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New Study: Agile Project Failure Rate Soars 268%

It is estimated that the efficiency of the participating agile software development methodologies has been called into question based on new research that has demonstrated the failure rate of projects that used the method is 268% higher. The study included 600 software engineers from the UK and the US and was undertaken by Junade Ali, working together with J.L. Partners, a British software engineer and computer scientist.

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The Agile Manifesto has been in place for more than two decades now and provides guiding principles for software development in which requirements and solutions evolve through the collaborative effort of self-organizing and cross-functional teams. However, merely following the practices. 65% of the software projects that adopted Agile practices failed to deliver on time, within budget, and to a high standard of quality.

According to Dr. Ali, author of “Impact Engineering,” the back-draws of the Agile methodology are massive. “With 65% of projects adopting Agile practices failing to be delivered on time, it’s time to question Agile’s cult following,” he said. “Our research has shown that what matters when it comes to delivering high-quality software on time and within budget is a robust requirements engineering process and having the psychological safety to discuss and solve problems when they emerge, whilst taking steps to prevent developer burnout.”

This is also found in a study result, which showed that a project that documented the requirements beforehand had a 97% likelihood of being successful when started on development. Running exactly against one of the very principles of the Agile Manifesto is “Working Software over Comprehensive Documentation.”

It also found that software engineers in the UK were 13 percent less likely to feel able to speak to and resolve issues than those working in teams in the US. This is hugely alarming as, because of this freedom to speak to and resolve issues, projects with engineers were 87 percent more likely to succeed.

While Agile practices have been highly criticized over the years, it should be noted that other methodologies have their flaws as well. For example, the Waterfall methodology, which sees a succession of documented phases, can be slow in practice and very expensive; changes are difficult to make.

For software development projects, the research suggests a compromise between the two is a key to success. This can be quite effectively achieved by moodling through the requirements before the commencement of development, a practice that is more routine for Waterfall than for Agile.

More for you:

  • 268% Higher Failure Rates for Agile Software Projects, Study Finds.
  • 268% higher failure rates for Agile software projects: The Register.

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