Are Agile projets Agile really more efficient than Waterfall projects? (Chaos 2015 report du Standish Group)

In phase of agilisation, the real efficiency of Agile, the transition to Agile is not natural for organizations and there are many brakes. So in these debates — sometimes passionate, being able to rely on figures from verified and renowned sources can be very useful and productive.

Standish Group conducts an annual study on this topic, the Chaos 2016 Report. Let’s keep facts from this study.

Fact # 1 — The smaller the projects, the better the probability of success.

Fact # 2 — Agile projects do better than Waterfall.

Fact # 3 — The failure of projects increases with their complexity.

Well, Agile uses what is called the “fail fast”, that is to say, seeks to fail early to start faster. The table below illustrates that by indicating the index of complexity (number from 100 to 1000), the risk of failure (green, yellow and red color), the level of complexity and the size of the project.

Fact # 4 — The first factor of success of a project is the emotional involvement of a leader as well as the accompaniment in the accomplishment of the project.

Fact # 5 — The main success factors are the soft skills, the skills of the team members and the involvement of the user.

The table below indicates the main factors of success of a project:

  • “soft skills” (“emotional maturity”): that is the management of expectations, the construction of consensus, the collaboration;
  • the skills of the members of the team: the investment on time is sacrificed in favor of the search for speed;
  • the involvement of the user: it mainly allows to put in place a feedback loop, which allows once again to be wrong early and correct early.

On the contrary, one can thus determine a scenario of the worst conditions of setting up of Agile:

  • a very large project size,
  • a lack of emotional involvement of a leader and a lack of support from him,
  • many expectations suffered by the dev team,
  • a reluctance to use consensus to make decisions,
  • a lack of collaboration — for example the existence of silos,
  • the lack of involvement of the user.

Setting up Agile in a team is not a long calm river. So it is better to be well prepared to undertake this path. Knowing the prerequisites and being aware of the brakes is one of these tools.

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Interests in the full lifecycle: design, Agile Coaching, development, testing, DevOps, Cloud, Management 3.0, ITIL. It defines me.

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