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InfoQ Homepage News Survey: Leaders Say Agile Has "Crossed the Chasm"

Survey: Leaders Say Agile Has "Crossed the Chasm"

Diana Larsen leads a lot of retrospectives... So, it's not surprising that when she asked herself "Where is Agile going now?" her response was to run a retrospective of her own.  A member of the Agile Alliance board of directors, she circulated a survey to her fellow board members, and has compiled a picture of the trends they've seen developing in the world of Agile software development.  InfoQ brings you the report she made to the Agile Alliance, as an exclusive article: Are We There Yet? Trends in Agile Software Development circa 2006.

This survey is different from recent ones by Scott Ambler and Digital Focus - its result are presented informally, and they represent leaders in the Agile community, rather than general users of Agile methods as the others do.

Larsen looks at current evidence for the spread of Agile, and identifies the following topics as significant issues going forward:
  • Awareness & Propagation.
  • Enterprise Leadership.
  • Scaling Agile.
  • Agile as a Commodity and the Dilution of Agile.
  • New Challenges/Debates in Agile.
    • Is it the quality of the code or the quality of the coders?
    • Do we value individuals or interactions more?
    • Simple vs. Complex Tools
She points out that longstanding promoters of Agile are concerned with what happens next.  Larsen writes "Promoters may pay lip service and give attention to the appearance rather than the substance of Agile."  Rebecca Wirfs-Brock, who invented the way of thinking about objects known as Responsibility-Driven Design, wrote:
“I know about one local contracting company who tried to interject agile management practices into a state agency, with mixed results. The development team picked up on the ‘easier’ XP software engineering technical practices (e.g. continuous integration) much more readily than anyone picked up the ‘harder’ communication, project and team management practices (e.g. pairing, daily meetings) to support Agile. It was not a smashing success.”
Overall, the outlook is positive - Larsen concludes:
World markets and software development will persist in moving as quickly in the next five years as in the past five... The earliest adopters will accelerate their use of Agile methods to develop software. Agile methods will also continue to spread into new arenas. Leaders in our community contend that Agile methods have “crossed the chasm” to become a respectable alternative for managing and working in software projects.

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