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Agile methods - but please implement them consistently!

Agile methods - but please implement them consistently! 02.12.2019 - On the platform Personalwirtschaft.de, Ute Wolter reflects on the topic of digitization and how agile methods are used and implemented. In the following we summarize her article for you. Mrs. Wolters opinion is, that the conversion takes place still not consistently enough. First she states that about 90% of all large enterprises in Germany already use agile methods. Year after year, German companies invest more money in new digital technology and buy the corresponding software. Especially companies that develop digital solutions have been using the technologies of Scrum or Kanban for many years. Ute Wolter points out, however, that current studies prove that these companies, which deal with agile methods and use them, are still miles away from an actual agile organization. What is it about agile organizational structures and why is Germany still so little developed here?

Dissemination of agile methods in large German companies

Agile methods are no longer a foreign concept in large German companies. 92% of large corporations and companies use models such as Scrum or DevOps. Companies use agile methods especially where the proportion of software is high, where the relationship to the customer is direct and the developers are in direct contact with the user. This happens primarily in areas such as the development of apps and web portals or the creation of e-shops and all conceivable other solutions in the area of the Internet of Things. In these industries even 96% of all companies use agile techniques, predominantly.  Companies dealing with the adaptation of software frontends, so-called UX, use agile methods at least 88% of the time. The digitization of the interfaces to the customer takes place 76% in an agile way, while for example in the area of program management only 27% of the companies proceed agilely.  Ute Wolter has taken these figures and examples from the study "Scalable Agility - From agile to digital transformation". This was carried out by Lünendonk in cooperation with BridgingIT. Within the scope of the study, CIOs and managers from a total of 26 major German corporations answered questions.
Optimization through collaboration of agile teams

The study has shown that agile project management can be of enormous importance, especially in the areas of program management and project portfolio management. In these two areas, different teams and several projects are managed at once. Surprisingly, however, only about a quarter of companies have switched to agile methods in these areas. Wherever mediation and planning takes place between several agile teams, it is strongly recommended to use agile methods. Through agile management, the cooperation of several Scrum teams should be coordinated in such a way that the work is goal-oriented, duplication of work is avoided and each member of a team can keep an eye on the overall success of a project. These goals are subject to the main goal of increasing product quality. Also the faster customer orientation and the clear goal orientation are pursued. However, all these successes are only gradually being achieved. Ute Wolter points out that 67% of all companies now pursue change management. Corporate culture and communication are being adapted in such a way that they form the optimal breeding ground for agile methods. In the meantime, companies have also recognized something in training: 58% of all large companies use agile methods in their training and qualification measures.

Frameworks for collaboration missing

The correct implementation and use of agile models is still a problem for many companies. According to Ute Wolter, four fifths of this is due to the lack of suitable frameworks and personnel who could work with them. Frameworks need to be developed and applied to handle complex projects across departments. More and more Scrum teams are being deployed in the individual projects. Lünendonk's study clearly shows that many teams need new methods to work together in this way. The teams have to be scaled up, but so far only very few companies have been able to do this. After all, scaling frameworks such as LeSS, Scrum@Scale and SAFe are already in use. Many companies see that their Srcum teams are becoming more numerous and want to respond with frameworks. However, most have not yet taken this step.

New approaches to project management through more software

The pressure on companies to adapt their processes to the organisation and corporate culture is growing. This is shown by the study. As the proportion of software in the various products and services increases, the planning and implementation of projects changes significantly. The development times are getting shorter and shorter, so that classical methods hardly have a chance to reach the goal at all. In addition, classical methods are simply not tailored to work with several teams. Mario Zillmann, the author of the study at Lünendonk, emphasizes that it is essential to shorten the development and roll-out of projects considerably. Daily meetings and sprints have become an integral part of the everyday lives of product developers. Zillmann advises all companies to hurry. Changing corporate culture and implementing agile methods must not take too long. The complexity of projects is constantly increasing due to digitization. This phenomenon is most evident in software development.

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