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Hannah Taylor

20+ Agile Statistics: All About Agile Adoption

Interested to learn how agile project management is used in businesses today? The numbers don't lie! Dive into our curated list of up-to-date agile statistics.

Whether you're determining if Agile is the right framework for your team or getting to grips with the complex glossary of project management, you’re in the right place.

We’ve pulled together the most up-to-date statistics on Agile to help you understand how this framework is used in businesses today, its impact on project success, and what challenges those using Agile face daily. Let’s get started!

Agile methodologies: a brief overview

Agile has its pros and cons, as we’ll explore later in this article, but there’s no denying it’s the go-to project management approach for organizations prioritizing speed, productivity, and scalability.

Before we jump into the numbers, let’s recap what Agile is, which methodologies it encompasses, and how this framework has developed since its inception.

What are the Agile methodologies?

Agile is a group of methodologies that prioritize collaborative work, adaptive planning, continuous improvement, and — as the name suggests — a degree of agility in response to change. The umbrella term ‘Agile’ encompasses multiple methodologies and frameworks, with Scrum being the most popular, as confirmed by's recent 16th State of Agile report. When asked which methodologies they’re leveraging, respondents answered as below:

  • 87% Scrum
  • 56% Kanban
  • 27% ScrumBan
  • 20% Iterative
  • 13% Scrum/XP Hybrid scrum model
  • 10% Lean Startup
  • 7% Extreme Programming (XP)
  • 12% Other methodologies
  • 2% None of the above

A brief history of Agile methods

Agile was originally developed in the 1990s to aid cross-functional teams working on software projects as a flexible alternative to traditional project management approaches, such as waterfall. In 2001, 17 software developers came together to create the Manifesto for Agile Software Development, which outlines the 12 principles and Agile values that define the framework.

Over the next decade, methodologies like Scrum, which emphasizes collaboration and iterative delivery, gained traction. Agile expanded beyond software development and began influencing the broader project management profession.

In the 2010s, new frameworks were developed to help scale Agile in large organizations, and Lean principles, such as Kanban, were integrated to refine the methodology further.

While Agile started as a set of process-focused principles, it has since evolved into a philosophy that underscores the importance of business-wide agility and culture.

What industries use Agile?

Today, dozens of industries make use of Agile practices. The respondents to’s 16th State of Agile report stated they work in the below industries, which each uses Agile methodologies in different ways:

  • 27% technology: In software development, Agile helps teams adapt to changing requirements, implement customer feedback, and work iteratively.
  • 18% financial services: Those working in financial services may use Agile to adjust to market changes, refine products based on feedback, and foster team collaboration when tackling complex challenges.
  • 8% professional services: Professional services teams, such as agencies or consultants, may adopt Agile for iterative client engagements and agile project management.
  • 8% healthcare/ pharma: Agile can help those in healthcare refine patient care processes and adapt to ever-evolving conditions.
  • 7% government: Many governments have implemented Agile to accelerate policy roll-outs, enhance public services, and improve inter-departmental collaboration.
  • 5% industrial manufacturing: Agile can be aligned with Lean principles in manufacturing companies to help minimize waste and improve responsiveness.
  • 5% insurance: Insurance companies need to refine product offerings, process claims, and deliver enhanced customer-centric digital solutions quickly; all challenges following Agile processes can support.

The remaining 16% of respondents stated they work in telecommunication (4%), transportation (3%), energy (3%), education (2%), and others (7%).

How popular is Agile?

Agile is widely considered to be the most popular project management approach, but is this true? Let's look at the Agile adoption statistics.

  • According to Organize Agile, close to half of all organizations have been using Agile for three years or more, and 81% of respondents to a 2019 KPMG study stated they'd started their Agile transformation within the last 3 years.
  • According to’s 15th State of Agile report, Agile adoption continues to grow. Between 2020 and 2021, Agile adoption within software development teams increased from 37% to 86%. 
  • Agile Sherpas revealed a huge interest in Agile among those not currently using the framework, with 42% of marketers planning to implement it in the next 12 months.
  • As for why businesses adopt Agile, found that the top reasons among software professionals were an enhanced ability to manage shifting priorities (64%), accelerated software delivery (64%), and increased team productivity (47%).
  • The benefits of Agile, according to Organize Agile, include improved flexibility and agility (83%), financial results (68%), and the creation of a more open and productive culture (61%).

Agile qualifications

As more businesses adopt Agile practices, more teams will need Scrum Masters, one of the most desirable roles in businesses using Scrum. What's the bar of entry for those looking to qualify as a Scrum Master?

  • dove into Scrum Masters’ education backgrounds, finding that 38.8% hold a bachelor’s degree, 33.7% hold a master’s degree, and 9.2% hold a diploma, with most starting their Agile careers with technical/engineering backgrounds (45.1%) or business degrees (20.3%). Plus, salary increases with the number and quality of certificates obtained.
  • Scrum Alliance & Business Agility Institute found that 22% of Agile coaches report investing more than 21 hours in professional learning monthly.
  • Finally, according to Scrum, over 881,750 Professional Scrum certifications are held globally.

