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Nordic Agile Survey 2020: Agility helps navigate turbulent times

Nitor, together with the University of Helsinki and Karlstad University, conducted the Nordic Agile Survey for the third time in November – December 2020. The survey takes a look into the state of agile transformation in Finland and Sweden. Read more about the results of the survey.


The year 2020 was an unusual one, and that on a global scale. Faced with a pandemic, many companies were required to change the way they work almost overnight. How did this unusual year manifest in the Nordic Agile Survey?


The survey showed that the global pandemic had affected different sectors and companies in different ways. Almost half (45%) reported that the impact of the pandemic on their organisation has been a negative one. A total of 19% found the impact to have been positive, and 36% reported a mixed impact.

Judging from the results, companies across industries faced significant challenge regarding agilty. As many as 77% reported a decline in agility during 2020. On the bright side, 7% reported improvements, such as improved transparency and increased focus on value creation in the company.


A cross-analysis of the results shows that whether the pandemic has positively or negatively impacted the company, agility has helped in responding to the situation. This is likely to be why companies that have increased agility are also the ones that have responded better to the current turbulent situation.


What is the State of Agile in 2020 in the Nordics?


A total of 137 people responded to the survey, nearly all of them lived either in Finland or Sweden. The majority of respondents worked in large companies (plus 250 employees), with companies with more than 5 000 employees accounting for nearly half the respondents (43,8%). Approximately a third of the respondents worked in IT and software development. They made up the largest respondent group.


According to the survey, Scrum and SAFe were the most commonly adopted agile methodologies. DevOps ranked third in the order. Regarding large-scale frameworks, SAFe was the most widely adopted agile framework.



The main reasons behind agile transformations were improving responsiveness to change, building adaptability and flexibility, and quicker organisational learning. Employee happiness/satisfaction was also among the top reasons for making agile transformations.

This rationale is also clear in the top reported benefits of agile transformations: improved transparency and increased speed.


However, there is still a lot of work to be done in making fully agile organisations in Finland and Sweden. Nearly half (44%) of respondents said that only certain parts of their organisation were agile, in comparison with the 28% that responded being agile across the entire company.



What then prevents or slows down the adoption of agile practises? According to the survey, old practices and mindset were perceived as the most significant obstacles, with leadership following closely.


We often see this in practice with our clients: Sustainable results are achieved when leaders of the organisation are fully committed to the transformation.


How does 2021 look? Take part in the next survey! Nitor is once again teaming up with University of Helsinki and University of Karlstad to look into the state of Agile in Finland and Sweden with the Nordic Agile Survey for 2021. Has the year 2021 changed things around?


We would highly appreciate it if you can take part in the survey, no matter what your role is in your organisation!

The survey is open until December 31st, 2021. All results will be handled confidentially and anonymously.



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