Project Management

Is Agile Now the Primary Delivery Method?

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at andy.jordan@roffensian.com. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

Every year, VersionOne publishes a State of Agile report (this year’s is available here). There are always some very interesting findings in it, but one thing caught my eye this year: the suggestion that agile is now the primary delivery method for projects (18% of respondents to the survey said that all of their teams were now agile, and a further 33% said that more than half of their teams were agile. Perhaps most significantly, only 5% said no teams were agile.)

Those numbers don’t directly translate to the number of projects the businesses represented in the survey carry out, but it certainly suggests that agile is now the primary delivery method for projects. Is that likely to be accurate? And if so, are there any implications? I’m not sure things are quite so clear cut.

We don’t live in a two-approach world
In 2020, I’m not sure we can continue to categorize teams as “agile” or “not agile.” Projects are delivered in so many different ways—and combinations of ways—that trying to distill that work down to a single label is fraught with the risk of considerable inaccuracy. If a team uses agile methods to plan work and handle change requests but is otherwise using a waterfall approach, is that team agile or not? Some would say yes, some would argue no, but the truth doesn’t really matter—we …


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