Agile Development Use Increases, but Barriers Remain

January, 2017

Software development is as important as ever, and agile methodologies have moved into the mainstream. But agile still has a long way to go to attain more widespread adoption in enterprise IT.

As shown in Figure 2 from our full report, Agile Development Adoption and Best Practices, adoption rates have risen from 49% to 55% over the past year, continuing a steady increase since we added it to our survey in 2014. For the first time, agile development methods are embraced by more than half of all IT organizations. Still, many organizations either prefer traditional methods or are not doing in-house development and customization of their applications.

Agile fig 2 - Agile Development Use Increases, but Barriers Remain

Agile also earns a low practice level, meaning that many organizations that practice agile do not practice it fully. This might indicate that there are barriers to implementation or that individual developers are adopting agile development without formal training by the organization as a whole. And even when they are fully ready to adopt agile development, many perceive that it is not right for every project.

“One limitation to agile adoption might be that there isn’t a single meaning to agile,” said Tom Dunlap, research director at Computer Economics, an IT research firm based in Irvine., Calif. “There are many related practices such as scrum and extreme programming that comprise a general philosophy we call agile.” The study discusses some of those options and the basic concepts that comprise agile.

While adoption remains only moderate, agile development continues to gain adherents as organizations respond to continuously changing requirements. In the full study, we report how widely and deeply agile development is being embraced by IT organizations today, by organization size and sector. We conclude with our recommendations on how to best use, and not misuse, agile development methodologies. The agile rating is based on a comparison of the adoption of this practice with the 32 others in our annual major study, IT Management 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).