Who uses Agile?

Agile approaches have been successfully used by hundreds of organizations worldwide, most notably in the United States and Europe. Although the list of companies which are currently using Agile approaches covers a range of industry sectors, the vast majority of these organizations have only adopted Agile approaches in their software development activities to date. Therefore, market research related to Agile approaches has been generally undertaken only in this context.

Forrester’s September 2006 survey of technology decision makers27 identified that 17% of North American and European businesses use Agile practices, while another 29% are aware of them. A more recent survey undertaken by VersionOne28 indicates that organizations that use Agile
approaches are achieving increased productivity (80% of respondents), faster time to completion (64% of respondents) and improved ability to manage changes in requirements (90% of respondents).

Over the past five years, a number of prominent IT organizations have actively promoted their use of Agile throughout the industry by publishing case studies and experience reports. Selected examples of these are provided in the following sections:

Gabrielle Benefield has been a highly prominent figure in the Agile arena, having championed the use of Agile practices within Yahoo! since 2005. Ms Benefield, who was the Senior Director of Agile Development at Yahoo!, advises that Yahoo! has “more than 200 teams using Agile development processes to create software for the highly volatile general-public Web application market” where they “can easily get 200 to 300 percent productivity improvements.” Yahoo! is an avid user of the Scrum method of Agile project delivery, including the use of user stories to confirm their customers’ requirements. In Yahoo!’s approach to Agile, “active stakeholder involvement” is getting feedback on proposed features from their millions of customers, and refining their products based on customer input prior to full release. One of the co-founders at Yahoo! said that “Agile has been one of the most positive things to happen to the company.”

Nokia Siemens Networks
Petri Haapio has lead Lean and Agile transformation in some of the world’s largest organizations, including Nokia Siemens Networks. Petri advised that over 40 products at Nokia Siemens Networks have used Agile software development practices with projects undertaken in one- to four-week time-boxed iterations. These products employed a range of Agile practices, including Scrum, continuous integration, testdriven development, pair programming, refactoring and multi-skilled teams. Petri further advised that Nokia Siemens Networks’ primary drivers for moving to Agile practices were:
» to be more responsive to changes in the business environment
» to increase productivity and quality
» to increase customer satisfaction by focusing on the most value added features first
» to establish a culture that is focused on continuous improvement.
In Petri’s work with Nokia Siemens Networks, Agile product development has involved teams with 10 people working in a single location, to teams with 500 people working from multiple locations and across multiple time zones.

Agile practices have become a central part of BT’s transformed ways of working. The move away from traditional waterfall methods in BT Innovate & Design − which designs and develops all BT’s technology − has come as telecommunications networks have become more software driven. Agile became the logical approach to take. At the start, five years ago, a comprehensive training and education regime was put in place. BT developed “The BT Agile Cookbook, an online guide to Agile delivery as applied to BT” which recognized five core Agile practices:
» customer involvement
» user stories
» iterative development
» automated testing
» continuous integration.
In addition, BT instituted a program for pairing Agile coaches within the organization to exponentially increase their training activities, and established learning events such as The Agile Road Show, Agile Program Days and Agile Learning Projects. The five core practices and the Agile approach are now completely embedded in the operating model that BT uses to design and develop its networks, and the products and services it offers to its customers.

Source of Information : IT Governance Publishing-Agile Productivity Unleashed 2010


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