Agility at Scale Survey:
Results from the Summer 2012 DDJ State of the IT Union
Some findings include:
- Figure 1 reveals the current levels of agile
adoption. In this case 71% of respondents indicated that they work in
organizations that have succeeded at agile and an additional 15% work in
organizations that have tried agile but have not yet succeed at it.
- Figure 2 depicts current agile experiences with
team size. Once again the vast majority of agile teams are small, with
20 or less people (this is true with other paradigms too). Not
surprisingly, it appears that organizations are finding it easier to succeed
with smaller teams than with larger teams, also true of other paradigms.
In previous surveys we've found people claiming success with very large
agile teams, but this wasn't the case this time (I suspect the sample size
was too small).
- Figure 3 shows current agile experiences with
geographic distribution. Once again we found people reporting success
at all levels of geographic distribution. We also found that
organizations are also experiencing failures at all levels of geographic
distribution. Once again we're seeing better success rates the less
distributed teams are.
- As you can see in Figure 4, when it comes to compliance organizations are applying agile in all types
of regulatory environments, including life-critical (e.g. FDA) and
financial. They are even applying agile in self-imposed regulations such
as ISO-900X and CMMI
- When it comes to domain complexity people report applying agile on pilot
projects, in very simple domains, and in what they believe to be very
- When it comes to organizational distribution people are applying agile
with contractors, across industry partnerships, and are even doing agile
- When it comes to technical complexity, see Figure 5, the survey confirmed again that
people are applying agile in situations where
legacy systems and
legacy data sources exist, where multiple platforms exist, and even in
- When it comes to organizational complexity agile teams are dealing with
a variety of challenges, such as stakeholder resistance, management
resistance, overly specialized IT staff, waterfall governance, lack of
stakeholder involvement, lack of trust, and waterfall cultures.
- When it comes to enterprise awareness agile teams are working with
portfolio management teams,
operations and support teams,
reuse teams, and others.
Figure 1. Agile adoption rates.
Figure 2. Agile experiences with team size.
Figure 3. Agile experiences with geographic distribution.
Figure 4. Agile experiences with regulatory compliance.
Figure 5. Agile experiences with technical complexity.
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
with questions.Better yet, if you publish,
please let me know so I can link to your work.
- People didn't know the purpose of the survey, so that likely removed
some bias. My strategy for the DDJ surveys is to send out a short
survey every two months entitled "State of the IT Union, DATE" but to not
indicate what the topic of the survey actually is (other than an IT topic of
- This survey suffers from the
fundamental challenges faced by all surveys.
Links to Other Articles/Surveys
- My other surveys
Why Share This Much Information?
I'm sharing the results, and in particular the source data, of my surveys for
- 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
- Once I've published my column summarizing the data in DDJ, I really
don't have any reason not to share the information.
- 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.
- I think that it's a good thing to do and I invite others to do the same.