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Jonathan Erickson

Dr. Dobb's Bloggers

Agile Salary Survey, and Other Things Agile

April 15, 2009

It's been an Agile kind of day.  Not agile in the sense that I can touch my toes or finally do a back flip, but Agile in the sense of Scrum, Lean, Kanban, and the like. What prompted all this Agile noodling were a couple of articles you'll be seeing before long, as well as an Agile-related survey that you might find worthwhile to participate in.

The first article can best be described as a technical case-history of one company's experience with Kanban, the Agile concept related to lean and just-in-time (JIT) production. It's the process by which you identify tasks on Post-It notes (referred to as "cards" or "boards") and move them around as tasks are completed. The nice thing is that you can see at a glance how the project is doing.  Of course, Kanban is a topic we've covered before, specifically in Visualizing Agile Projects with Kanban Boards by Kenji Hiranabe. The upcoming article I was reading today, "Experience with Kanban" by Charles Suscheck, is fascinating because it describes in detail a real-world use Kanban. What does Charles think about Kanban, based on his experiences? Well, you'll have to read the article, but I will share this: "Kanban has increased productivity and given the business a chance to react quickly to lessons learned..."

Next up was an article on Lean Thinking, written by Agile expert Dave West, which will appear in the next issue of Dr. Dobb's Report as part of InformationWeek The Magazine. According to Dave, lean has provided a common language to describe the value of Agile methods and encourages a set of changes throughout the enterprise that support Agile adoption. Based on seven principles ranging from eliminating waste to delaying committment, lean is all about simplifying the software development process. And again, lean is another topic which we've covered before, in this case an article entitled Lean Software Development by Mary Poppendieck, who is credited with bringing lean into the world of software development.

Last on today's Agile lineup is the note I received from VersionOne about a new and unique Agile Salary Survey . The survey, which VersionOne believes to be the first of its kind, hopes to provide benchmarks and analysis on how agile practitioners are compensated -- something of interest to all of us. The survey will run for several weeks, but you can participate with it right now by going  here.

Respondents who provide their email addresses will be emailed the results. You might also want the results mailed to your boss. (Be sure to wear a ratty old t-shirt with the holes in it the day he gets his copy of the results. Then again, maybe not. I leave that up to you.) We'll also follow up with a report when the results are in. Again, go  here  to participate in the survey.


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