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Survey Says...Agile Has Crossed the Chasm

Scott is a DDJ Senior Contributing Editor and author of numerous IT books. He can be contacted at www.ambysoft.com/ scottAmbler.html.

When the Agile Manifesto was published in 2001, it gave name to a collection of methodologies that had been growing in popularity for several years. These methods, many of which are now in common usage worldwide, had strange names such as Scrum, Pinball, Extreme Programming (XP), and Dynamic System Development Method (DSDM). My 2007 Agile adoption survey (see sidebar) shows that agile techniques have been successfully adopted within a majority of organizations and often at scale. So now, six years later, I think that it's clear that Agile has successfully crossed Moore's technology-adoption chasm.

Figure 1 overviews the adoption rate for agile techniques. When asked whether their organization had adopted any agile techniques, or if not when they thought it would happen, 69 percent responded that their organization was currently doing agile and an additional 7.3 percent indicated that they believed it would happen within the year. More importantly, as you can see in Figure 2, many organizations that have adopted agile approaches have clearly gone beyond the pilot project stage. Of the 427 people who indicated the number of agile projects that their organization has performed, 45 percent indicated that their companies had done two to five agile projects and 39.6 percent indicated five or more projects (unfortunately, there was an overlap in some categories in the wording of the question, although respondents were only allowed to select one option).

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Figure 1: Adoption rate of agile techniques by developers.

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Figure 2: Developers report the number of agile projects run.

The success rate of agile projects appears to be very high—77 percent of respondents indicated that 75 percent or more of their agile projects were successful, as you can see in Figure 3. For this question, the definition of success was left up to the respondent as the definition of IT project success varies by organization and often even by project (more on this in a future column).

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Figure 3: Overall percentage of successful projects according to respondents.

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