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Survey Confirms Scaling Agile Across The Organisation Is Still A Challenge

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Forrester have recently released the results of their November 2011 Global Agile Software Application Development Online Survey in a report entitled "Survey Results: How Agile Is Your Organization?" It contains a number of interesting findings around how organisations that have adopted Agile are dealing with their implementation.

Forrester fielded its... survey to 205 IT professionals from organizations that are implementing or have implemented Agile. These organizations are at least Agile-beginners, meaning that they have already started a minimum of one project with Agile development... This survey provides a good understanding of how Agile is being used or is planned to be used by practitioners rather than pre-adopters.

Of the respondents to the survey, 27% reported that Agile adoption has matured and spread across multiple teams while 22% responded that they had a mature implementation of Agile but only in siloes. The majority of organisations had been using Agile for more than a year. In relation to methodologies used, 70% of respondents reported that they mix methodologies (both Agile and non-Agile), with Scrum being the most popular. The most common approaches reported were:

81.5%    Scrum
58.5%    Iterative
44.4%    Waterfall
37.1%    Test-Driven Development (TDD)
37.1%    Kanban
35.6%    eXtreme Programming (XP)
32.7%    Lean

In relation to outsourcing, the majority of respondents reported that they either don't use external providers (31%) or they don't specify the development method that an external provider uses (17%) when working on an Agile project: 

Agile is not widely used in outsourced contexts. 15.5% find that existing contracts are a limitation to Agile... In addition, our survey shows that 76% of those using Agile on less than 50% of their projects are discouraged to use System Integrators because of contracts and SLAs being inadequate.

Overall, improved quality (46%) was the top perceived benefit to organisations of using Agile, in contrast to better business / IT alignment (47%) when the data is narrowed to just the IT industry organisations. In both organisation types, these were followed by more opportunities for midcourse corrections (43% and 46%) and overall improved customer of business satisfaction (38% and 42%) respectively.

Although customer satisfaction is the most common way to measure the business value of Agile, new business metrics are emerging, including cycle time, increased predictability, decreased uncertainty, and earned business value, to mention a few.

Measuring customer satisfaction is something that many of the organisations responding still seem to struggle with:

26%    Continuously, using data gathered about system usage or other mechanisms
25%    After significant landmarks, such as a major release or the end of a project
20%    At regular intervals less than 6 months apart
15%    Infrequently
8%      At a regular interval of between 6 to 12 months
5%      Never      

The full report compiled by Diego Lo Giudice is available to Forrester Research clients. Are there any surprises in the research and do they match up to what you are seeing in your organisation? 

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