The State of Agile: A Case Study of… Ourselves

With the recent State of Agile survey closing November 6th, we decided to take a look at our agile practices and see how we match up to the last results: and whether the theory of this method translates into useful practice.

So, how well are we doing?

It’s unsurprising that 25% of the surveyed businesses were software companies, but only 9% said all their teams are agile, which makes us stand out – when we started out, we decided to be a fully agile company, and we have remained that way. We’re proud of the fact that we were agile before it was cool (or even widely known) in Poland. While 94% of businesses practice agile to some extent, only 25% can say that they’ve been doing it for more than 5 years. It’s nice to be leading the way with our 7 years of experience. 

Every new employee – from a software developer to a sales specialist – who is unfamiliar with the method is onboarded to understand agile, and many of us have agile certificates or attend workshops and courses. We also provide a scrum/product ownership course for the customer if needed, because a good understanding of the project methodology is essential for the overall success of our cooperation.

Why agile?

The survey results demonstrate that most companies chose accelerating product delivery as their prime reason for adopting agile. We started out agile because we wanted to minimize risks for both us and especially the customer, it teams up well with a time & material approach, and – first and foremost – because it simply helps to manage changing priorities. Change? Feedback? We deal with this rapidly. The retrospectives repeatedly proved to be an indispensable tool when it comes to increasing productivity. What could have been done better? It’s good to ask yourself this question, even if you deliver a good product in time, there always is something to improve – and we want to grow.

Many companies noted actual improvement in the areas of managing priorities, visibility or productivity – all our teams have always been agile, but we have had experience with a couple of projects where the client was adamant on using a non-agile methodology – and we have noted that the success rate in agile projects has always been higher, and the contact with clients – much smoother.

Tools and techniques

Now, as to the details – we use the most popular Scrum. Eventually, when the customer has a faith in our technical expertise and domain knowledge, we can try to switch to a Kanban or Scrumban approach. Kanban does not require precise planning, and is especially useful in projects where priorities change frequently. We’re flexible, and we can advise our partners which approach would be the best one.
We were also proud to note that we’ve adopted around 90% of ALL the agile techniques mentioned in the survey, from the standup to the prioritized backlog. We also use a variety of tools (pretty much the top 10 mentioned in the survey).

Remote but agile

Last but not least, we were surprised to find that while 67% of businesses outsource their projects, only 19% of those are managed the agile way. As a company we’re focused on providing remote development teams, and we wouldn’t choose any other method: in short, transparency, increased efficiency and the financial gain for both us and the customer are reasons enough to maintain and develop our agility.

Naturally, agile does not answer all the questions, nor is the remedy to all problems – but we  always try to convince our customers that agile development methods are the most beneficial ones in terms of business value, transparency and productivity – and we’re really looking forward to the report in 2016 to see if we’re still doing so well.
author: Natalia Brzozowska

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