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Agile Companies Report Better Project Outcomes

PMI Pulse of the IndustryTruly agile organizations have learned to apply a hybrid approach to get their projects done. Their project management approaches use a blend of practices, including not just agile, but also lean, extreme, and even waterfall. Yet only six percent of companies rate themselves as having a “high” level of agility. Another 45 percent say they’re of “moderate” agility. The rest appraise themselves as “low.”

Those are some of the findings from the Project Management Institute (PMI) in its latest “Pulse of the Profession” report.

The PMI research team conducted a survey among 1,397 project management professionals and leaders around the world.

Respondents said that the three most important characteristics of an agile organization were:

  • Flexibility and adaptability (selected by 73 percent and demonstrated “often” or “always” by 44 percent);
  • Openness in communication (chosen by 68 percent and demonstrated often or always by 58 percent); and
  • Openness to change (specified by 66 percent and demonstrated often or always by 46 percent).

The survey found that project teams that consider themselves “more collaborative, communicative and flexible” have better outcomes on their projects. As the report noted, 81 percent of projects performed by organizations where the project teams are good at all three of those activities met the original goals vs. 53 percent in companies where project teams don’t perform well in those areas.

The three most apparent that PMs point to as proof of agility in an organization are:

  • Quick response to new opportunities (selected by 49 percent);
  • Shorter cycles for production, review and decision-making (chosen by 39 percent); and
  • Elimination of functional silos (picked by 36 percent).

The three main barriers to increased organizational agility take these forms:

  • Slow decision making and a cultural mindset that doesn’t support agility (both selected by 42 percent);
  • Lack of executive engagement (37 percent); and
  • Lack of communication between departments (35 percent).

“Agility allows a company to react quickly to internal logistical changes and unforeseen shifts in the marketplace,” said PMI President and CEO Mark Langley in a prepared statement. “It’s a critical competency for any organization whose core business is affected by the variability and volatility of evolving technologies and economies.”

The report is available for download on the PMI website.

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