This year we saw further evidence that agile is not a fad. More than half of our respondents said they’ve personally practiced agile for over 2 years, and one-third have carried agile with them to another company. Almost two-thirds of respondents said that up to half of their company’s projects were run using agile, and that their company has adopted agile practices across 3 or more teams.
While there were slightly elevated concerns over agile scaling, regulatory compliance and a lack of documentation, there was less pushback from management this year in considering deploying agile. Furthermore, 64% of initial agile champions are in the management layer. Accelerating time to market is again the number-one reason for agile adoption (22%).
Despite the uptick in management support for agile, survey results suggest that the greatest barrier to increased adoption of agile appears not to be awareness of the methodology, but internal company cultures. Only 13% of respondents in larger organizations (more than 500 employees) said that nearly all their projects used agile. In these larger companies, respondents said that lack of management support (27%) and "general resistance to change" (26%) were major barriers to agile adoption. Conversely, among smaller companies, the vast majority (nearly 75%) of projects used agile and only 10% of respondents cited lack of management support or “general resistance to change” as an issue or barrier to adoption.
We saw a continued practice of daily standup meetings (78%), iteration planning (74%) and unit testing (70%). The most notable trend this year was the increased use of Kanban principles (24% versus 18% in 2010). By far, Scrum/Scrum XP continues to lead the pack as the most used agile methodology (66%).
This year there was a shift in the benefits companies gleaned from agile. In 2010, respondents said it was all about productivity (74%). This year productivity improved for 75% of respondents, but the bigger benefit areas were the ability to manage changing customer priorities (84%) and project visibility (77%). Cost reduction and the ability to manage distributed teams proved the least beneficial. Overall, three-quarters of respondents said that at least half their agile projects had been successful.
The 2011 survey also showed an uptick in the number of companies who do not currently practice agile but plan to in the future (17% this year versus 13% last year). Of those already practicing agile, one-third will continue to do so, and only 3% said they do not plan to continue.
The most common types of tools currently being used (or planned) include: Automated Acceptance Tools (20%), Release Management Tools (16%) and Continuous Integration Tools (16%). Interestingly, the agile tool being used the least today is also the most desired tool of tomorrow – Ideas Management Tool.
In terms of specific agile software tools, most are using standard office productivity tools such as Excel, followed by specialized tools like VersionOne. The use of bug trackers has also come on strong this year (14%).
Current Company Position
Respondents were most commonly project managers, scrum masters and team leads, followed by software development staff.
EXPERIENCE WITH AGILE DEVELOPMENT PRACTICES
About 90% of respondents say they are at least “knowledgeable” about agile software development techniques.
EXPERIENCE WITH AGILE DEVELOPMENT
Agile is not just a fad. Eighteen percent of respondents have personally practiced agile for more than 5 years, and about one-third have taken agile with them to another employer. The number of respondents who have practiced agile for more than 2 years continues to grow - from less than half of the 2010 respondents to 55% in 2011.
Number of Projects Using Agile
AGILE ADOPTION IN THE ENTERPRISE
The median size of development organizations was 100, with ¼
of respondents coming from organizations of more than 500.
- Initial champions of agile methods are found in the management layer 77% of the time.
- of respondents said their software organizations had adopted agile development practices, and 80% worked in their company’s software development or IT departments.
- of respondents worked in companies with distributed development teams. Most had fewer than 5 distributed teams using agile, with the majority having 2 or 3.
How Many Teams Adopted Agile
Two-thirds of respondents work at companies that have adopted agile across 3 or more teams.
Number of Company Projects Using Agile
Nearly half of respondents had between 2-5 agile projects, and one-third said their organization is running 11 or more.
NUMBER OF DISTRIBUTED TEAMS USING AGILE
- Fully two-thirds (65%) said they had distributed team members working on agile projects.
- About 70% had fewer than 5 distributed teams using agile.
Agile Methods and Practices
Agile Methodologies Used
Scrum or Scrum variants continue to make up more than two-thirds of the methodologies being used, while Kanban has entered the scene this year as a meager player. The only category that saw growth this year was Custom Hybrids (9% up from 5%).
- Scrum/XP Hybrid
- Custom Hybrid
- Don’t Know
- Feature-Driven Development
- Extreme Programming XP
- Agile Unified Process (AgileUP)
- Agile Modeling
- Dynamic Systems Development Method
Core agile tenets currently in use are* Daily Standup, Iteration Planning and Unit Testing. Most notable is the increasing use of Kanban (24%).*Respondents were able to select multiple options.
- Daily Standup
- Iteration Planning
- Unit Testing
- Release Planning
- Continuous Integration
- Automated Builds
- Coding Standards
- Test-Driven Development TDD
- Open workarea
- Story Mapping
- Digital Taskboard
- Pair Programming
- Collective Code Ownership
- Automated Acceptance Testing
- Onsite Customer
- Continuous Deployment
- Analog Taskboard
- Agile Games
- Cycle Time
- Behavior-Driven Development BDD
LEADING CAUSES OF FAILED AGILE PROJECTS
Most respondents said none of their agile projects would be considered unsuccessful (16%). Of those with failed agile projects, most said it was due to either a lack of experience with agile methods (11%) or not understanding the broader organizational change required (11%).
