An Empirical Analysis of Agile Methods and Firm Financial Performance Open Access

Agile Software Development methods such as Scrum, SAFe, Kanban, and Large Scale Agile (LeSS) promise substantial benefits in terms of productivity, customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction, quality project management overhead, and time to market. As Agile methods have become widespread in the software development industry and begin to take root in the overall business community, there is an increasing need to understand the firm level impact of the implementation of these methods. To build the most effective business case for organizations in and out of the software development industry, it is imperative that a case be made to show that the implementation of Agile frameworks has constituted a competitive advantage. This study investigated the organization level performance impact of switching from traditional methods to the use of Agile frameworks. The results showed that changing from a traditional methodology to an Agile framework resulted in higher return on assets and lower operating expense ratios. The interaction between time and methodology for OER, ROA, or revenues in Table 6 did not show a significant difference, indicating that the null hypothesis cannot be rejected. Thus, we cannot say whether performance differs as a function of type of agile methodology. That said, the non-parametric sign test shows that the median improvement in Operating Expense Ratios were highest for Scrum while SAFe seemed to show a slightly higher improvement in Return on Assets. On the whole, Scrum seems to outperform SAFe in terms of operating efficiency (as measured by OER) but lags in terms of ROA.

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