Failure factors in Agile development are well known and are responsible for the reluctance of many project managers to switch to Agile methods. During my career, I have been able to observe these factors of failure which are recurrent and systematically present in each project.

Resistance to change

Resistance to change is the main failure factor in agile development.

This is due to the lack of time needed to train existing teams and the usual refusal to modify established habits.

Fixing this problem is easy enough by setting up new teams that will be trained to operate in agility.

However, this is impossible to implement when the company can not afford to recruit.

This situation is almost always the case in markets where the constraints on employment dissuade hiring (for example in France...)

Outsourcing is a solution to this problem but managing an external team requires even more rigor and availability.

By outsourcing in Agility, a contractual relationship is created between the customer and the service provider, which equally allocates the risk between both.

Few companies are willing to accept this risk while clearly, the statistics of success lean towards agility.


Lack of availability of the customer

The managers are currently under pressure with overloaded agendas and do not get the necessary time to supervise and train their teams to agile methods.

Nor do they have the time to train themselves...

Recruitment is often out of the scope and moving to a method they don't master plus having to take on a work overload is a risk factor for them.

The solution is to hire a project manager specialized in agility who will implement the methodology, training, and coach the teams.

Actually, this is rarely the case for budgetary reasons and the constraints related to hiring.

In agile development, a project that the manager does not have the time to devote to it is seriously threatened.

Bad relationship management of the team

Agile management presupposes the removal of hierarchical levels in project management.

The project manager is at the team level to participate in collegiate decisions.

This kind of management is contrary to the type of management usually adopted in companies and often results in destabilizing the relationship between the manager and his team.

This joins point number 1: resistance to change.

Lack of respect for iterations

Agile methods operate according to a process iteration that standardizes the continuous delivery of functional code.

We repeat the same processes perfectly controlled until we arrive at a product delivered more and more perfect.

It is necessary to constantly monitor and maintain a rigorous schedule, which is rarely compatible with the availability of the customer (point number 2). For that, it is absolutely necessary to have the right tools (next point).

Lack of software tools

It is impossible to be effective in Agile project management without the right software tools. This point is crucial.

The challenge is for the project manager to choose the right tools and master them.

There are now excellent tools to manage projects but none is consistent from the definition of its needs by the customer until the delivery by the team. All of these tools partially address the process but none has yet been able to provide a holistic process for the client to use the same tool as the development team.

crédit photo: CC Cory Doctorow



Failure in agile development is a serious risk to consider, especially in SMEs and VSEs. Fortunately, this is not inevitable and being attentive to the main causes allows putting in place the best condition of success of agility development.

  • Resistance to change
  • Lack of availability of the client
  • Bad relationship management of the team
  • Lack of respect for iterations
  • Lack of software tools

ZAPPIK method solves all these problems with a global support of the project and not only on the production side. ZAPPIK allows the project leader to be relieved of a constant management of his project to focus only on the essential points requiring his decision. The benefit in terms of risk reduction is considerable.

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