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State of Agile: Things You Need to Know

17th May, 2024
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    State of Agile: Things You Need to Know

    How are agile businesses changing in 2023? Digital.aithe creator of the industry’s first intelligent Value Stream, recently published its 16th Annual State of Agile Report and a survey addendum to reflect the 2022 landscape. The report looked into the enterprise, what Agile techniques companies are implementing, their benefits, and what’s trending. 

    The report provides the most comprehensive data in the world to benchmark your Agile practice and plan your next wave of expansion. The survey documents the experiences of more than 3,220 business and IT professionals across a range of industries and roles worldwide.  

    About 40,000 Agile practitioners, consultants, and executives have shared their insights to make this the longest-running and largest report. It revealed insights beyond the general results by filtering them along demographic lines for the first time. The analysis indicates a correlation between the time practicing Agile, the ability to manage the changing priorities, and improved time to market. Go for CSM certification training and get experiential learning with case studies, scrum activities, role plays & simulations.

    State of Agile in Numbers 

    Let us explore the top responses to the survey in numbers. Respondents answered their top reasons for implementing Agile techniques, which techniques and methodologies they employ the most, what tools they recommend most, and the top benefits of using Agile. 

    Top Five Reasons for Adopting Agile

    Top five reasons for adopting Agile
    Top Five Reasons For Adopting Agile  

    Respondents were asked why their teams adopted Agile methodologies and techniques. These were the most responded benefits:

    • Accelerate software delivery (71 percent) 
    • Enhance the ability to manage to change priorities (63 percent) 
    • Increased productivity (51 percent) 
    • Improve business/IT alignment (47 percent) 
    • Enhance software quality (42 percent)  

    This year, the reasons for implementing Agile were more about reducing project risks than project costs.

    Top Five Agile Techniques Employed

    These are the five most used tactics that help teams adhere to the twelve principles of Agile.

    Top five Agile techniques employed
    Top Five Agile Techniques Employed The Daily Standup was the most common Agile technique in organizations. The most notable changes from last year were a decrease in Release Planning (51 percent this year as opposed to 57 percent last year) and an increase in Product Road Mapping (49 percent this year as opposed to 45 percent last year). 

    Top Five Benefits of Adopting Agile
    Top five benefits of adopting Agile
    Top five benefits of adopting Agile

    We see that the top five benefits of adopting Agile are built around speed and adaptability. Project Cost Reduction was last on the list, with only 26 percent of the respondents considering it to be the benefit of Agile implementation. 

    Top Five Agile Methodologies 
    Top five Agile methodologies
    Top five Agile methodologies

    The survey shows that Scrum and its variants are the most common methodologies used for Agile implementation. 3 percent of the respondents didn’t know the methodology used by their organization.  

    Top Five Agile Project Management Tools
    Top recommended project management tools
    Top recommended project management tools

    Respondents were asked if they would recommend the tools based on their experience. Atlassian JIRA and VersionOne were the most recommended tools. 

    Five Critical Takeaways from State of Agile Report 2023

    1. Many Organizations Still Learning to Adopt Agile
    percentage of teams using Agile
    percentage of teams using Agile

    The survey showed that only 18 percent of the organizations implemented Agile for all the teams. 77 percent of the organizations had still not implemented Agile in all the company’s teams. With 5 percent of the organizations yet to adopt Agile, there is clearly plenty of area for growth. 

    Agile maturity
    Agile maturity While 95 percent of organizations have some form of agile process in place, practice maturity and adoption remain a work in progress. Around 50 percent of respondents report that less than half of their teams are using agile, and 84 percent acknowledge that their organizations are below a high level of competencies.  

    2. Areas Other Than Software Development Yet to Take Advantage of Agile

    Areas of organization practicing Agile
    Areas of organization practicing Agile  Agile practices are not limited to software organizations. The survey data showed that while Software Development continues to be the major area for Agile adoption, other areas like IT and Operations have also started adopting the methodology. Other areas in the organization are yet to take advantage of everything the Agile approach offers. 

    3. More Business Outcome KPIs, Fewer Metrics 

    As per the respondents, accelerated delivery speed is the most critical measure of the success of Agile initiatives. Next is improved quality, followed by reduced risk and increased customer satisfaction. Reduced IT costs are low on the spectrum, with just 39 percent considering it as important for measuring success.  

    4. How Success is Measured in Agile Transformations?

    Agile success and metrics
    Agile success and metrics   When asked how organizations measure success of Agile transformations, the top measures of success were consistent with those reported over the last few years. Outcomes, customer satisfaction and business value ranked higher than outputs like on-time delivery and productivity. 

    The survey results for this section remain consistent over the past few years. There might be some ups and downs. But overall, Customer Satisfaction and Business Value are at a higher rank than productivity and on-time delivery. 

