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Does Agile work? — A quantitative analysis of agile project success

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Abstract

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.
... Agile paradigms, on the other hand, are characterised by proceeding iteratively and incrementally. The main emphasis is put on change because it is considered as a core part of the agile principle that adds value (Conboy, 2009;Serrador and Pinto, 2015). Other key points are customer collaboration, frequent delivery as well as maintaining a light and fast development cycle (Albers, Heimicke, Müller, et al., 2019a;Standish Group, 1994). ...
... Other key points are customer collaboration, frequent delivery as well as maintaining a light and fast development cycle (Albers, Heimicke, Müller, et al., 2019a;Standish Group, 1994). In order to enable flexibility and responsiveness to change, light documentation is important, and design features are locked as late as possible (Serrador and Pinto, 2015). The conditions in which agile approaches are most applicable are situations when the problem that needs to be solved is complex, when the solution is unknown at the outset, when it is highly probable that product requirements are going to change throughout the development process or when a close collaboration with end users can be realised (Rigby et al., 2016). ...
... The conditions in which agile approaches are most applicable are situations when the problem that needs to be solved is complex, when the solution is unknown at the outset, when it is highly probable that product requirements are going to change throughout the development process or when a close collaboration with end users can be realised (Rigby et al., 2016). Prominent approaches that correspond with the agile management paradigm are Scrum (Schwaber and Beedle, 2001), XP (Beck., 2000) and SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework) (Leffingwell, 2011). Hybrid approaches promise to entail the advantages of both of the previously mentioned paradigms (Cooper and Sommer, 2018). ...
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As the complexity of products and their development processes increases, a trend emerged where companies try to manage the complexity through implementing agile practices on all or on some levels of the development process. It is not yet clear if an agile approach is the solution or under which circumstances it can be most effective in the development of physical products. This paper aims to compile the information from existing empirical and meta-studies to give an overview of the strengths and weaknesses of conventional, agile and hybrid paradigms.
... We asked participants about the overall success level, since the criteria to evaluate project success are specific to each project in particular (Varajão et al., 2022). Additionally, we focused on the project's efficiency (meeting cost, time, and scope goals) (Serrador and Pinto, 2015). Participants were asked to indicate the characteristics, the level of success achieved, and the level of compliance with the scope, time, and cost regarding the last three to five completed projects in which they had been involved. ...
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Purpose: Few studies in the literature address the success of enterprise Information Systems (IS) projects, namely focusing on how success is influenced by project management practices. This research studied the impact of ISO 21500/PMBOK processes on the success of IS projects, aiming to contribute to a better understanding of management practices importance in the context of this type of projects. Design/methodology/approach: An international survey was used to collect data, which was analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics. Findings: The results show higher levels of success than usually reported in the literature. Furthermore, this research shows that overall success is strongly influenced by ISO/PMBOK project management processes, thus reinforcing the relevance of competent project management to improve the results of IS projects. Originality: Focusing on the specific case of IS projects, this study shows that higher levels of success are achieved by organizations with higher project management maturity.
... Agile methods (e.g. Scrum [5], Kanban [6], or Extreme Programming (XP) [7]) reduce the time taken to develop a product available in the market [8]. The iterative approach to developing software minimizes the risk of developing software that is not in line with what is needed in the market [9]. ...
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Context Software development companies use Agile methods to develop their products or services efficiently and in a goal-oriented way. But this alone is not enough to satisfy user demands today. It is much more important nowadays that a product or service should offer a great user experience—the user wants to have some positive user experience while interacting with the product or service. Objective An essential requirement is the integration of user experience methods in Agile software development. Based on this, the development of positive user experience must be managed. We understand management in general as a combination of a goal, a strategy, and resources. When applied to UX, user experience management consists of a UX goal, a UX strategy, and UX resources. Method We have conducted a systematic literature review (SLR) to analyse suitable approaches for managing user experience in the context of Agile software development. Results We have identified 49 relevant studies in this regard. After analysing the studies in detail, we have identified different primary approaches that can be deemed suitable for UX management. Additionally, we have identified several UX methods that are used in combination with the primary approaches. Conclusions However, we could not identify any approaches that directly address UX management. There is also no general definition or common understanding of UX management. To successfully implement UX management, it is important to know what UX management actually is and how to measure or determine successful UX management.
... Flexibility is the major benefit of hybrid project management methodology and this is the major challenge of traditional project management methodology (Serrador and Pinto, 2015). For construction projects in a Nigerian environment, it is evident that there is need to have some level of flexibility given the numerous uncertainties that are likely to occur. ...
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