COVID-19 Drives Distributed Approach to Agile Software Development, Offering 13-15% Cost Savings, Up to 5X Improved Access to Talent—Everest Group

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Distributed agile is emerging as the de-facto software development model, especially among high-performing enterprises.

Everest Group

Everest Group

The next generation of agile will embrace a natively distributed construct – with communication, processes, and workflows optimized for remote delivery.

Roughly two in every five enterprises are expected to adopt distributed agile as their de-facto operating model, according to Everest Group. Everest Group reports the pandemic has jettisoned concerns around the viability of the distributed agile model,
with 47% of enterprises accelerating their programs for agile development in the past year, 45% reporting increased productivity with remote working, and 40% reporting a reduction in quality defects by developers.

Prior to COVID-19, the success of agile development projects was traditionally attributed to close collaboration and regular communication among team members and with customers. Pandemic-induced remote working has disrupted the agile model and tested its limits. With enterprises rapidly transitioning to a remote delivery model, they have replicated the processes, governance, and workflows of traditional agile development. However, the increasing need for continuous value delivery along with risk-efficient, employee-centric operations is driving enterprises to adopt a more sustainable software development methodology.

The next generation of agile will embrace a natively distributed construct – with communication, processes, and workflows optimized for remote delivery. The model will be poised to deliver benefits such as increased productivity, higher talent availability, and cost savings. According to Everest Group, the business case for distributed agile includes an estimated 13% cost savings and an up to 5 times increase in access to talent. Other advantages include enhanced business continuity and resilience, improved delivery model flexibility, and societal and environmental benefits.

These findings and more are shared in Everest Group’s recently published report, “Making Distributed Agile Work – An Enterprise Adoption Guide.” In this report, Everest Group examines the key considerations for charting a path to distributed agile, including the changes required in the workflow, processes, talent, and governance constructs to operationalize and scale the model.

Highlights:

  • Truly distributed agile delivery moves away from the concept of locations and passes accountability to self-governing feature pods.
  • Core teams typically comprise multiple feature pods of architects, managers and business owners connected virtually and situated in similar or close time zones for ease of collaboration. Feature pods are responsible for end-to-end product features.
  • Certain digital-native organizations—such as Etsy, Basecamp, GitHub and Bleum—are already leading the way, debunking myths about the distributed agile model. These organizations are demonstrating the following:
  • Distributed agile is much more than remote working. It requires process, people and structural changes.
  • Distributed agile involves a cultural and mindset shift.
  • Non-invasive governance and autonomy are key.
  • Productivity increases with stronger teams and more flexibility.
  • Distributed agile practices need to be built on a foundation of TRUST: transparency, resilience, understanding, self-reliance and a technology bedrock for collaboration and engagement.
  • Stronger emphasis on softer work aspects such as empathy, independence, and team bonding are requisites for successful distributed agile.

***Download a complimentary abstract of the report here.***

About Everest Group
Everest Group is a consulting and research firm focused on strategic IT, business services, engineering services, and sourcing. Our clients include leading global enterprises, service providers, and investors. Through our research-informed insights and deep experience, we guide clients in their journeys to achieve heightened operational and financial performance, accelerated value delivery, and high-impact business outcomes. Details and in-depth content are available at http://www.everestgrp.com/

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Andrea Riffle

Jennifer Fowler
@EverestGroup
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