Software Development at Scale:

Results from the Spring 2014 DDJ State of the IT Union Survey

Scott W. Ambler + Associates
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How to Measure Anything 2nd Edition This survey was performed during the Spring of 2014 and there was 231 respondents. The survey was announced in my Feburary 2014 DDJ article The Non-Existent Software Crisis: Debunking the Chaos Report and on Twitter. The primary goals of the survey were to find out what levels of scale were being faced by teams and to see how successfull teams were by paradigm. We looked at several scaling factors as called out in the Software Development Context Framework (SDCF) and Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD). My detailed analysis was published on under the title Software Development is Very, Very Hard: Even for those who know it's hard .

The Survey Results

Some findings include:

Figure 1. The paradigm primarily followed by software development teams.

Development Paradigms 2014

Figure 2. Scaling complexities faced by development teams.

Scaling Factors 2014

Figure 3. How Agile compares, by succcess factor.

Success factors 2014

Figure 4. How geographically distributed are Agile teams?

Success factors 2014


Survey questions

The Survey Questions

Survey Data File

Raw Data

Survey Presentation

Summary Presentation

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. 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 course).
  2. 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.