Does Agile work? — A quantitative analysis of agile project success
The Agile project management methodology has been widely used in recent years as a means to counter the dangers of traditional, front-end planning methods that often lead to downstream development pathologies. Although numerous authors have pointed to the advantages of Agile, with its emphasis on individuals and interactions over processes, customer collaboration over contracts and formal negotiations, and responsiveness over rigid planning, there are, to date, very few large-scale, empirical studies to support the contention that Agile methods can improve the likelihood of project success. Developed originally for software development, it is still predominantly an IT phenomenon. But due to its success it has now spread to non-IT projects. Using a data sample of 1002 projects across multiple industries and countries, we tested the effect of Agile use in organizations on two dimensions of project success: efficiency and overall stakeholder satisfaction against organizational goals. We further examined the moderating effects of variables such as perceived quality of the vision/goals of the project, project complexity, and project team experience. Our findings suggest that Agile methods do have a positive impact on both dimensions of project success. Further, the quality of the vision/goals is a marginally significant moderator of this effect. Implications of these findings and directions for future research are discussed.