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Survey Says: Agile Works in Practice

How Well Is Agile Working?

The agile approach to software development appears to work very well in practice. The survey asked people how agile approaches affected their overall productivity, the quality of the systems that they delivered, and the satisfaction levels of their business stakeholders; the results show that adoption of agile approaches has clearly been a resounding success.

The affect that agile approaches have on productivity is summarized in Figure 2. (Note: Figures 2 through 4 do not include the response "I Don't Know"). Only 6 percent indicated that their productivity was lowered, not bad considering you have to expect some project teams to fail, particularly on their first attempt. No change in productivity was reported by 34 percent of respondents and 60 percent reported increased productivity.

Figure 2: How have agile approaches affected your productivity?

Figure 3 summarizes the affect that agile approaches have had on the quality of delivered systems. The results are even better, with 66 percent responding that the quality is higher. Considering the high rate of adoption of quality-oriented techniques (see Table 4), this shouldn't come as a surprise. Apparently being "quality infected" has paid off for the agile community.

Figure 3: How have agile approaches affected the quality of systems deployed?

Active stakeholder participation 938
Agile Model Driven Development (AMDD) 260
Code refactoring 1467
Code regression testing 1383
Colocation 447
Common coding guidelines 1595
Continuous integration 1113
Database refactoring 416
Database regression testing 407
Pair programming 587
Single sourcing information 241
Test Driven Development (TDD) 959

Table 4: Adoption of agile techniques (multiple answers allowed).

It also appears that agile software development's focus on collaborative techniques, such as active stakeholder participation and increased feedback, have helped to improve business stakeholder satisfaction. As you can see in Figure 4, 58 percent of organizations report improved satisfaction, whereas only 3 percent report reduced satisfaction. The source data for this survey can be downloaded from if you wish to analyze it yourself.

Figure 4: How have agile approaches affected business stakeholder satisfaction?

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