According to the CHAOS Manifesto from the Standish Group Agile projects are successful three times more often than non-Agile projects!
The report goes so far as to say, “The Agile process is the universal remedy for software development project failure. Software applications developed through the Agile process have three times the success rate of the traditional waterfall method and a much lower percentage of time and cost overruns.” (this is from page 25)
So an important question is what is Project success?
The Standish Group defines project success as on time, on budget, and with all planned features. They do not report how many projects are in their database but say that the results are from projects conducted from 2002 through 2010. The following graph shows the specific results reported.
Source: CHAOS Manifesto, the Standish Group 2012
Could this apply outside of Software Development?
I think this is definitely the case, one of the key things about Agile is that it is iterative. This approach is particularly useful when it comes to complex projects or ones you have not done before. Now complex can be a relative term, in respect to what is considered complex by the people or company involved, so the project might to many not be considered complex. Also the point around projects you have not done before is so often true in smaller organisations needing to react and adapt to the changing environment they are working in. True someone somewhere would of undertaken a similar project, but without their knowledge this is a trip into the unknown and managing the project in an Agile fashion is a way of ensuring control over the project and ensuring the benefits are realised in a timely and cost effective manner!
Get limbering up those brain cells and get Agile in your life shortly!