According to the 13th annual State of Agile study, the importance of DevOps—as well as a rising convergence between agile and DevOps—is on the rise this year.

The findings, which were generated from responses to a study sponsored by software supplier CollabNet VersionOne from software professionals in various professions and sectors around the world, identify the trends and themes that now drive agile adoption and practices.

While many of the findings from the 2018 State of Agile Report haven’t changed, there have been some changes in respondents’ reasons for adopting agile. Here are a few noteworthy trends and their implications for software developers.

1. Scrum and SAFe remain the agile power players

Scrum continues to be the dominant force, with 72 percent of respondents using it alone or as part of a hybrid. Scrum/XP use, for example, has increased from 6% to 10% of respondents in the last year.

And the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) remains the most popular scaling method, with 30% of respondents utilizing it. Scrum of Scrums came in second place, with 16 percent indicating it’s their preferred scaling strategy.

2. Same impediments, new motivations for agile adoption

The most significant hurdle to adopting and expanding agile is organizational culture. The most prevalent issues mentioned include resistance to change, a lack of management support, and a culture that is in conflict with agile values.

What drives teams to adopt agile practices? The most common reason given was to speed up software delivery, but there were other additional factors at play. For example, the number of people indicating project cost reduction as a key reason for adopting agile increased dramatically while enhancing productivity and lowering project risk decreased.

Reductions in project costs were mentioned by 27 percent of respondents as a benefit. Agile adopters, on the other hand, are dedicated to achieving success. Internal agile coaches, senior support, and company-provided training, according to respondents, are the most important factors in ensuring that agile scales successfully.

3. DevOps/agile alignment tightens

Delivering high-quality software at scale remains a major business initiative, with 90 percent of respondents rating DevOps as critical (up 27% from last year). The majority of respondents (73%) claimed they have a DevOps project planned or in the works.

Improving DevOps methods is also becoming increasingly important. End-to-end traceability from business initiative to development, testing, and deployment is valued by 38 percent of respondents.

4. Value stream management is gaining traction

This year’s study included the first mention of value stream management (VSM), and 67 percent of respondents said it was critical to connect the business to its software delivery capacity. VSM is a new technique that helps firms enjoy the benefits of agile and DevOps by connecting their business to their software delivery processes.

What’s next for agile?

Business leaders seek continuous insight across value streams as more firms recognize the need to integrate agile and DevOps to expand and deliver the highest-quality software. The agile market will be propelled forward by this focus on value stream management. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the future.

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