Project Management: It’s Scrum or Nothing, Says New Study

A lot of attention is paid to Scrum, but how widely used is it? According to a new study, it’s the leading project management methodology. The second most widely used is… well, nothing at all.

SlashData’s latest Developer Economics study touches on project management practices to gauge which are actually in use. Scrum leads the way, with 37 percent of respondents saying it is utilized at their company.

Digging further into which project management methods are used, the catch basin category of “Agile-Waterfall hybrids” (which SlashData notes as ‘Scrummerfall’ or ‘Waterscrum’ (terrible names, by the way)) scored 21 percent, while Kanban checks in with 20 percent. Waterfall was used 15 percent of the time, and Feature-Driven Development (FDD) hit 10 percent.

Both Lean and Extreme Programming (XP) scored nine percent. Adaptive Software Development (ASD) and Scrumban are in use by six percent of developers, and Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM) landed at three percent.

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Around 19 percent of respondents say they don’t use any specific method for side projects, which is to say they’re not beholden to a particular methodology. While they may use Scrum at work, their own side projects or freelance work is less organized.

Interestingly, 23 percent say they don’t use any specific project management methodology for any project. This suggests not only is this group not making an attempt to use any specific project management method in their own projects, they don’t use it at work, either.

As SlashData also notes, this data encapsulates all developers, both professional and amateur. It says pros use Scrum some 45 percent of the time, while Agile-Waterfall hybrids and Kanban are both used 25 percent of the time for professional projects. From SlashData:

It appears that it takes a certain amount of experience for professional developers to appreciate the benefits of iterative project management styles and to embrace some of the leading agile frameworks like Scrum, Kanban, and, by extension, Scrumban. The adoption of Scrum almost doubles as experience in software development increases from less than a year to at least six years (from 27% to 48%). So does the adoption of Kanban (from 14% to 29%) and of FDD (from 6% to 12%). FDD, much like other agile frameworks, is an iterative process built around making progress on product features and is, therefore, a not so intuitive method for less experienced developers who are naturally more accustomed to linear processes.

The report goes on to note: “Agile has already taken over the software world.” It seems the alternative is nothing at all, at least for the developer world at-large.

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