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Survey: The State of Agile in Practice

by Deborah Hartmann Preuss on Aug 13, 2006 |
Scott Ambler acknowledges that for many people, rhetoric isn't sufficient—they want to know how many people are actually doing this Agile stuff, what they are doing, and whether they are actually benefiting from it.  In March Scott Ambler got real-world feedback from 4232 respondents on their Agile process implementations. 

His conclusion: "Agile is not only growing in popularity, it is working incredibly well: so well, in fact, that it is fairly clear that adopting agile approaches is an incredibly low risk thing to consider."  

Just some of the results collected by Ambler: respondents reported that...
  • 65 percent work in organizations that have adopted one or more agile development techniques,
  • 41 percent work in organizations that have adopted one or more agile methodologies,
  • 60 percent report increased productivity,
  • 66 percent report increased quality,
  • 58 percent report improved stakeholder satisfaction.
Ambler also discovered exactly what respondents are adopting:

Agile Methodology Adoption Rates - Ambler 2006
(drawn from the Survey Summary Presentation on Ambler's Surveys page).

Most respondents had experienced at least one really bad experience - resulting in much lower productivity or quality, or drastically increased cost.  Still, across the board, respondents reported overall significantly better quality and productivity.  More knowledge of Agile did seem to correlate with better experiences.

Ambler's survey used the mailing lists of Software Development magazine and Dr. Dobbs' Journal, so he acknowledges that the results may be a bit optimistic: respondents may be more aware of new trends in IT than people who don't read such publications.   None the less, Ambler concludes that Agile approaches do work in practice, and that these methodologies are gaining traction.

Ambler has published his conclusions on Dr. Dobbs Journal, and has also made his survey questions available, as well as his raw data.

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