The future is agile

14th Annual State of Agile: Top trends and challenges in 2020

Sarah Schlothauer
© Shutterstock / Berk Ozel conducted its 14th Annual State of Agile Report, along with a survey addendum to reflect the current 2020 landscape. See what Agile methodologies and tools are currently trending and continue onwards on your Agile journey.

How are agile businesses changing in 2020? The 14th Annual State of Agile Report took a look into the enterprise, what Agile techniques companies are implementing, their benefits, and what’s trending. The survey was conducted by and collected responses from 1,121 people across the world from a number of different enterprise sectors.

Have a look at some of the findings from the longest-running agile report and see what you can use in your Agile journey.

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Agile by the numbers

Let’s explore the top responses. Respondents answered what tools they recommend most, their top reasons for implementing Agile techniques, and which techniques they employ the most.

Top 5 reasons for adopting Agile

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

  1. Accelerate software delivery (71%)
  2. Enhance the ability to manage changing priorities (63%)
  3. Increased productivity (51%)
  4. Improve business/IT alignment (47%)
  5. Enhance software quality (42%)

Top 5 Agile techniques

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

  1. Daily standup (85%)
  2. Retrospectives (81%)
  3. Sprint/Iteration planning (79%)
  4. Sprint/Iteration (77%)
  5. Short iterations (64%)

Top 5 Agile tools

There are many tools to choose from, but which are the best? Survey respondents recommend these tools:

  1. Atlassian JIRA (78%)
  2. VersionOne (76%)
  3. Atlassian JIRA Align (57%)
  4. LeanKit (54%)
  5. Target Process (54%)

Trending tactics in 2020

This year, a few notable changes stand out. Scrum is now more common than in previous years, as it is now the most commonly deployed framework for addressing development issues. 75% of survey respondents practice Scrum or a hybrid technique incorporating it.

This year, the benefit of cost reduction was less of a factor than in previous years. Instead, organizations are focusing on audit compliance, and measuring technical risks.

As for challenges in 2020, the most cited issue respondents face is the difficulty of establishing an Agile culture to organizations. The report states:

The highest-ranked challenges to adopting and scaling Agile continue to be related to
organizational culture.General organizational resistance to change, inadequate management support and sponsorship, and organizational culture at odds with Agile values remain in the top 5 challenges.

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Agile while working from home

In May 2020, added a short addendum in order to take the effects of COVID-19 into consideration. Companies have responded to necessary remote work and now plan to increase the pace and scale of their Agile journey, as the benefits of it become more apparent in the current working from home landscape.

From the press release:

55 percent say their company plans to increase the use of Agile in the next 12-14 months. This is an increase of 13 percent over the original survey completed just five months ago.

43 percent of organizations say their momentum for Agile adoption has increased over the past 90 days, with 15 percent saying it has increased significantly.

33 percent say they increased or expanded Agile adoption in the last 90 days to help manage distributed teams.

Teams new to the methodologies should brush up on the Agile manifesto, originally written in 2011, and the twelve guiding principles.

Sarah Schlothauer

Sarah Schlothauer

All Posts by Sarah Schlothauer

Sarah Schlothauer is the editor for She received her Bachelor's degree from Monmouth University, West Long Branch, New Jersey. She currently lives in Frankfurt, Germany with her husband and cat where she enjoys reading, writing, and medieval reenactment. She is also the editor for Conditio Humana, an online magazine about ethics, AI, and technology.

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