VersionOne, one of the leading Agile management platform providers, has surveyed 4,770 companies from 91 countries between August and October 2010 in order to benchmark current level of Agile development adoption globally.

According to the survey findings, in 2010 43% of survey respondents consider Agile adoption to be moderately knowledgeable (down 2% from 2009), 25% find Agile practices extremely knowledgeable (down 2% from 2009) and 8% of companies believe that using Agile is very little knowledgeable (up 1% from 2009).

Regarding Agile adoption by company size, 32% of companies using Agile development are 250+ in headcount, 26% – 50 to 250, 24% – 0 to 20 and 18% – 20 to 50. In 2010, 31% of companies used Agile on 0 to 20% of their software development projects (up 1% from 2009), 25% run Agile on 50 to 95% of their projects (up 2% from 2009), 22% of companies run Agile on 20 to 50% of their projects (down 3% from 2009) and 22% use Agile on 95 to 100% of their development projects (down 4% from 2009).

SCRUM remains the most widely used Agile methodology (by 58% of companies surveyed, up 8% from 2009), followed by SCRUM/XP Hybrid (17% of companies, down 7%from 2009), while lean development is adopted by only 2% of companies (down 1% from 2009).

Regarding the leading causes of failed Agile projects, 14% of survey respondents pointed to the lack of experience with the Agile methods (up 1% from 2009), 11% said their company philosophy was at odds with the Agile values (similar to the 2009 findings) and 10% pointed to external pressures to follow traditional waterfall processes (down 2% from 2009). Overall, both in 2009 and 2010, 22% of survey respondents reported they had not experienced any failures in their Agile projects.

Regarding barriers to further adoption of Agile, 51% of companies pointed to inability to change organizational culture, 40% pointed to companies’ general resistance to change, 40% pointed to the lack of personnel  with necessary skills needed to successfully implement Agile development, while cumulative 22% of companies reported the following barriers: lack of management support, project size and/or complexity, poor customer collaboration, lack of confidence in ability to scale Agile projects, long time to transition and budget constraints. Twelve percent of companies said they did not have any barriers to further Agile adoption.

The most common Agile adoption concerns listed by respondents are: a loss of management control (36%), lack of upfront planning (33%), management opposed to change (32%), lack of documentation (28%) and lack of predictability (27%). In 2009, the greatest concerns regarding Agile adoption were the lack of upfront planning (46%) and the lack of documentation (34%).

Overall, 37% of survey respondents admit using Agile to accelerate time to market, 36% – to enhance ability to manage changing priorities, 27% – to increase productivity, 24% – to enhance software quality, 24% – to better align IT and business objectives, and 10% – to reduce costs etc.

The State of Agile Survey demonstrates that respondents are increasingly using Agile methods on their outsourced projects: 32% of companies already do so (up 4% from 2009), while 13% plan to adopt Agile on their outsourced projects in the following months.

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