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Results of Agile Adoption Survey 2008

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In February 2008, Dr. Dobb's ran a survey on the adoption of Agile software development techniques and gathered statistics from 642 respondents. The surprising part of the survey was the the adoption rate which was same as last year at 69 percent. Other statistics, however do show change.

Scott Ambler mentioned that in 2006 the adoption percentage was 65 which grew to 69 percent in 2007 and was 69 percent again in 2008. Scott added that he did some number crunching to understand the reason behind the peaking adoption rate. He suspected stealth adoption where the team was doing Agile without the knowledge of senior management. However, that was not the case

When I analyzed the adoption rates by role, I found that only 61.4 percent of developers thought they were doing Agile, whereas 78.2 percent of IT management thought so, the exact opposite of what I would've expected to see if stealth adoption was occurring. Based on these numbers, I suspect that developers and management have different criteria for what it means to be Agile, and that developers have set a higher bar for themselves. My fear is that management may be motivated to water agile down to earn their "agile gold star".

According to Scott the positive part was that, the organizations, who had adopted Agile, were sticking by it. 82 percent of the Agile adopters were further along in the adoption cycle and just 18 percent were still in pilot phase.

There were other interesting results from the survey.

Most responds preferred shorter iterations, which were between one and four weeks. Another interesting aspect was the increase in number of respondents who were not doing any iterations at all. Scott suggested that this might be due to the growing popularity of lean methods such as Kanban.

Length of iteration Respondents
< 1 week 3.1%
 1 week 9.2%
 2 weeks 32.8%
 3 week 16.7%
 4 week 22.8%
 >4 weeks 10.3%
 No Iterations 5.6%

On the scalability of Agile, a few respondents indicated that they have been able to scale agile to teams of size 200. Many others were working with teams of size 50.

Another interesting result from the survey was the success of Agile projects depending on the location of team members. The success numbers were

Team location Success percentage
Co-located Team 83%
Distributed teams but physically reachable 72%
Distributed across geographies 60%

Responses from the survey suggested that adopting Agile is a low risk decision. The numbers from effectiveness on various parameters validated the effectiveness of Agile software development compared to traditional approaches

Factor Improved No Change Worsened
Productivity 82% 13% 5%
Quality 77% 14% 9%
Stakeholder Satisfaction 78% 15% 7%
Cost 37% 40% 23%

More details on the survey including questions, raw data and summary presentation are available on Scott's website.

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