Agile Development Practices Still Immature

November, 2015

One response to what some perceive as a high rate of failure for software development projects today is the emergence of agile development, a general term for a group of software development methods that emphasize collaboration within tightly knit teams, taking advantage of adaptive planning, early delivery, continuous improvement, and the ability to respond rapidly to change.

This is a practice that merits consideration by every IT organization that engages in software development while struggling with the need to continuously adapt to a changing environment. Adoption of this practice, however, remains relatively immature, as shown in Figure 1 from our study, Agile Development Adoption and Best Practices.


Agile Fig1 - Agile Development Practices Still Immature

The maturity profile compares agile development with the 32 other practices. The ratings are based on a relative scale, defined by the lowest and highest values for the other IT management best practices in the analysis. The study’s findings are as follows:

  • Adoption Rate: Relative to the other IT best practices in our study, the percentage of organizations practicing agile development is moderate, if barely so. While adoption is growing, it is far from a standard practice.
  • Practice Level: The practice level is low. Among companies that have embraced agile development, the percentage that claim to be “fully practicing” falls within the bottom third of our scale.
  • Maturity Rating: This practice earns a low maturity rating based on its combined adoption and practice-level ratings. Many of the practitioners are just at the beginning stages of adoption.

After more than two decades of maturation, agile development methodologies have a track record of speeding the development cycle, improving functionality, and raising user satisfaction ratings, proponents say. While adoption remains moderate, agile development is gaining momentum. In the full study, we present findings on how widely and deeply this practice is being embraced by IT organizations. We look at adoption by organization size and sector, and we outline the best practices.

This Research Byte is a brief overview of our report on this subject, Agile Development Adoption and Best Practices. The full report is available at no charge for Computer Economics clients, or it may be purchased by non-clients directly from our website (click for pricing).