Agile in Software Development: Enterprise Adoption Rate

With the launch of Agile in the early 2000s, IT departments initially relied exclusively on the new way of working. Soon, however, agile principles also found their way into other areas of the company: from sales and marketing to the back office.

In the second half of 2015, CIO magazine was able to announce: “Scrum overtakes waterfall”. More precisely: 35 percent of the projects are carried out according to agile methods such as Scrum, 32 percent according to a mix of proven and new methods (including waterfall).

Since then, the spread of agile methods has increased significantly. A KPMG study on Agile (from 2019, 128 participating companies) shows the following adoption rates of Agile in companies:

And differentiated according to the maturity phase of Agile methods/projects, the following picture emerges from the KPMG study:

According to the latest State of the Agile Report 2022 (3,220 respondents), a slightly different picture emerges, namely the following adoption rate per business unit: 86% – Software Development

  • 63% – IT
  • 29% – Operations
  • 17% – Marketing
  • 16% – HR
  • 10% – Finance
  • Track record & challenges

    There are good reasons for the high – and still rising – adoption rate, ranging from a reduced time-to-market for products, an increase in team productivity and an improvement in project visibility. The potential for improvement can now be quantified well, and there are numerous studies on this (source: A few examples:

  • Only 9 percent of all agile projects fail. Waterfall projects in comparison: 29 percent
  • teams that rely on Full Scrum for product development can significantly reduce the number of errors. This increases product quality enormously – by up to 250 percent
  • Agile teams “work” better. In practice, this means that you work 25 percent more productively. This also has an impact on time-to-market. Teams are about 50 percent faster to market with their product than non-agile teams. This is mainly due to the fact that teams in Agile focus more on their current tasks.
  • At the same time, however, it is also true that the introduction of agile methods (i.e. Agile Transformation) can fail. Jeff Sutherland, co-founder of the Scrum framework, even assumes that 47 percent of all agile transformations fail.

    The aforementioned State of the Agile Report identifies the most common challenges: insufficient executive involvement (42%), insufficient knowledge of Agile (40%), the company’s overall resistance to change (40%), and insufficient support and/or sponsorship from management (39%).

    In addition to limited Agile leadership, corporate culture is another challenge that was mentioned. 40% are dissatisfied with Agile in their organization, as statistics show that Agile practices often clash with company culture. In fact, company culture is cited as the main cause of an unsuccessful implementation of “Agile”.

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    The author is a manager in the software industry with international expertise: Authorized officer at one of the large consulting firms - Responsible for setting up an IT development center at the Bangalore offshore location - Director M&A at a software company in Berlin.