UK wasting £37 billion a year on failed Agile IT Projects

Agile has proven to a greater program success rate than Waterfall, but program failure is resulting in 75 percent of UK CTOs giving up defending the methodology.

Independent IT consultancy, 6point6; found British business is set to waste an estimated £37 billion on failed Agile IT projects over the course of the next 12 months (and perhaps much more).

The company questioned 300 CIOs in the UK and the US about how they’re using agile project management methodologies and their successes and failures.

While the majority (95%) of CIO respondents have worked in a scaled agile environment with multiple teams working on multiple projects, there are significant failures that mean the projects don’t have the expected outcomes.

“Agile IT in the UK is facing a hidden crisis – 12% of agile projects are failing completely,” said Chris Porter, CTO and co-founder of 6point6.

“CIOs tell us they expect to undertake six agile projects next year, one in eight of which will fail completely. Given there are about 6,000 CIOs in the UK and that the average agile IT projects costs approximately £8 million, that represents a huge amount of waste. The truth is that, despite the hype, agile development doesn’t always work in practice.”

Agile programs are failing1
Agile programs fail through a lack of structured planning1
Agile projects fail due to a lack of documentation1

The study found 34 percent of Agile programs fail because the teams didn’t plan before getting started or didn’t plan sufficiently as the project developed. This theme continued with more than two third (68%) of CIOs believing their teams need more architects to produce better results.

The lack of documentation was also highlighted. Some 44% of respondents said projects failed because not enough (or in some cases, none at all) documentation was produced to offer ongoing service support.

The report also revealed that more than half of CIOs think the agile methodology is now discredited, with three quarters not prepared to defend it as a way of completing projects anymore.

“We’ve only looked at agile IT projects that fail completely. This doesn’t include the waste involved in agile projects that fail only partially.” Porter added.

“UK and US CIOs now estimate that nearly a third (32%) of agile projects fail to some degree. The failure to apply agile effectively is a huge problem for the UK.”

1 An Agile Agenda: How CIOs Can Navigate the Post-Agile Era – 6point6, 2017

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