11 Steps for getting value from agile

Few organizations have been able to realize the full value Agile can offer. The Corporate Executive Board (CEB) has identified 11 critical focus areas to enable organizations to capture higher returns from Agile development.

Agile is a critical tool to delivering new business demands

Nearly 90% of Applications Leaders report that business partners’ speed-to-market expectations continue to increase. At the same time, the project queue is shifting toward collaboration, business intelligence, and other information-intensive projects, which are characterized by shorter timelines and more uncertainty in requirements. The demand for speed and the shift in the project portfolio means that, because of their inflexible nature, stage-gated development approaches are unlikely to result in solutions that meet business objectives or user adoption targets.

Agile development methods promise to handle these demands. An iterative approach to requirements provides the development team flexibility to accommodate changing business priorities and allows target end users to test and innovate on solution design and functionality. Despite these potential advantages, few organizations have been able to realize Agile’s full value. The problem is that many components of a “purist” Agile approach can conflict with existing corporate IT structures and governance models, and organizations can struggle to create an environment where Agile delivers value.

A model for increasing agile maturity

Our previous publication, Roadmap for Agile Success, lays the path for IT organizations to develop the competencies and processes that permit Agile to scale successfully. This roadmap provides comprehensive guidance, distilled from many years’ experience working with Agile at scale, on the attributes where IT organizations need to develop maturity to achieve the greatest business value from Agile.

Following this roadmap, CEB assessed the maturity levels of more than 150 Agile teams to identify the factors that distinguish high-performing Agile teams from those that fail to realize the full potential of iterative development methods. They identified 11 key insights that can enable organizations to capture higher returns from Agile development.

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