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VersionOne releases 10th Annual State of Agile Survey Results

| by Shane Hastie on Apr 19, 2016. Estimated reading time: 3 minutes |

VersionOne have released the results of the 10th annual State of Agile survey.   Based on over 3800 responses from around the globe the results indicate that agile methods deliver tangible benefits; they are steadily becoming the default approach to software development and are starting to expand to areas outside software.

Some of the important results from the survey include:

  • The survey reaches a large audience, with 44% of respondents from outside the USA and a wide variety of industries
  • Respondents are largely from the IT area of their organisations, covering a wide range of roles within IT
  • The level of familiarity of the respondents with agile methods is high, 30% have been using agile approaches for 3-4 years and 33% for more than 5 years
  • 95% of the organisations represented use agile approaches in their software development
  • Despite the level of takeup by organisations, 53% of respondents indicated that less than half of their teams use agile methods
  • The top three benefits that organisations get from adopting agile approaches are
    • 87% ability to manage changing priorities
    • 85% increased team productivity
    • 84% improved project visibility

Actual Improvements from Implementing Agile

  • Scrum is still the most widely used agile framework, used on its own (58%), hybrid with XP (10%) or Scrumban (7%)

  • The biggest challenges to agile adoption are cultural –
    • 46% of failed agile projects list “Company philosophy or culture at odds with core agile values” as the biggest reason for the failure
    • 55% of respondents indicated that “Ability to change organizational culture” is the largest barrier to further agile adoption

Barriers to Further Agile Adoption

  • Scaling agile is a reality – organisations are actively looking to extend their agile adoptions beyond small teams to more complex programs and portfolios.
  • The most common scaling approach is Scrum/Scrum of Scrums (72%) followed by the Scaled Agile Framework (27%)

Scaling Methods and Approaches

InfoQ spoke to Lee Cunningham, one of the authors of the report, to explore the findings in more detail.

In response to the point that the respondents are self-selected and the responses may be influenced by being VersionOne customers, he stated that only 28% of the respondents are VersionOne customers and that they publicise the survey extensively with the goal of obtaining as wide an audience as possible.

There are some significant trends that Cunningham noted from observing the results of the survey over the last ten years, and talking to some of the respondents :

  • Agile adoption has penetrated larger and larger organisations over the years and is now prevalent across the whole spectrum of organisations from startups to Fortune 100 companies
  • There seems to be second- and third-round agile adoption happening, with emphasis on getting the fundamentals right leading to more successful outcomes
    • These fundamentals include strong technical practices and an emphasis on craftsmanship
    • Tackling the organisational cultural change that is needed – it begins with a completely different way of thinking about how business is done
    • Organisational KPIs and metrics need to change to support the new ways of working
    • Failed agile transformations have taught us is that cultural change must be led from the top for that change to be effective, pervasive, and long-lived
  • There is more comfort and familiarity with the ideas around DevOps as a natural extension of agile development, and there is a corresponding spread “upstream” to the customer facing areas of the organisation so the whole value stream can become agile and responsive
  • The spread of agile practices from just software development to other areas of the organisation is starting to happen. Agile marketing, agile HR are two areas that have recently been identified
  • The adoption of scaling approaches is an indicator of the desire for organisations to become more adaptive and responsive – the goal is not to adopt a framework, but to create an agile enterprise
  • The biggest barriers to agile adoption remain those of people and culture, and these are hard changes to make

The full survey results can be downloaded from the VersionOne website

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