Agile is showing a broader penetration into organizations, according to results in VersionOne’s fifth annual “State of Agile Survey.” There were 4,694 respondents, ranging from project managers, development managers, developers and senior managers.

Compared with the results from two years ago, experience with agile is steadily on the rise. In 2008, 30% of the 3,061 participants considered themselves moderately knowledgeable and 11% said they were extremely knowledgeable. In 2010, 43% said they were moderately knowledgeable and 26% said they were extremely knowledgeable.

Two years ago, 18% of the respondents said they had very little knowledge with agile, while this year only 8% indicated this. In 2008, 41% considered themselves knowledgeable with agile, while 23% said they were in this year’s survey.

“What you’re seeing are folks showing a broader base of knowledge,” said Robert Holler, CEO of VersionOne, an agile software vendor.
The number of teams using agile within an organization fluctuated. This year, 27% of organizations with zero to two development teams adopted agile, down from 59% of from 2008. Organizations with three to five teams also grew in agile adoption rate, with 27% this year as compared to 23% in 2009. Larger organizations with 12 or more teams indicated that 27% had adopted agile, compared to 18% last year and 3% in 2008.

“This year’s respondents have validated that agile is moving further into the mainstream and that organizations are scaling their agile initiatives; nearly half of all software projects use agile methodologies compared to less than 33% four years ago,” Holler said.

Scrum still reigns supreme, with 58% of the respondents indicating it as their methodology of choice. In a distant second was a hybrid of Scrum and XP, which 18% of the respondents said they use. XP by itself was used by 4% of the participants, the survey said.

Interestingly, management support, the ability to change organizational culture and general resistance to change, remained at the forefronts of participants’ minds when indicating barriers to further agile adoption.

But to Holler these results came as no surprise. “I think there might have been this anticipation five years ago that agile would take over the world,” he said. “I really look at it as a 10, 15 even 20-year process simply because people have to get comfortable with it and you can’t really accelerate that in terms of time.”