Applying Agile to Software Development and Beyond

We believe that even so-called traditional companies can 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.

BCG helps clients transition to an enterprise wide, agile operating model that enables them to bring digital products to the market faster, and with a better fit to customer expectations.

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.

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