Agile Success Stories

Dissemination of agile methods

The introduction of agility in companies and teams should not only take place in order to try something new or to participate in a trend. Rather, the motivation should be to create real improvements and to be sustainably successful. The agile methodology, in conjunction with the agile mindset, creates greater customer proximity while increasing effectiveness and development speed.

According to a Bitkom study, the benefits of agility are also very clearly perceived in the corporate world:

“The majority of German companies (65 percent) consider agile projects to be more successful.”

Successful examples of agility

In the IT industry, the agile framework has become so deeply rooted in development that there are hardly any companies left that do not work with it. But there is also a constantly growing number of agile success stories to report from other industries.

In principle, there are two different types of agile success stories:

  • Successful introduction of agility in individual teams
  • Success across the organization by scaling agility to the entire organization/organizational unit (Scaled Agile Framework)

Agility in team

There are many examples of the successful introduction of agility in individual teams from different industries and size classes:

  • Löffler (Furniture manufacturer – SME)
  • Schaeffler (Automotive Supplier – Corporate)
  • PSD Bank (Financial Services – Cooperative)
  • DATEV (Financial Services – Cooperative)
  • BMW (Car Manufacturer – Corporate)
  • Lufthansa (Aviation Company – Corporate)

Case studies of scaled agility

The following companies, for example, have sustainable success in the entire company/an entire organizational unit by scaling agility to the entire organization:

  • Cisco
  • Lego
  • Sipgate
  • Bosch
  • British Telecom
  • National Bank of Canada

The following two examples show how scaled agility was introduced in the above mentioned companies:

Scaled agile framework at Cisco

Cisco has switched from different agile teams (e.g. design, build, test) to three release trains (capabilities, defects, projects) and thus made the procedures within and between the teams transparent.

This introduction of a Scaled Agile Framework has improved a whole set of numbers at Cisco:

  • 40% less critical and large errors in the delivery of Cisco products
  • 14% improvement in DRE (Defect Removal Efficiency), i.e. increased efficiency in troubleshooting
  • Dramatically reduce employee overtime while increasing delivery speed through effective and transparent collaboration between teams.

Company-wide agility at Lego

Lego started in 2015 with 20 classic product development teams (organized like waterfalls) and has converted five of these teams to agile methods in a first swing. Gradually, the remaining 15 teams were also converted to agile and self-organized working methods. This was always the team’s “internal agility”. This means that the teams still did not work together in an agile and above all effective way and that there was a break in the framework across the entire product development unit.

The solution lay in the introduction of a program level changed, in which a so-called team of teams was established (also: “Agile Release Train”, short: ART). At Lego, this team of teams met every eight weeks for a large planning session lasting one and a half days. During these meetings the teams presented their work, made dependencies visible, estimated risks and planned the next release period.

Above the program level, a portfolio level was also included as the highest level of this system. This is where the long-term business plans, stakeholder management and top management are located.

This division into three levels is typical for a SAFe Framework (Scaled Agile Framework).

The switch to agility at Lego has changed the communication culture to such an extent that the focus is on project progress in relation to the customer. This leads to faster decisions and a breakup of the silo thinking (Team of Teams).

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