VersionOne’s State of Agile Survey for 2012 is Out!

February 27, 2013

I received an email yesterday that VersionOne’s State of Agile Development Survey for 2012 was ready and I immediately grabbed my copy. It’s always interesting to see how agile development is progressing and where the challenges are.

On the plus side, this survey indicates that agile continues to have legs, with future plans to implement agile increasing from 59% last year to 83% this year, along with an increase of organizations with 5+ agile teams (48% this year compared to 33% last year).

Top 3 Reasons for Adopting Agile

  • Accelerate time to market
  • Manage changing priorities
  • Better align IT/Business
VersionOne states that most responses centered on better customer focus and increased productivity.

Top 3 Benefits Obtained from Implementing Agile

  • Ability to manage changing priorities
  • Productivity
  • Project visibility (this category saw the greatest increase in benefit, from 77% in 2011 to 84% in 2012)
70%  of the respondents indicated that agile projects have a faster completion time.

Top 3 Barriers to Further Agile Adoption

  • Ability to change organizational culture
  • General resistance to change
  • Trying to fit elements into a non-agile framework
Organizational culture has been cited as a barrier in successive years, and is something that I covered in multiple posts in October and November of last year, summarizing my thoughts in A Cultural Recipe for Agile Organizations,

Top 3 Concerns about Adopting Agile

  • Lack of up-front planning
  • Loss of management control
  • Management opposition
I wonder if management opposition would decrease if there was a better understanding of the planning and empirical controls present in agile development. It seems that we have a great deal of executive management education to do.

Leading Causes of Failed Agile Projects

  • Company philosophy or culture at odds with core agile values
  • External pressure to follow traditional waterfall processes
  • A broader organizational or communications problem
Actually, none failed was at the top of the list, but I listed the top three reasons for actual failures. Once again, it appears culture and traditional ways of doing things have a significant impact. My takeway is that there is a stronger need to increase awareness about what agile is and how obtaining the benefits of going agile requires actual change in mindsets and approaches to work.  

VersionOne added something that I really liked, quoting answers to the question, “If you could say one thing to your company president about agile, what would you say?” A couple of answers:
  • “Agile comes with a cultural change, or don’t do it at all.”
  • “Managers should be willing to listen and learn about agile. They should not look at it as an uncontrolled process.”
Read more in the full survey from VersionOne. And many thanks to VersionOne for continuing to take the time and effort each year to do this!


AJ said...

Thanks Dave for the summary. It puts things in perspective. Do you know of surveys/results on Agile trends with location/demographics in mind. Specifically I am referring to Agile trends and growth in US/Western Europe vs Asia.

August 21, 2013 at 4:31 AM
Dave Moran said...


I'm not aware of surveys with location/demographics. Perhaps you could contact VersionOne to see if they have that data from their survey.

September 4, 2013 at 8:34 PM

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