The 2015 State of Scrum Report is out and you can also download it here. From the survey results, we see that Scrum is becoming an increasingly popular and in-demand framework. There are no surprises here as most of the Agile / Scrum agilists like me already know the future… We love scrum and this is the future.

What is 2015 State of Scrum Report?

Every year, Scrum Alliance® do a survey of people who use or have used Scrum to know : How the world is successfully applying the most popular Agile approach to projects? Are they failing or succeeding?

In February 2015, Scrum Alliance® surveyed 4452 people about their use of Scrum. The survey respondents make up a diverse group, representing 108 countries and more than 14 industries. They reflect a range of functional areas, including IT software development, product development, operations, human resources, executives, and sales and marketing. Most have a technology slant, with 44% working in software development and 33% in IT. And they’re an Agile-savvy group, involved in an average of 4 Agile projects in the last 12 months.

Who is practicing scrum?

Scrum is reaching beyond IT. Scrum crosses industries, functional areas, and regions around the world. IT and software development professionals continue to be the primary users of Scrum, followed by product development and operations professionals. However, other departments use it as well, including research and development, sales and marketing, finance/accounting, human resources, and more.

Why are they practicing scrum?

Delight the customer, delight the business. In the case of Scrum, what’s good for the customer is also good for the business.

  • Nearly half the respondents (49%) cite fulfilling customer needs as the highest business priority for Scrum projects. This reflects Scrum’s focus on the customer.
  • Meanwhile, the second-highest priority is all about the business — meeting budget, time, and scope constraints. This reflects Scrum’s focus on delivering shippable increments on time and on budget.

Scrum improves the quality of work life.

  • 87% agree that Scrum is improving the quality of work life for their teams.
  • Interestingly, 71% also believe that using Scrum causes tension with other parts of the organization not using Scrum.

How are they practicing scrum?

Most respondents report that they adhere to core Scrum and standard recommendations for practicing Scrum in terms of using Scrum artifacts and activities and following the recommended roles and team size.

  • The average team size is 7 people.
  • Most Scrum teams (60%) follow 2-week sprints.
  • 81% hold a team Scrum each day.
  • 83% conduct sprint planning prior to each sprint.
  • 90% use at least some Scrum artifacts, such as the product backlog, sprint backlog, and burndown chart, with 56% reporting they use these artifacts extensively.
  • 81% hold retrospective meetings.

But distributed teams are more prevalent than co-located teams.

  • 33% of respondents report their Scrum teams are distributed, versus 26% whose teams are co-located.

And many organizations mix and match approaches and frameworks.

  • 42% of respondents report using Scrum exclusively.
  • Of those using a combination of practices, 63% practice Scrum alongside Waterfall.
  • 43% combine Scrum with Kanban.
  • 21% combine Scrum with Lean

Is scrum working?

Scrum success is increasing.

  • The overall success rate of projects delivered using Scrum is 62%.
  • Teams of the recommended size for Scrum — 4 to 9 members — report the most frequent success, while smaller and larger teams both report less frequent success.

Some challenges remain.

  • The most common challenge for respondents — at 52% — is identifying and measuring the success of Scrum projects.
  • The second most common challenge — at 46% — is transitioning from a Waterfallbased method to Scrum practices.

Role of certifications

It’s rarely required but commonly recommended.

  • 81% of respondents believe certification has helped their Scrum practice.
  • Nearly half of respondents’ organizations recommend certification, though only 7% require it.
  • 59% of ScrumMasters are certified.

It will be interesting to see whether certification will become a priority for organizations as they work to gain an edge over their competitors.

Variable that impact scrum

The size of an organization impacts implementation and success. As organizational size increases, some key measures change significantly:

  • Sprints get longer, averaging 2.7 weeks for teams of 10+ members.
  • The top challenge shifts from measuring Scrum success to transitioning from Waterfall to Scrum.

This may reflect resource constraints in smaller companies and, meanwhile, effort required to change the direction of large entities.

Geographic region matters. Respondents globally report using Scrum 40%-49% of the time.

  • Respondents from North America and Asia report practicing Scrum most often.
  • Europe and Australia report the highest Scrum project success rates.
  • Organizations in the Middle East and North Africa report the lowest Scrum project success rates.

Organizations may vary by region in their comfort with a flat organizational structure, potentially affecting the full implementation of Scrum.

High-level support is critical.

  • Respondents report that senior management sponsorship and support is far and away the most important factor in adopting Scrum.
  • Additionally, Scrum projects run through a project management office (PMO) have a 93% success rate.

The future of scrum

Scrum is expanding beyond software. Scrum has expanded into a variety of departments within organizations.

  • Respondents reveal the use of Scrum in non-IT projects run by operations, production, research and development, and sales and marketing.

The forecast for Scrum is positive.

  • 95% of respondents say they plan to continue to use Scrum moving forward.
  • Given that Scrum is expanding beyond software, we expect to see not only continued demand but in fact an intense surge in demand for skilled Scrum practitioners and experts.

You can download the 2015 State of Scrum Report here or view it below.