How Agile Is Hybrid Agile? An Analysis of the HELENA Data

  • John NollEmail author
  • Sarah Beecham
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11915)


Context: Many researchers advocate “tailoring” agile methods to suit a project’s or company’s specific environment and needs. This includes combining agile methods with more traditional “plan driven” practices.

Objective: This study aims to assess to what extent projects actually combine agile and traditional practices.

Method: Data from the HELENA survey of nearly 700 projects were examined to assess how many projects combine agile methods and traditional methods, and also to what extent they used different software development practices.

Results: The data show that, overall, two-thirds of the projects in the survey combine agile and traditional methods to some extent. However, projects that combine agile and traditional methods are significantly less likely to use agile practices than projects that solely use agile methods.

Conclusions: We hypothesize that the mindset of an organization, rather than technical necessity, determines whether a project will adopt a hybrid vs. purely agile approach.


Agile development methods Empirical Software engineering Hybrid agile development 



This work was supported, in part, by Science Foundation Ireland grants 10/CE/I1855 and 13/RC/2094 to Lero - the Irish Software Research Centre (


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of HertfordshireHatfieldEngland
  2. 2.Lero, the Irish Software Research CentreUniversity of LimerickLimerickIreland

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