2011 State of Agile Survey Results Show Agile Adoption Stable
VersionOne have recently released the results of their State of Agile Development Survey for 2011, and as always it gives an interesting insight into Agile adoption and trends.
This year we saw further evidence that Agile is not a fad. More than half our respondents said they've personally practiced Agile for over 2 years, and one-third have carried Agile with them to another company. Almost two-thirds of respondents said that up to half of their company's projects were run using Agile, and that their company has adopted Agile practices across three or more teams.
Scrum remained the most popular Agile method in use by 52% of respondents (compared to 58% in 2010):
52% Scrum 14% Scrum/XP Hybrid 9% Custom Hybrid 8% Don't Know 17% Other (including Kanban 3% and XP 2%)
The first thought I had is training... if the team has not been trained on what agile is, and the surrounding methods and processes, then I can understand when you ask them, “Do you do agile?” … “Yes.” “What agile method do you use?” … “I don’t know.” ...The second reason I can think of why folks answered, “Don’t Know” is that they are leveraging multiple concepts from the various agile methodologies – including agile project management and traditional project management... Teams are starting with one method and morphing to another, and in some cases leveraging a little bit from everything. This approach can be good and bad, depending on the maturity of the team and the ability to continuously improve.
In relation to Agile techniques, Daily Standup, Iteration Planning and Unit Testing were the most popular (as they were last year):
78% Daily Standup 74% Iteration Planning 70% Unit Testing 65% Release Planning 64% Burndown 64% Retrospectives 54% Continuous Integration 53% Automated Builds 52% Velocity 51% Coding Standards
Simon Baker dissected the Agile techniques result in a post on his Agile in Action blog, particularly as practices like refactoring (48%), test driven development (38%), automated acceptance testing (25%) and behavior driven development (9%) were so low:
Taking the data on face value I might deduce that a lot of bad software is being written out there and much of this thing called Agile is about process. Anyone remember something about people over process? Anyway, I wonder how much of that bad software actually delivers value to customers with a total cost of ownership that makes it a business asset? There will hopefully come a time when more people will realize that being agile is about being able to respond to changing business needs quickly, affordably and with little risk.
Whilst the largest number of survey participants reported that none of their agile projects failed (16%), some of the leading causes were cited as:
11% Lack of experience with Agile methods 11% Lack of understanding of broader organization change required 9% Company philosophy or culture at odds with Agile values 8% External pressure for waterfall
The barriers to further Agile adoption included:
52% Ability to change organizational culture 40% Availability of personnel with right skills 39% General resistance to change
These barriers and concerns reflect what we all understand: that change is hard. And agile development is change. As I interpret the survey, the actual benefits obtained are consistent with what you would expect during an agile adoption. These are the quicker, easier wins. Improved team morale was the fourth benefit obtained from implementing agile, another benefit that should result from an agile adoption.
The survey showed that 75% of respondents felt that time to completion was the same or faster than previous approaches (down from 83% in 2010). The leading benefits from implementing Agile included:
84% Ability to manage changing priorities 77% Improved project visibility 75% Increased productivity 72% Improved team morale 71% Faster time-to-market
The full results are available from the VersionOne website (you can also access the results from 2010 as well). Are there any results in this years survey that standout, or is the survey showing that Agile adoption is flattening out?
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