How does Agile methodology usage vary by industry?

Agile has evolved beyond its origins, with HR to marketing teams making use of Agile methodologies. Here are some of the most interesting statistics exploring Agile’s use across industries.

  • According to, these are the organizational areas and departments that have the highest adoption of Agile practices:
  • 86% Software development
  • 63% IT
  • 29% Operations
  • 17% Marketing
  • 17% Security
  • 16% HR
  • 11% Sales/Sales ops
  • 10% Finance
  • 10% Hardware development

Agile in government

Agile has gained popularity in public sector institutions around the world, including the U.S. government.

Deloitte found that, by 2017, 80% of U.S. federal IT projects were Agile or iterative compared to 10% in 2011, while 78% of U.S. government executives surveyed believed using Agile and DevOps methodologies had a significant positive impact on their organization. 

In its State of Agile Culture report, JCURV wrote that Africa has the highest agile culture score (79%) of all organizations interviewed across all continents, while North America had the lowest score at 32%.

Agile in marketing

More recently, there's been a rise in the popularity of Agile marketers.

Agile Sherpas reported marketing teams using Agile identified that they could prioritize work more effectively (76%), improve team productivity (73%), improve the quality of marketing (71%), and improve team morale (64%).

However, the biggest barriers preventing marketing departments from fully implementing Agile approaches include that their current process is working well enough (33%), a lack of training or knowledge about Agile approaches (25%), and a lack of support from management or executives (17%).

When Agile Sherpas asked which popular Agile frameworks and practices marketing teams use, they responded:

  • 42% Daily standup
  • 36% Digital Kanban board
  • 35% Sprint/iteration planning
  • 33% Retrospectives
  • 33% Frequent releases
  • 31% Sprint/iteration review

Agile in HR

Interestingly, Agile is also becoming increasingly popular among HR professionals.

A Gartner survey revealed that 63% of HR leaders already use some variation of Agile methods and principles, with State of Agile HR finding that the top reason for adopting Agile methods is motivating current employees. Plus, 65% believe the Covid-19 pandemic positively influenced the transformation towards Agile HR.

How effective is Agile, really?

We’ve established that Agile has transformed project management practices across industries. But does it work?

  • McKinsey and Co. research shows that the benefits of Agile are undeniable; compared to non-Agile teams, 93% of Agile organizations reported better customer satisfaction, 76% reported better employee engagement, and 93% reported better operational performance.
  • CA Technologies found that Agile teams doing full Scrum have 250% better quality than teams that do no estimating.
  • Scrum Alliance has found that 78% of Scrum practitioners would recommend the framework to colleagues, friends, or other professionals.
  • In terms of how Agile teams are measured on their success, 47% are measured by on-time delivery, while 44% are measured by Business Objectives Achieved. 
  • Yet, Agile success is about more than processes and standups; building a strong Agile culture in your organization results in a more passionate, engaged, and happier workforce, as well as increased commercial performance of 237%, according to JCURV.

What are the challenges of adopting Agile?

Agile may be incredibly popular, but it isn’t without its challenges. According to the data, many of the problems teams using Agile approaches struggle with relate to company culture and support from higher-ups.

After the top challenge of plans changing too often (33%), Agile Sherpas found that people reverting to old (non-Agile) approaches is a big pain point for Agile teams (29%), followed by difficulties managing unplanned work (28%), suggestion challenges with effective capacity planning.

Respondents who identified as being ‘not satisfied’ with Agile practices at their company highlighted ‘company still has many legacy systems requiring mixed approach’ (42%), ‘it is not used consistently across teams’ (40%), and ‘clashes with company culture’ (40%) as the top reasons.

Unsurprisingly, effective utilization, supported by resource planning, is key; McKinsey research found that 46% of respondents agree or strongly agree that during sprint planning, their teams ensure that everyone is fully utilized.

How do leaders engage with Agile projects?

Agile is a popular choice for organizations looking to modernize their processes. However, there appears to be a disconnect between the higher-ups who drive company culture and the teams who seek to benefit from this transformation.

KPMG found that 62% of top management believe Agile has no implications for them, and 32% stated that their agile transformation has no support from top management. Ironically, 59% of respondents mention culture and performance management as their key challenges in their shift toward agility.

When respondents to were asked what the leading causes of unsuccessful delivery with Agile were, the most popular answers were ‘company culture’ (41%), a ‘lack of management support’ (38%), ‘inefficient management collaboration (26%) and an ‘inability to continuously prioritize work’ (25%).

Agile statistics: what's the future for Agile teams?

Agile is all about iteration, so what's next?

While Agile continues to gain traction, there is still work to be done if businesses want to make the most of this framework's undisputed benefits. As a lack of support from management and a misaligned internal culture are among the top challenges Agile teams face, leaders must do more to align Agile work with business value.

At a team level, you can support your team in adopting Agile techniques, begin delivering more impactful Agile projects, and encourage greater Agile transformation by investing in improved capacity planning and cultivating a culture that encourages flexibility and continuous improvement.

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