13th Annual State of Agile Report – LeSS is less.

The newest VersionOne (13th) Annual State of Agile Report was recently released. Last year the report was published on April 9, 2018. This year the report was published on May 7, 2019. As I had reported earlier I will compare and contrast the various scaling frameworks growth and shrinkage and also discuss the missing elements for organizational transformation and whether or not the industry at large is addressing those challenges.

The newest VersionOne 13th Annual State of Agile Report was released on May 7, 2019. Over the past few years I have been comparing interesting trends in the State of Agile Report where I have compared the growth of scaling frameworks and methods to each other year over year.

There is one interesting addition to the “Scaling Agile” part of the report this year — Spotify is now a scaling method according to the report. I find that interesting because it begs the questions, what does scaling agile mean? How do we define scaling agile? I personally find it laughable that Spotify is used as a scaling method since it doesn’t attempt to provide guidance for huge parts of a portfolio’s business and technical activities. Scale to what? teams? tribes? What about investment? Budgets? Strategy?

The other item of note in the 13th annual report is that LeSS is now LESS than it was before. Based on the trajectory it would appear that LeSS is not able to compete with the two market leaders.

Share analysis:

  • Scrum/Scrum of Scrums is down 3% share.
  • Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD) is up 40%
    • DA has a CAGR of 6%, showing a pattern of adoption rate that is now sufficient to catch the market leader.
  • while Nexus remains effectively dead on arrival at 2% share.
  • The SAFe® added 1% market share. 30% is still the market leader though. It is good to be in front?
    • The SAFe is still up nearly 63% from the 9th Annual report with a CAGR of 5%.
    • It is important to note that SAFe is the market leader by a large margin when considering only scaling methods/frameworks supported by a viable business entity that is marketing the method/framework.
  • LeSS is DOWN 40% and still holds a very small market share behind DAD
    • LeSS now has a CAGR of 0%
    • LeSS had a head start on the SAFe in 2005-2008, and 2010 but still indicates a very low adoption rate by market share CAGR in the first growth period from 2005 to 2011 when the SAFe was released.
    • With such a huge head start, why is LeSS not the market leader?
  • RAGE, whatever that is… who cares.

For comparison purposes, here is the growth/shrink from the 10th to 11th Annual reports.

Stacked Annual Market Share for “Scaling methods” per VersionOne


  1. None of the current market leaders registered in the report in 2011 where the topic was “Agile Methods and Practices.” Fast forward to the 12th annual report and the topic is now “Scaling Agile.” I find this quite interesting. Is it a market indictment of disconnected methods and practices that fail to address organizational change in a holistic, meaningful way? It does seem to suggest so. It is also clear that “Scaling Frameworks” are also insufficient as a standalone tool used for organizational change. At least, it was that way for a long time.
  2. LeSS is dead?


“VersionOne 11th Annual State of Agile Report.” VersionOne, explore.versionone.com/state-of-agile/versionone-11th-annual-state-of-agile-report.

“VersionOne 12th Annual State of Agile Report.” VersionOne, explore.versionone.com/state-of-agile/versionone-12th-annual-state-of-agile-report.

“VersionOne 13th Annual State of Agile Report.” VersionOne, explore.versionone.com/state-of-agile/versionone-13th-annual-state-of-agile-report.


 9th Annual10th Annual11th Annual12th Annual13th Annual
 Growth/Shrink 10-11Growth/Shrink 11-12Growth/Shrink 12-139th to 13th Annual CAGR
SCRUM / SCRUM OF SCRUMS-63%-30%-16%-15%
LEAN MANAGEMENT -56%-25%0%-18%
LARGE-SCALE SCRUM (LESS) -25%67%-40%0%

Wrap up

Come back next year for more analysis and commentary. What are your thoughts? Comment below.

Published by Marshall Guillory - Blogagility.com

Information Technology professional, transformation leader, agile evangelist & coach, change agent, scrum master, servant leader and more...

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