Agile Not for Everyone

March, 2020

After a steady rise in recent years, the growth in agile development is starting to taper off. Adoption was flat year over year, and we may be closing in on the ceiling for agile. Agile development is an important tool for organizations with high-level development needs, such as software and cloud providers. However, for companies that do little custom development, agile might not be right for them. Agile still has room to grow, but it is likely to be a slower climb, at least among corporate IT organizations.

As shown in Figure 2 from our full report, Agile Development Adoption and Best Practices, 60% of survey respondents practiced agile development in 2019, the same amount as practiced in 2018. In 2015, only 49% practiced agile, and that figure rose steadily until 2018.

Fig2Agile2020RB 1030x687 - Agile Not for Everyone

Agile development is an umbrella term for a set of software development methods that emphasize collaboration within tightly knit teams, iterative development, early delivery, continuous improvement, and the ability to respond rapidly to changing requirements.

“Most software developers will tell you that agile is the only way to develop software,” said David Wagner, senior director of research for Computer Economics, an IT research firm based in Irvine, Calif. “However, when requirements are fairly stable and well-understood, a more traditional development approach may be best. Also, agile works best when developers can be assigned to single projects over a longer period of time which is not always possible, especially in smaller companies.”

One difficult part of discussing agile is that it is often peppered with slang that changes quickly with pop culture references. It is easy to become confused with terms such as sprints, slicing, burndown charts, and other buzzwords. Instead, it helps to think of the basic approaches of agile and leave the slang to the developers. The major approaches to software development that fall under the agile umbrella are each covered in the full report.

In the full report, we analyze 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.

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