State of Agile Project Management Report

State of Agile Project Management

The past few years have seen many organizations effectively using Agile in project management for business transformation and are seeing many benefits. This recently published State of Agile report will be covering some of these benefits and challenges in using the Agile techniques. This report will look at the State of Agile through the lens of the three key components of Agile which are the people, the processes, and the tools to provide a snapshot of the latest trends and opportunities in Agile Project Management. There are total 5 sections in this report –

Table of Contents

Section 1 –  What’s Trending in Agile Project Management?

1) Critical to high performing agile teams

According to 89% of respondents, high-performing Agile teams have three things: People-centric values, clear culture, tools, and leadership empowerment.

2) Key reasons to implement agile practices

  • Accelerate time to market –  52% 
  • Delivery predictability – 44% 
  • Lower the risk – 31%

3) Agile penetration in the organization

Talking about the Agile penetration in the organization, almost half i.e, 49% respondent said they apply Agile practices to the entire application delivery lifecycle and not just software development.

4) Specific reasons to choose Agile practices

When asked about specific reasons to choose Agile practices, 26% said they use Agile practices for company-wide Digital Transformation, 13% use it for IT and Software development teams and 61% use it for both.

5) Measurements for success of Agile teams

  • 47% of Agile teams are measured by On-time Delivery
  • 44% of Agile teams are measured by Business Objectives Achieved.

6) How work is prioritized in the agile project delivery

  • 54% said they prioritize by company goals
  • 43% prioritize by end customer satisfaction
  • 35% prioritize by time to deliver.

By this we can conclude that the work is being prioritized to meet company and end customer goals more than delivery time, indicating a growing awareness of the need to align to company objectives and be able to demonstrate this to stakeholders.

Section 2 – Company Experience with Project Management Using Agile Approach

1) Distribution of Agile teams in the organization

While talking about the distribution of agile teams in their organization, 4 out of 5 respondents said that their teams are distributed geographically.

2) Growing popularity of Agile practices

  • 80% of the respondents said they are using Agile as their predominant approach
  • Only 24% are using the Waterfall approach
  • 50% are using a hybrid approach (combination of Agile, Waterfall or Iterative)
  • 24% use an Iterative approach and 35% use various agile frameworks.

3) Satisfaction level of companies using combination framework

  • 23% say that combination of frameworks works well for them
  • 57% say the combination of frameworks works somewhat well for them
  • 2% say the combination of different frameworks doesn’t work for them.

To conclude, while over 7 in 10 respondents say they are satisfied with the Agile practices in their company, half are somewhat satisfied and one in five very satisfied. This shows that there is room for improvement, which is also supported by the evidence that not all businesses are fully satisfied with their Agile practices. 

Section 3 – What is Working Well Across Agile -Practices, People and Technology

1) Benefits of Using Practices

  • Among those satisfied with Agile practices 70% respondents said that they are satisfied because of the increased collaboration
  • 54% said they are satisfied because of a better alignment to business needs.
  • 78% of respondents indicated that their Agile teams have visibility into the pipeline
  • 69% believe that at least 50% of applications are delivered on time using Agile approach.

2) Best practices of high-performance Agile teams

  • 55% of respondents listed high levels of cross-collaboration and communication as a best practice
  • 51% of respondents listed continuous improvement techniques as a best practice.

3) Trending tools and technologies in Agile

5 most commonly used tools are Atlassian Jira, Mural/Miro, Microsoft Project, MS TFS/MS Azure DevOps/MS Visual Studio and Microsoft Excel. Over 60% of the respondents are using Atlassian Jira.

4) Agile methodologies used by the organizations

  • Scrum – 87%
  • Kanban – 56%
  • ScrumBan – 27%
  • Iterative approach – 20%
  • Scrum/XP hybrid – 13%
  • Lean Startup – 10%
  • Extreme Programming XP – 7%

5) Enterprise Agile Framework Used by Organizations

  • 53% said they are currently leveraging is SAFe
  • 28% are leveraging Scrum@Scale/Scrum of Scrums.

Section 4 – What is Not Working Well Across Agile -Practices, People and Technology

1) Major Challenges in Agile Implementation 

  • 42% respondents believe that lack of enough leadership participation is the biggest barrier to adopting Agile.
  • 40% believe lack of knowledge and resistance to change is another barrier
  • 39% respondents believe it is a lack of management support.

2) Failures in Agile delivery

  • 40% states that company culture is the biggest reason for failure as Agile practices frequently clash with the company culture.
  • 38% report a Lack of management support as a leading cause of unsuccessful delivery with Agile.

3) Challenges related to the Agile tools and techniques

  • 42% said that the company has many legacy systems that require a mixed approach
  • 40% respondents also believe that Agile practices not being used consistently across teams
  • Many organizations have tools that historically support waterfall or an iterative approach, which makes it challenging in shifting to a completely Agile world.

Section 5 – What is Next in Agile Project Management?

This research clearly shows that organizations are actively exploring Agile methodologies but there is a lot of opportunity to refine these processes as many respondents said that they want to use it but are slow in adopting it and less than 1 in 5 are actively using it in their organization. Among those who are using it, the most valuable improvements they see in their teams are end-to-end visibility from business initiative to end users and the ability to identify and measure technical risks. Agile is being asked to do a lot, from managing distributed workforces, driving business value to enable digital transformation. We need to better understand how to leverage and empower Agile in order to accomplish these goals.

All images are taken from the report. You can find the latest State Of Agile Reports here.

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