Agile Report
28 Sep 2020

14th Annual State of Agile Report

Introduction

The 14th Annual State of Agile Report gives insights to the application of Agile across different areas of enterprises and about Value Stream Management. Over 40,000 executives, practitioners, and consultants have taken part in the State of Agile survey since its inception.  There are significant changes from the previous year’s survey and also various noteworthy and familiar trends in this year’s report. The top trends that are seen in this year’s report are that culture is still a thing, Scrum and SAFe are the most popular frameworks and Agile empowers adaptability and visibility. 

A trending reveal was that top companies that are practicing Agile still face issues with adapting to the Agile culture. The presence of resistance to change, inadequate management support and sponsorship, and organizational cultural odds still exist. Another trend was that almost 75% of Agile companies use Scrum Framework or a hybrid of Scrum, and 35% of the companies prefer using SAFe. The ability to manage changing priorities and project visibilities are two capabilities that Agile promised to deliver this year. This article gives a summary of the benefits of Agile, Agile methods and practices, Agile success and metrics, Scaled Agile, Agile project management tools, and DevOps value and stream management.

 

Benefits of Agile

Agile was shown to have many benefits however, respondents were given the few of the options that were themed with speed and adaptability. The top benefits that were seen in the survey are as follows:

  • Almost 70% of the respondents reported that their ability to manage changing priorities is one of the major benefits of using Agile methodology
  • 65% reported that project visibility and business/IT alignment are essential benefits
  • Delivery speed/time to market was marked by 60% of the respondents
  • 59% of respondents selected team morale as their benefit, and 58% selected increased team productivity
  • 51% were benefited by project risk reduction, and 50% of them selected the project predictability
  • Software quality was selected by 46% of respondents, engineering discipline by 44%, and managing distributed teams by 41%
  • The last two positions of the benefits were software maintainability by 35% and project cost reduction by 26%

 

Agile Methods and Practices

The survey concluded that Scrum continues to be the most common Agile Methodologies that is used by the respondents’ organization as it bags 58% of total Agile Methodologies used. 10% of the respondent’s industry use ScrumBan, 9% other/hybrid or multiple methodologies, 8% use Scrum XP hybrid, 7% use kanban, 4% iterative development, 1% Lean Startup, 1% Extreme Programming, and another 3% don’t know. (Here, the total exceeds 100% as the numbers are rounded up).

 

Agile Techniques Employed

Few notable changes in the Agile techniques and practices are that product road mapping increased from 45% last year to 49% this year, and release planning decreased from 57% last year to 51% this year. 

The top five Agile Techniques that are used are:

  • Daily Standup with 85% of the respondents’ organization practicing it
  • 81% using the retrospective technique
  • 79% claim to use the Sprint/iteration planning
  • 77% of respondents say that they employ Sprint/Iteration review
  • 64% of them employ shorter iterations

The other Agile techniques that are followed by respondents’ organizations are as shown in the image below:

 

Agile Techniques

 

Engineering Practices

The report states that the overall engineering practices remain almost the same from last year. However, Automated acceptance increased by 3% and pair programming, test-driven, development, and behavior-driven development, each fell by 3%.

The Engineering practices employed by respondents’ organization given in the report is as shown in the image below:

 

Engineering Practices Employed

 

The report also found that 50% of the respondents’ organizations use Agile methodologies for outsourced development projects and 42% plan that they will use Agile for outsourced development projects in the next 24 months.

 

Agile Success and Metrics

The report states how organizations and individuals measure the success of the Agile transformation. The results were consistent from last year’s outcome where customer satisfaction and business value delivered were the top cited success measurement reasons. The survey included two sections under the Agile Success and Metrics- Organizational and Individual success measures. 

Under organization success measures, the report suggests that:

  • 54% of the respondents’ organizations believe that customer satisfaction is a top measure for Agile success and also consider business value as a yardstick for success
  • 48% consider on-time delivery
  • 45% agree that quality is an important factor
  • 44% say that if their business objective is achieved
  • 40% consider productivity to be a success measurer
  • 37% say that their organizational culture/morale is the reason for Agile success
  • 35% go with process development
  •  33% predictability
  •  29% with project visibility
  • 15% say that product scope gives an idea of Agile Success in the organization

 

Under individual success measures, many factors are considered where business value delivered, and customer/user satisfaction remained the top cited success measures. The report showed that:

  • The business value delivered was selected by 46%
  • 45% selected customer/user satisfaction
  • 37 % responded to velocity
  • 31% selected budget vs. actual cost and planned vs. actual stories per iteration
  • 28% consider that planned vs. actual release dates make its way for Agile Success
  • 26% consider defects into production
  • 25% select cycle time to be their Agile success measurer
  • 24% selected iteration burndown 
  • 22% say the burn-up chart is a metric of success. defects over time
  • 20% selected Work in the process
  • 18% select release burndown
  • 15% defect resolution
  • 14% customer retention
  • 13% estimation accuracy

 

Scaling Agile

Scaling Agile Methods and Approaches

When the scaling methods and approaches were surveyed, it was found that the Scaled Agile Framework is the most popular scaling method cited by respondents. It is noted that 35% of the respondents selected Scaled Agile Framework this year whereas last year the percentage was 30%. The next nearest scaling Agile method was Scrum (16%), whereas 28% of the respondents did not know their company’s scaling agile methods. 

Challenges experienced while adopting scaling Agile

Respondents selected from various challenges where the top three challenges were related to the internal culture. The internal culture of the organization was an obstacle to success for many organizations. 

 

challenges faced most by organisation

 

Agile Project Management Tools

General Tool Uses and Preferences

Automated acceptance tools were selected by 39% of the respondents compared to 36% last year. 12% of the respondents stated that they plan to use Agile Project Management tools compared to 9% last year. The top five Agile project management tools used by respondents this year are as shown in the image below:

 

Top 5 Agile Tools

 

Use of Agile Project Management Tools

Respondents were given a variety of tools to choose from which they use Agile project management tools. It was noted that Atlassian Jira remained the top used tool (67%). Microsoft Excel was second with 40% responses, whereas the Microsoft Azure DevOps remained the third with 23%.

Recommended Agile Project Management Tools

The top 5 Agile project management tools that were recommended based on their experience is as shown in the image below:

 

agile project management tools

 

DevOps and Value Stream Management

  • DevOps Initiative: 76% of the respondents stated that they are currently using DevOps initiative in their organization or are planning to use it in the next 12 months as compared to 73% responses last year.
  • Importance of DevOps: About 90% of the respondents said that DevOps transformation was important in their organization.
  • Success Measurement of DevOps: Respondents identified the most crucial measures of success with DevOps transformation initiatives that help them to continue improving and delivering their software faster. The below figure shows these crucial measures:

Success measures of DevOps

  1. Accelerated delivery speed 70% 
  2. Improved quality 62% 
  3. Reduce risk 48%
  4. Increase customer satisfaction 43%
  5. Delivery aligned with business objectives 39% 
  6. Decreased IT costs 39% 
  7. Increased visibility of flow of value to users 34% 
  8. Ensure compliance/ governance 27%

 

Conclusion

The 14th Annual State of Agile report showed that many areas of Agile Methodologies improved compared to the previous year. Agile Methods are promising for many respondents as they show excellent interest in many of the tools and practices. It is also important to know that Agile not only delivers tools that are easier to use, but also have given immense benefits to the organizations in terms of increased product quality and quicker delivery, productivity, business value, employee satisfaction, and customer satisfaction.