VersionOne 2016 State of Agile Report – Agile Has Hit Its 30’s

By: Resalin Gurka | Apr 14, 2016 |  Agile Transformation,  Article

Banner for the 10th Annual State of Agile Report from VersionOne

It’s no longer the kid it once was. From 1957 to 2016, Agile has progressed through the stages of cute kiddo, awkward teenager, eager twenty-something, to mature thirty-ish adult. With this new stage in life comes a lot of positives (steady growth, deepening maturity) but also some negatives (hesitancy, failed adoptions) as shown in the 2016 report.

Here are some of the most telling trends found in the annual State of Agile report.

Agile has expanded from startups to big business.

A majority of respondents (61%) work for an organization with less than 5,000 employees and 69% of respondents work for a software organization with less than 1,000 people.

What does that mean? If you work for a startup or a scaling company, Agile is the way of life.

However, if you work for a bigger organization, you’re probably working through an Agile transformation.

Agile is increasingly remote.

According to the State of Agile report, approximately 80% of respondents had some distributed teams practicing Agile and 21% adopted Agile to help manage remote teams.

Kanban is the underdog Agile framework, but it’s on the rise.

Kanban is used by 39% of respondents (much lower than Scrum), but it’s up eight points in the last year.

Tech practices are not a primary focus (sadly).

The only tech practice that cracked the top 10 of Agile technique is unit testing (63% of respondents). Continuous integration came in at 11, test-driven development at 18, continuous deployment at 21, and behavior-driven development at 25. On the bright side, a majority of respondents plan to use a release automation tool in the near future.

Agile for the culture win.

Over 80 percent (81) of respondents reported that Agile increased team morale and motivation.

Success of an Agile adoption is measured in different ways.

At a high level, the success of an Agile initiative is measured by schedule (delivered on time), quality, and end-user satisfaction. To those who are implementing Agile day-to-day, success is measured with velocity and burndown charts.

Scaling Agile is a hot topic and SAFe® is starting to gain ground.

Scrum of Scrums is the most popular way to scale Agile (72% of responders). However, SAFe® usage jumped from 19% to 27% in one year.

Agile delivers.

The top two reasons organizations adopt Agile are to accelerate product delivery and improve how they adapt to changing priorities. Good news: 87% of responders in the State of Agile reported that they actually got better at how they manage changing priorities.

Culture is a big reason why Agile adoptions fail.

Almost half of responders (46%) say that the biggest reason why Agile projects fail is that their company culture did not support Agile values. Those who are working through an adoption say that the ability to change culture is the biggest barrier to furthering Agile adoption.

Still room for growth

  • Only 17%  respondents had teams with mature adoption
  • 1% of responders were unsuccessful
  • 5% of responders worked in organizations who are not Agile
  • Only 25% of organizations have been using Agile for 5+ years
  • 57% say that less than ½ teams are Agile
  • Only 9% of teams are 100% Agile


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