Modeling and Documentation Practices on IT Projects Survey Results: July 2008

Scott W. Ambler + Associates
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How to Measure Anything 2nd Edition This survey was performed the last week of July 2008 and there was 279 respondents. The survey was announced in an email to the Dr. Dobb's Journal readership.

The Survey Results

The survey results are summarized in my November 2008 DDJ column "Newsflash: Agilists Write Documentation"

Some findings include:

Figure 1. Primary modeling strategy.

Figure 2. Deliverable documentation creation.


Survey questions

The Survey Questions (80 K)

Survey Data File

Raw Data (390 K)

Survey Presentation

Summary Presentation (136K)

What You May Do With This Information

You may use this data as you see fit, but may not sell it in whole or in part. You may publish summaries of the findings, but if you do so you must reference the survey accordingly (include the name and the URL to this page). Feel free to contact me with questions. Better yet, if you publish, please let me know so I can link to your work.

Discussion of the Results

  1. I was disappointed with the low number of respondents. I suspect that the timing of the survey, I sent it out in July when many North Americans and Europeans are on summer vacation, had an impact. The topic, modeling and documentation, was likely considered to be rather boring.
  2. I am very interested to see the research community do some empirical research surrounding actual modeling and documentation practices on IT projects. This survey has revealed some significant differences in the rhetoric that we hear, from both the traditional and agile communities, surrounding modeling and documentation. It would be great to have conversations based on actual fact instead of the religious discussions that we seem to have. The traditional view of modeling has been foisted upon us for several decades, yet my experience, and the results of this survey, are much different than the "software engineering vision" which the professional modelers among us promote.
  3. This survey suffers from the fundamental challenges faced by all surveys.

Links to Other Articles/Surveys

  1. My other surveys

Why Share This Much Information?

I'm sharing the results, and in particular the source data, of my surveys for several reasons:

  1. Other people can do a much better job of analysis than I can. If they publish online, I am more than happy to include links to their articles/papers.
  2. Once I've published my column summarizing the data in DDJ, I really don't have any reason not to share the information.
  3. Too many traditionalists out there like to use the "where's the proof" question as an excuse not to adopt agile techniques. By providing some evidence that a wide range of organizations seem to be adopting these techniques maybe we can get them to rethink things a bit.
  4. I think that it's a good thing to do and I invite others to do the same.

Disciplined Agile Delivery: The Foundation for Scaling Agile Agile Modeling: Practices for Scaling Agile Agile Data: Practices for Scaling Agile EnterpriseUP: Agility at Scale Software Development Practices Advisor Scott Ambler + Associates Follow @scottwambler on Twitter!

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