- None of our agile projects failed
- Don’t know
- Lack of experience with agile methods
- lack of understanding of broader org change required
- Company philosophy or culture at odds with agile values
- External pressure for waterfall
- New to agile; haven’t completed a project
- Lack of mutual trust between business and development
- Lack of cultural transition
- Insufficient training
- Unwillingness of team
- Lack of management support
BARRIERS TO FURTHER AGILE ADOPTION
For over half of respondents, the inability to change their organization’s culture was the biggest problem. Budget constraints had the lowest impact on further adoption (14%).
- Ability to change organizational culture
- Availability of personnel with right skills
- General resistance to change
- Management support
- Project complexity
- Confidence in ability to scale
- Customer collaboration
- Perceived time to transition
- Budget constraints
GREATEST CONCERNS ABOUT ADOPTING AGILE
The most common concerns listed by respondents when they were considering deploying agile were a loss of management control (33%), lack of upfront planning (33%) or management opposition (32%). *Respondents were able to select multiple options.
- Lack of up-front planning
- Loss of management control
- Management opposition
- Lack of documentation
- Lack of predictability
- Lack of engineering discipline
- Dev team opposed to change
- Quality of engineering talent
- Reduced software quality
- Regulatory compliance
- Inability to scale
- No concerns
FUTURE AGILE IMPLEMENTATIONS
Only 8% said they do not plan to implement agile methods on future projects.
REASONS FOR ADOPTING AGILE
The top 3 reasons* respondents cited for adopting agile were to accelerate time to market, increase productivity, and to more easily manage changing priorities:
*Respondents were able to select multiple options.
- Accelerate Time to Market
- Manage Changing Priorities
- Increase Productivity
- Better Align IT/Business
- Enhance Software Quality
- Project Visibility
- Reduce Risk
- Simplify Development Process
- Reduce Cost
- Improve Team Morale
- Enhance Software Maintainability/Extensibility
- Improve/Increase Engineering Discipline
- Manage Distributed Teams
REASONS FOR ADOPTING AGILE
75% of respondents felt that agile projects were the same or faster to completion than previous non-agile ones. More of this year’s respondents said they haven’t yet completed a project. Fewer respondents this year said agile projects were ‘slower’ to completion.
BENEFITS OBTAINED FROM IMPLEMENTING AGILE
Prior to adoption, respondents said productivity and time to market ranked as their top reasons to adopt agile. But experienced agile users said actual benefits were primarily project visibility (77%) and the ability to manage changing priorities (84%). [ see Reasons for Adopting Agile ]
There continues to be an increasing percentage of respondents who do not know the benefits of agile, or have not realized substantial benefits, especially in the areas of managing distributed teams and cost reduction.
- Ability to manage changing priorities
- Improved project visibility
- Increased productivity
- Improved team morale
- Faster time-to-market
- Better alignment between IT & Business Objectives
- Enhanced software quality
- Simplify development process
- Reduce risk
- Improved/increased engineering discipline
- Enhanced software maintainability/extensibility
- Reduce cost
- Manage distributed teams
OUTSOURCED DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS
The number of projects being outsourced has risen slightly. When we look at those who do outsource, 77% are currently using agile methods on those projects (or plan to in the future). Thirty-one percent said they do now and will continue to do so, while 17% of those not doing it say they plan to in the future.
AGILE TOOL USES & PREFERENCES
Respondents currently use a variety of agile tools; the most common were bug trackers (77%), spreadsheets (67%), taskboards (66%) and wikis (65%). Interestingly, the tool least used today (17%) is also the most desired (38%) tool of the future – Ideas Management Tool. Realistically, however, respondents plan to implement Automated Acceptance (20%), Release Management (16%), and Continuous Integration (16%) tools.
- Bug trackers
- Automated build tool
- Unit test tool
- Agile project management tool
- Continuous integration tool
- Traditional project management tool
- Index cards
- Requirements management tool
- Release management tool
- Story mapping
- Refactoring tool
- Automated acceptance test tool
- Kanban board
- PPM tool
- Ideas management tool
SPECIFIC AGILE TOOLS USED
The most common software tools used continue to be standard office productivity tools such as Excel (61%), followed by specialized tools like VersionOne (37%), Microsoft Project (36%) and JIRA (35%). NOTE: Previously vendors “X” and “Y” requested not to be identified in State of Agile Surveys. Respondents were able to select multiple options.
- Microsoft Project
- Google Docs
- Microsoft TFS
- HP Quality Center
- Vendor Y
- IBM Rational Team Concert
- IBM ClearCase
- Vendor X
- Pivotal Tracker
- Target Process
- CA Agile Vision