Agile Marketing Takeaways from the 2017 State of Agile Report

Would you like to better manage changing priorities on your marketing team? How about getting increased visibility into the projects marketing is working on? Or maybe you'd love a little productivity boost so you can finally make a dent in your to-do list? According to the 11th annual State of Agile Report, these benefits are at the top of the list of good stuff that happens when you adopt an Agile approach. Although generally focused on software and IT, this report holds important insights for marketers at every stage of their Agile marketing journey. Some of the most vital takeaways from this year's report include:

  • First-mover advantage for marketing teams who adopt Agile is still available
  • The benefits of agility remain stable, and they apply to all kinds of teams
  • Software and marketing teams face similar challenges as they pursue agility


The Agile Virus Spreads Slowly

While a staggering 94% of the respondents said their organizations are practicing agile, 60% reported that most teams in their organizations aren't yet using Agile.

Only 8% say their entire organization has made the switch, meaning there is still major advantage to be gained by non-IT teams who get Agile ASAP. It was also interesting to see that the length of time people report practicing agile within their organizations remained fairly stable from 2015-2106:

Length of time respondents' organizations have been practicing agile:

  2016 2015
Less than 1 Year 15% 19%
1-2 years 25% 24%
3-5 years 32% 32%
5+ years 28% 25%

Finally, almost everyone still feels that they have more growing and learning to do. Only 11% of respondents believe they are operating with a "high level of competency with agile practices across the organization," and a tiny 7% say they are enabling "greater adaptability to market with agile practices."

The rest still need to mature:

agile maturity

Similar Benefits for IT and Agile Marketing

For the sixth year in a row, the top three benefits of Agile remained steady:

  1. Ability to manage changing priorities
  2. Increased team productivity
  3. Improved project visibility

It's important to understand how pervasive these outcomes are, because none of them are specific to software or IT. Marketers need to better manage priorities, we need to be more productive, and we need to make our work more visible across the organization. Agile offers the solution, and has done so reliably for years and years. In case those Big Three Benefits aren't enough, here's the full list:
benefits of agile
One more quick note: 98% of the respondents said their organizations had realized success from Agile projects. How many other initiatives come with a success rate close to 100%?

Shared Agile Challenges

For those of you struggling to convince executives and other higher-ups that Agile is the way to go, you're not alone. Despite Agile software development being over a decade old, getting the organization to see the light is still a major hurdle.

As they work to scale Agile, 63% of the respondents reported that having a company philosophy or culture at odds with agile values was holding them back, while 47% said a lack of experience with Agile methods was the chief challenge. The others on the list probably sound familiar too:
agile challenges
One final note: for those marketers who think outsourcing, agencies, and freelancers can't work on Agile teams, 51% of these respondents say they're using Agile practices to manage outsourced development projects. If they can make it work, so can we.

Agile for All

If you want to dive in to the full results of the study you can download it here, along with all the prior years' results. Marketers can take so many lessons from developers and their Agile history. We should take every opportunity to make our own Agile journeys a little easier by following in the footsteps of these earlier pioneers!


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