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Applying Agile to Software Development and Beyond

Are you fit for the digital age, in which every company is essentially becoming a software company? Can you deliver permanent innovation and outstanding customer experience without sacrificing scale and efficiency?

Most businesses outside of the Silicon Valley struggle to get software development right. They are limited largely by a historic bias of treating IT as infrastructure, or at best as only an enabler, rather than as a competitive advantage. They must overcome numerous challenges, including delivering quality software at a competitive cost, keeping large transformative programs on track, and becoming sufficiently agile to adapt to consistently changing customer needs. 

We believe that even so-called traditional companies can build world-class software capabilities and become agile at scale. But only if these organizations fundamentally change how they think about developing products, how business and technology work together, how decisions are made, and how they organize and reward their staff.

Agile at Scale

BCG’s Software and Agile practice helps clients transition to an enterprisewide, agile operating model that enables them to bring digital products to the market faster, and with a better fit to customer expectations.

For Agile at Scale, Faster Is the Only Speed

Agile at scale isn’t just for small environments—this business-led approach accelerates entire organizations, Ralf Dreischmeier, the global leader of BCG’s Technology Advantage practice, explained during the Forbes CIO Summit.

Agile practices radically improve digital delivery by fostering an iterative, empirical, and cross-functional approach to building customer-focused products—all with a keen eye on continuous improvement. If done right, agile transformations can indeed drive tremendous benefits:

  • Higher-quality product development
  • Enhanced speed to market
  • Increased efficiency/productivity
  • Improved employee morale and engagement

However, the majority of agile transformations do not meet expectations—typically because they are limited either to a narrow technological focus that excludes the business or to a dogmatic implementation of agile development. Agile practices have little chance of gaining traction unless organizations realize they might require fundamental shifts in processes and cultural habits [see infographic].

Consequently, a pragmatic and comprehensive approach is critical to realizing the benefits of agile at scale. In particular, we believe that:

  • Senior executive support, business engagement, and thorough change management are essential.
  • The most effective approach is testing and refining the new model through end-to-end pilots, with involvement from both business and IT.

Learn more about Software & Agile

Benjamin Rehberg

Partner & Managing Director

New York

  • Leads BCG's global work in software and agile
  • Digital banking and insurance
  • IT operating model and organization
  • Agile transformation
Martin Danoesastro

Senior Partner & Managing Director


  • Agile transformation
  • Digital transformation
  • Agile in financial institutions
  • Digital organization
Technology & Digital
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