer value
  3. Faster value delivery/quick releases
  4. Better employee morale
  5. Streamlined work

Yet, as the report points out, few organizations today have scaled to the level that the Agile Frontrunners taking part in the survey have achieved. The report states: “A recent survey of global software development executives found that more than 90% of organizations work with agile to some degree, but fewer than 20% have achieved a high level of competency with agile practices across the organization.”

From culture and mindset (82%) to the slow pace of technology transformation (64%) the barriers to scaling agile are numerous, even for the Frontrunners. For example, from a cultural perspective, the report points to the difference between the agile values of transparency and trust and the traditional command and-control styles of project management.

Agile at Scale explodes several of the common myths associated with Agile and asks what we can learn from the Frontrunners. It makes four recommendations for scaling Agile

  1. Experiment: Start with customer-focused initiatives; scale gradually
  2. Orient: Change culture by changing behaviours and develop T-shaped skills
  3. Govern: Link Agile portfolio planning and operations with business strategy
  4. Accelerate: Modernize IT with DevOps and microservices

Getting it right delivers tangible returns. This is evidenced throughout the report with many examples of successful Agile transformations. This includes Africa’s largest bank—Standard Bank—which realized significant gains by scaling Agile: team productivity increased by 50%, and time to market reduced from 700 days to 30 days. Elsewhere, renowned US-based soup manufacturer Campbell has halved the time to market for new product development by using Agile practices, such as testing iteratively with customers and co-creating with retailers.

How do you make Agile work? Agile at Scale offers examples of leading practices and success factors. It provides invaluable insight into how organizations can move quickly and confidently in scaling Agile.

I will leave the final word to the report, which states: “Lastly, it is worth remembering that agility is not a destination—it’s an ongoing commitment to deliver customer value faster and adapt quickly to changing conditions.”

Download the report here.


Rohit Chandra
Rohit Chandra
Senior Consultant at Sogeti Finland Oy