    5. How Success is Measured in Individual Agile Projects?

    How success is measured in individual Agile projects
    How Success is Measured in individual Agile project  As with Agile transformations, business value delivered and customer or user satisfaction remained the top two measures of success for individual projects.  

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    Scaling Agile Faces Culture Challenges

    Methods and approaches of scaling Agile
    Methods and Approaches of Scaling Agile  About one-third of respondents are applying the Scaled Agile Framework, roughly another third are using other scaling frameworks, and another third stated they didn't know/other. There appear to be several common challenges in scaling agile as over 40 percent of respondents cited six challenges/barriers with adopting and scaling agile practices. 

    These included: resistance to change, lack of leadership participation, inconsistent processes, misaligned organization versus agile values, inadequate management support, and insufficient training.    

    Challenges experienced when adopting and scaling Agile
    Challenges experienced when adopting and scaling Agile Enterprises are adopting the framework at a remarkable rate, which shows that companies want to get the benefits of a structured framework included in the Lean/Agile BoK of SAFe.  

    The lack of qualified professionals also remains one of the common challenges with insufficient leadership participation (46 percent) at number 2 and lack of experience or skills with Agile methods (41 percent) at number 6.  

    The report also shows that culture is the primary target of change as it affects the thinking and working of the organization. 

    Agile Organizations Slowly Adopting DevOps 

    DevOps practices are a strong partner to agile methodologies, and 69 percent of survey respondents stated that DevOps transformation was either important or very important to their organization. But adoption of DevOps practices lags behind its importance, with only 55 percent employing continuous integrations and 41 percent continuous delivery. Only 36 percent practice continuous deployment. 

    The top two benefits targeted are accelerated delivery speed (70 percent) and improved quality (62 percent). But respondents are tackling quality first, with 67 percent implementing unit testing and 58 percent coding standards, even higher engineering practices over the 55 percent on continuous integration.  

    More than half of the respondents reported that their organization was already implementing Value Stream Management (VSM) or had plans to do so. VSM is a combination of people, technology, and processes that maps, measures, optimizes, visualizes, and governs the business value flow using a heterogeneous enterprise delivery pipeline.  

    Each level of automation requires investment and additional work to prove its robustness. There are seven prerequisites before improving release frequencies, and that requires investment in aspects of these seven DevOps practices. Even so, there are questions DevOps teams should answer before increasing deployment frequency. 


    The Agile approach is predominantly implemented in the software or information technology sector. The benefits an organization can reap once Agile is implemented in other areas would also be tremendous. Below is a quick summary of key insights from the report. Go for KnowledgeHut CSPO certification and excel in the field.

    • Cost reduction is not anymore one of the primary reasons to adopt the Agile approach. 
    • Identifying technical risk before deployment is considered very valuable by 34 percent of the respondents, which was 22 percent last year. 
    • Greater Agile maturity is correlated to the time of practicing Agile. The time since Agile adoption is also related to the increased ability to manage the changing priorities and improved time market. Organizations that have practiced Agile for more than 5 years have a greater percentage of DevOps initiatives and interest in Value Stream Management.  
    • Companies with 20,000 or more people are more likely to have been using Agile for 5 or more years. Companies with less than 1,000 people correlated to a higher percentage of all their teams implementing the Agile approach.  
    • More than half of the respondents stated their companies either implement VSM or plan to do so.  
    • Risk and compliance increased by 54 percent to be the top value to identify and measure technical risk before the deployment begins. 
    • SAFe is the most popular scaling method, increasing 5 percent over the last year. 
    • There was a shift in Agile techniques as release planning decreased by 11 percent while product road-mapping increased by 9 percent. This change can be attributed to increased CI/CD and better program increment planning. 
    • Agile is mainly confined to software development, operations, and the IT sector. However, it is expected that by next year, the organization will expand agility into areas beyond developing, deploying, and maintaining software solutions. 

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    1. What is the state of agile report?

    Agile state report provides the most comprehensive data in the world to benchmark Agile practice and plan your next wave of expansion.

    2. What are the three levels of agile planning?

    The three levels of scaled agile framework are team level, program level, and portfolio level.

    3. What are the five states of agile life cycle?

    The 5 stages of agile development lifecycle are:

    a. Ideation

    b. Development

    c. Testing

    d. Deployment

    e. Operations


    Lindy Quick

    Blog Author

    Lindy Quick, SPCT, is a dynamic Transformation Architect and Senior Business Agility Consultant with a proven track record of success in driving agile transformations. With expertise in multiple agile frameworks, including SAFe, Scrum, and Kanban, Lindy has led impactful transformations across diverse industries such as manufacturing, defense, insurance/financial, and federal government. Lindy's exceptional communication, leadership, and problem-solving skills have earned her a reputation as a trusted advisor. Currently associated with KnowledgeHut and upGrad, Lindy fosters Lean-Agile principles and mindset through coaching, training, and successful execution of transformations. With a passion for effective value delivery, Lindy is a sought-after expert in the field.

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