Agile Trends Switzerland 2021

2021 06 02 head

As a modern leader, you are aware of the importance of transforming your organization to become more agile. Indeed, you have successfully implemented first steps.

Trouble is brewing. Things are not moving forward as quickly as they should, especially in the current challenging situation. The leadership behaviour of your colleagues is only changing slowly. Your key developers are grumbling you are faking it.

Many companies around the world discover their agile transformation is stalling.

HERMES is still the official Swiss government method. They clearly acknowledged that this Water-Scrum-Fall is only needed because administration is strongly hierarchical and unable to adapt to the changes over the development of the solution.

Bachelors in Swiss technical universities are still trained with obsolete methodologies such as SoDa, a variation of the dead RUP method.

The SwissQ report provides empirical data where Swiss companies stand in 2021 [1].

Main Success Factors

The main success factors for an agile transformation are:

  • Soft skills such as transparency, collaboration, and trust. These values are part of the Scrum and of eXtreme Programming approaches.

  • Product instead of project focus The word project is not part of Scrum guide.

  • Stable teams Stable long-lived teams are the core of all agile approaches.

A clear majority of 75% of the participants state that agile approaches are more motivating and fulfilling.

The report just states obvious knowledge. The participants of the study confirmed these documented facts.

Why You Should Not Use Hybrid Methods

It seems that hybrid methods are way less successful than agile based on SwissQ data.

63%35%1%Hybrid Methods Success 2021ChallengedSuccessfulStopped
55%45%0%Agile Methods Success 2021SuccessfulChallengedStopped

The agile approach continues to spread rapidly around the world: 89.8% of all teams have already adopted or are in the process of adopting agile methodology, a considerable number. On the other hand, organizations are still struggling to build greater company-wide agility. Only a few have already adopted agility on a portfolio level (15.3%) or strategic level (8.2%). The good news is that many companies have started transformation initiatives or are planning to do so in the near future.

Used Methods in Switzerland



The major finding of the agile community during 2020 and 2021 is co-location is not mandatory for a successful agile approach.

Remote working and distributed teams can work very successfully on a product. You need high-quality tools such as videoconferencing, chat, collaborative tools and pair working approaches.

The huge gain of 2020 and 2021 was the tremendous improvements of these tools due to the Corona lockdown. Companies still need to invest in high-quality headsets, cameras and 4K displays for their collaborators.

Do not be penny wise and pound foolish. Invest in professional hardware and buy the adequate number of licenses. I always wonder why companies implement communication infrastructure with the free version of Slack or GitHub.


Agile approaches are steadily making progress in Switzerland. Empirical data indicate agile approaches are more successful than hybrid ones. I hope we can get rid of hybrid agile in the next years. The Swiss Hermes method is a dreadful obligation in Switzerland.

Don’t scale agile…​ descale your organization.

— Henrik Kniberg

A drawback is that SAFe is the de-facto standard for agile scaling in Switzerland. Thoughtworks just stated in Spring 2021 technology radar you should avoid using SAFe. These learnings have not reached our country.

Team accountability is lagging; but decentralization of decisions is too hard for the majority.

We have reached the level where late majority and laggards are slowly looking into the agile way of working. Change is slow and hybrid solutions are preferred. Progress is sedate and resistance is very high.

We still advocate and promote

To be agile, not to do agile

I assume it will take another five years until agile is well-established in product development organizations. Below the staying sane advices of LeSS community.

Staying Sane

During an agile, the organization needs to be changed. You are involved and probably have no ‘official’ authority to affect the needed changes. This is a good thing! It requires you to convince people to change because they believe it is the Right Thing to do. But influencing change in organizations is far from trivial. Frequently, no matter how hard you have tried, it changes in the opposite direction. The question then becomes, how do you survive? Staying alive and sane in organizations requires:

Patience and low expectations

Most organizations change slowly. You should better set your expectations low (not your goal!), and remind yourself that you will be working on this for years. Do celebrate small changes.


Do not expect your change suggestions to be adopted immediately but do expect to explain them a gazillion times (often to the same people).


Nothing will change without courage. Do not be afraid to speak up to higher management or make proposals that are way out of your comfort zone.

Sense of humor

You have worked for a year to convince people to change something. They did, and they made it worse. What do you do? Take it seriously and do not take it seriously. Laugh. It is the only way to survive.

Open and humble

You must courageously, persistently, and patiently propose change. Laugh it off when stupid decisions ruin your work. All of this must be done in an open and humble way, as otherwise there is no new learning for you. Maybe you are wrong and they were right?

Did we mention patience? I wish a fruitful and successful transformation to better way of working and of creating awesome products.

You can download the Trends Benchmark Report 2021 from SwissQ [1].

1. The SwissQ company was acquired by Xebia and access to the data was removed. The reports are archived on this site under SwissQ Reports.