Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Success in Agile

Last week I made the London to Cornwall train journey for the first time in a few months. I made the journey many times during the course of the Agile Cornwall programme. This time however I was on my way to the Agile on the Beach 2012 conference. The conference itself is a product of the Agile Programme and looks set to run again in 2013 (although the final decision has yet to be taken.)

With the release of a report last week which claimed the Agile Cornwall programme created 50 jobs I felt Agile on the Beach is something of a celebration. I’ve now had a chance to read the report in full and while the report is not available for public download I would like to share a few comments from it.

First I should say that the report itself was conducted by a third party company commissioned by Oxford Innovation. Oxford Innovation runs the Grow Cornwall programme on behalf of public bodies and it was as part of this programme that Agile Cornwall was bored.

The report surveyed the companies who participated in the Agile programme to find out about their opinions of the programme and the changes which had resulted. They spoke to multiple people in most of the companies so it was pretty well grounded although it probably wouldn’t stand up to rigorous academic analysis. (If any academic out there would like to do a rigorous study then please get in touch.

Here are some highlights from the report:

  • The Agile programme has met expectations for all companies who participated in the review. (I suspect one which was disappointed did not participate.)
  • Businesses are finding they are more flexible and responsive to customers
  • Money and customers
    • None of the business reported a decrease in turnover, profitability or customers since adopting Agile.
    • 7 companies reported increased turnover or revenue; 3 reporting the increase was significant
    • 6 reported increased profitability, 3 saying the increase was “significant”
    • 6 reported an increase in customer and/or business opportunities with 3 of the six saying the increase was significant
There are some downsides however:
  • One company reported that it was now more difficult to hire because they could not find people with Agile skills.
  • Small companies said it was difficult to find the time to get started on Agile
All of which makes me very happy.

There are also some very positive comments on the quality of the consultants used in the project, as I reported in my last blog it wasn’t all me. But, if I may be permitted to blow my own trumpet, I was there a lot, I worked with more companies more of the time than any other consultant. So I’ll be giving myself a pat on the back!

The report has, unfortunately, not been made public - although a summary version was given to attendees at Agile on the Beach. So if you would like to see the full report I suggest you go and knock on the door at Grown Cornwall / Oxford Innovation.

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