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Substantial rise in Agile adoption across the enterprise

By Shannon Williams
Fri 16 Jul 2021

There has been a notable rise in Agile adoption across enterprises, according to a new report.

Digital.ai has released the 15th State of Agile Report, detailing trends and issues in Agile adoption and practice as identified by more than 1380 global respondents. 

This year's findings highlight a strong increase in Agile adoption within both IT and non-IT teams as well as a desire of most development and IT practitioners to work as part of a distributed workforce for the foreseeable future as the world continues to grapple with COVID-19.

"Since the report's inception, the tendency was to frame trends as evidence of how IT must align with the business to create value, which was reflective of broader industry conversations," says Richard Knaster, vice president and chief scientist for Digital.ai.

"COVID-19 has been a watershed moment for all of us as it has validated IT leadership in determining what the future of work will look like. 

"The accelerated Agile adoption trends in this year's report show the path forward isn't about IT aligning to the business, but IT being integral to the business and leading the way to business agility," he says.

"Agile adoption and broader adoption of other strategies, including value stream management are no longer solely in the realm of IT. Business leaders realise these strategies, long responsible for success within IT departments create and optimise business value and can be measured using business-related outcomes, not just outputs."

The State of Agile Report provides key insights from the longest continuous annual survey of Agile techniques and practices. This year's report highlights important milestones along Agile's journey from its origins in software development teams to its current wide-scale enterprise adoption, which aims to drive business value by increasing performance and quality in software development.

Key Findings

Agile is no longer confined to development teams: In response to the pandemics impact on work, Agile methodologies, tools and processes saw a significant increase in adoption across the entire organisation, with adoption by non-IT lines of business doubling since last years report, and adoption in software development teams increasing from 37% to 86%.

Scrum and SAFe remain popular: Scrum remains the most popular agile approach, with 66% of respondents identifying it as the methodology most closely followed with a further 15% following Scrum derivations, including ScrumBan (9%) and Scrum/XP (6%). Similarly, the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) continues to be the most popular scalable framework, with almost 40% of respondents identifying it as the one they most closely follow.

DevOps investments are a priority: A full 74% of respondents state they either have a current DevOps initiative or are planning one, continuing the trend of steady growth in organizational recognition and adoption of DevOps solutions.

Value stream management (VSM) gains momentum: VSM continues to be an important focus, with more than half of respondents stating they have implemented or plan to implement VSM across their organization.

Distributed and hybrid workforces are here to stay: More than half of respondents (56%) indicated they prefer a hybrid working arrangement that includes a mix of both office-based and remote work. In comparison, a full 25% say they will work remotely full time and permanently.

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