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By Joel Riddle
Scrum is exploding across the industry according to the latest annual State of Agile Survey. Yesterday I talked to Robert Holler, CEO of VersionOne, a maker of agile tools and the sponsor of the survey. He believes the most dramatic number is a 14% increase in people planning to implement agile projects in the future. That forward-looking metric coincides with an increase in the number of companies scaling Scrum (a 15 point up-tick.) Why the bump?

Holler attributes this increase to a decade of compelling evidence. Scrum has consistently shown to mitigate risk, accelerate time to market and effectively manage change, and the message has gotten out. Go agile, or go under.

Given the typical lifetime adoption cycle of new technologies, Holler predicts this year and next will be a tipping point for agile methodologies. In another decade, agile will be completely mainstream.
What’s Your Impediment?
According to the survey, Scrum Masters should be spending a lot of time mentoring Product Owners (POs) and executives. Of the over four thousand respondents only one percent found POs to be Scrum savvy. Executives faired slightly better with a whopping two percent. (Find out why managers need Scrum in our webinar.)
Not a big surprise. At Scrum Inc., we consistently see POs struggling to grasp what the customer really wants and translating that vision into a product backlog. The PO needs to understand the business value of multiple product features; meet customers’ unknown needs and prioritize the work in order to maximize return on investment (ROI). Those skills are hard to find in one person and even harder to execute. POs can be a real lynch pin in Scrum. A company that doesn’t value its POs isn’t going to get the most out of agile.
Who’s the Boss?
Executives get a bad wrap, and no doubt many in the C-suite may not appreciate the self-organizing nature of Scrum. However, given the strong up-tick in companies adopting and scaling Scrum and the recent emergence of management metrics in the Scrum community, executives seem to have caught on. The survey found that executive buy-in is the number one factor to successful agile implementation.
We are the World
The best news for Scrum Inc. is that 72% of all agile practitioners use Scrum or a Scrum variant. Basically, if you are adopting an agile method and want to have a well trained and knowledge staff, go Scrum.
View the cool survey info graphic here.
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