Evidence that Scrum is in decline?

It has often been stated, in various surveys and blogs, that Scrum is used in somewhere between 50% and 75% of all agile projects.

However, my research shows a different story.

I examined two different job sites, indeed.com, and the sfbay craigslist.

Indeed is a job aggregator that aggregates jobs from sites like Monster, Dice, etc.

SF Bay craigslist gives a more narrow look into the SF Bay Area job market.

In both cases, Scrum was used in approximately 25% of agile projects.

For instance, searching the following on indeed yields the following results:

agile 42,000 jobs
scrum 12, 000 jobs
kanban 1,499 jobs

So, does that mean Scrum is in decline, or that Scrum never approached the 50-75% that people claim it did?

Note: Handy Time Based Graph


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10 Responses to Evidence that Scrum is in decline?

  1. Many recruiters don’t know the difference between Scrum and Agile. Many organisations won’t care if you had Scrum vs Agile experience because regardless the manifesto and principles don’t change. Basically they are intending to find candidates a person with a certain mindset.


    Is the survey you are looking for. I thought a 2012 version existed but either I was wrong or it has been moved/removed.

    Standish report (if you want an official report that isn’t owned by an Agile software company) also published similar metrics.

    • PostAgilist says:

      Hi Renee

      Yes I am aware of those surveys; that is why I’m posting my research.

      Not all job posts are written by recruiters, and many are very specific. One could say they don’t know the difference between a Ruby and a Perl, or that one should include Perl in Ruby postings due to recruiter error (something I don’t buy).

      Nevertheless, the data I have, based on real world job postings, is 25% have the word Scrum in them compared to 75% that have the word Agile in them.

      Scrum and Agile are not interchangable either; in fact Scrum is not Agile (imho) and neither is Kanban.

      I have in fact, seen postings where the FIRST THING they want as far as experience is “willingness to attend daily meetings”. People who are doing Scrum know what is going on, that some people like it and some people don’t and there is every reason for them to include it in the posting.

      The fact that Scrum is reported to not work 75% of the time dovetails rather nicely into the fact that only 25% of agile companies are asking for Scrum. Coincidence? Or Experience playing out in the marketplace?

  2. Peter says:

    To say that something is in decline requires multiple data points. It would be interesting to do a Scrum Job index actually measure the the number of jobs offered that mention these terms.

    I have also seen a a number of Agile projects which are doing Scrum but calling it Agile (and otherwise changing the terminology but not the substance for political reasons. So its hard to know what these numbers are telling us.

    • PostAgilist says:

      There are multiple datapoints, but unfortunately the data was collected by different people at different times using different approaches.

      Nevertheless, the discrepancy is sufficient that it bears mention.

      What I have here is evidence, but that is not proof.

      Even if a handful of projects said Agile instead of Scrum that would not affect the numbers in any large way; that sort of statistical noise goes both ways; projects could say they are using Scrum when they are using Agile and not Scrum; thus that should cancel out.

      In any case it seems to be grasping at straws to suggest that poor keyword usage alone creates a 25%-75% drop in numbers. 10%? Maybe. 50%? Hard to believe.


  3. Peter says:

    Hmm, Google Insights for search seems to tell a different story. According to Google, the relative interest in Agile, Scrum and Kanban are 74, 56 and 8, respectively. So people look for info on Scrum is 7 times more often than Kanban, and roughly 25% less than for Agile in general. ( http://j.mp/GI8h4u ) , 8 to 1 is the difference in Scrum jobs to Kanban jobs, so that jives pretty well with what google is saying. The difference between Scrum and Agile seems rather odd and it would be interesting to find out what, if anything that means, or at least why there is a discrepancy between the two results.

    Looking over the longer term, it looks like the interest in Kanban has been rising somewhat quicker than the interest in Scrum, but both seem to be growing healthily.

    I still think your argument that Scrum is in decline would be more robust if you could back it up with some data points over time that are not based on marketing statements.

    • PostAgilist says:

      The google data is interesting, certainly, but that is apples and oranges…

      Google is what people are considering, the job req data I posted is what people have a PO for.

      It doesn’t matter how many people google Kia versus Honda; it matters how many people buy Kia versus Honda.

      Agreed, would be nice if I did this and sampled data 2 years ago and thus didn’t have to compare it to version one et al’s “vendor market statements” but it doesn’t negate that the current data is different from vendor market statements, and it allows folks to track real market job orders for any given agile flavor in any given locale over any given time period going forward — without relying on (biased) “vendor” surveys.

      Of course one can always say that Scrum teams are so efficient they don’t need to hire as many so that right away accounts for everything 🙂


  4. Thought you might like this graph from Indeed:

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