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Has Agile Crossed the Chasm?

by Ben Hughes on Jul 27, 2007 |
Earlier this month Scott Ambler released the results of his 2007 Agile Adoption Survey. This is the 2nd year that Scott has executed the survey, which attempts to provide readers with a consistent view on the adoption of Agile practices over the period. 

In summary the Survey tells us:
  • 69% of respondents indicated that their organizations are doing one or more agile projects.  Of those that hadn't yet started, 24% believed their organizations would do so within the next year;
  • 44% indicated a 90%+ success rate at agile projects, 33% indicated between 75 and 90%.  It appears that agile seems to be working out;
  • Co-located agile projects are more successful on average than non-co-located, which in turn are more successful than projects involving offshoring;
  • 98.6% of agile teams adopted iterations, and 83% had iteration lengths between 1 and 4 weeks;
  • Smaller teams had higher success rates than larger teams;
  • 85% of organizations doing agile had more than one project completed, so it's gone beyond the pilot project stage in most organizations;
  • Iterative development & regular delivery of working software was considered to be the most valuable of the Agile Practices;
Unsurprisingly, the findings of Scott’s survey highlight a lot of what the community already knows (collaboration and communication is king, co-located teams work better than split teams) but also highlights some interesting points:
  • Promiscuous and ad hoc paired programming is more of a reality than fixed pairs.
  • A distinct absence of database refactoring practices, despite code refactoring scoring highly in the "Value To Business" part of the survey.
Scott’s findings are in line with the Agile mantra, although the focus of this year’s report seems to be on practices rather than the adoption of the practices and thus is difficult to compare with the preceding year’s survey, as Scott openly admits:
Although there is an increase from last year's agile adoption rate, I'm reticent to compare the figures because I asked the question significantly differently.
With this in mind, how should we measure the adoption of agile practices, and how as a community can we get a unified picture of the landscape and group behaviours in which we operate?

A complete presentation of Scott's findings can be found here.

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ad hoc by Remember Objective

* A distinct absence of database refactoring practices, despite code refactoring scoring highly in the "Value To Business" part of the survey.

It's because they don't know the art of SQL. Most programmers are not aware of how much you can do with SQL, therefore write a lot of compensating code/xml/garbage that greatly worsens the situation (because it introduces even more code dependencies on the database remaining the way it is, which was their original excuse for not refactoring the database now and then).

Re: ad hoc by Maris Fogels

"It's because they don't know the art of SQL. Most programmers are not aware of how much you can do with SQL, therefore write a lot of compensating code/xml/garbage that greatly worsens the situation"

If I recall correctly, Scott himself has stated that the problem is an utter lack of tooling support from database vendors. Knowledge of SQL alone will not keep a large project's database flexible, tested, and published under revision control.

Scott talks about this and other issues facing agile databases in his presentation "Scott Ambler on Database Refactoring". I highly recommend it.

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