The Big Agile Practices Survey

There are several agile surveys, most notably those of VersionOne and Scott Ambler.

However, while those surveys are very useful, neither of them has given me an answer to some very important questions.

Questions that I care deeply about…

  1. Which practices are the most important for agile projects?
  2. Which practices are most often linked to agile development?
  3. Which practices are most widely applied in agile projects?

Those are the questions I want to find an answer to. Some practices are considered "agile" by everyone, but nobody is applying them. While other practices are not really considered "agile", yet most people seem to be using them. Things like that are what we all want to know, right?

In my post The Big List of Agile Practices I listed all (best documented) agile practices that I could find. And several people helped me with corrections and suggestions. (Thanks everyone!) Now it is time to ask people to fill out the forms…

Please follow each of these links and click the checkboxes!

Agile Requirements (10 practices)
Agile Design (7 practices)
Agile Construction (14 practices)
Agile Testing (7 practices)
Agile Process (19 practices)
Agile Organization (10 practices)

NOTE: You don't have to answer questions for all practices. Simply skip the ones that don't mean anything to you. (The number of times a practice is skipped is also meaningful data!)

ALSO NOTE: Every question/practice has the same 6 possible answers. You can click any number of checkboxes that you want. If you cannot decide, then don't click.

ALSO ALSO NOTE: This is an anonymous survey. I'm not asking you for your name, job title, email address, or anything else. I only want to know about your opinion on practices. That's all.

ALSO ALSO ALSO NOTE: If you want an explanation for any of the practices, go to The Big List of Agile Practices. There you can find links to multiple descriptions on different web sites.

This survey is NOT about your company's size, industries and other boring stuff. It is about the things that are most dear to us:

  • Which practices are really agile?
  • Which practices are really important?
  • Which practices are really applied?

Please help me by tweeting, digging and bookmarking this survey until it's seeing blue. The results of this survey are free for all, and immediately available! But for the results to make any sense, we need hundreds of people to fill out these forms. I can really use your help with that!

Thank you all…

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  • Steve Duitsman

    Great poll! It might have been interesting to get an idea of what parts of Agile each pollster feels they are implementing, and correlate that with what they find important and what they are actually doing.
    e.g. What Scrum implementers are doing, what XP implementers are doing…
    It is interesting, to me at least, how certain things are very clear in the results as being important and implemented across the board; even though the term agile is used to describe just about anything these days.

  • Martin Proulx

    This is a great idea. There is a lot of information around what it means to be Agile. Hopefully, your survey will help bring some clarity.

  • Rob Hunter

    The results will be interesteding. Thank you for putting together this survey!
    When analysing the results, please remember that this is a self-selected sample and doesn’t have demographic data to scale to the population. (That’s the reason a lot of surveys ask for things like salary and education level — not to pry or even report, but mostly to make sure the data balances.)
    That means the results are going to be biased in a number of ways, because to get counted you need a lot of things:
    * You need to read this blog or have heard about it through the grapevine
    * You probably need to be interested in the topic (and the results) enough to consider it “important”
    * You need to feel it was worth your time to read ~50 questions and tick a whole lot of boxes.
    * You have to have understood the questions, and felt that you could answer them.
    Even with the bias, I’m keen to see the results. I’m particularly interested in things that people consider “important” but “not practised here”, and the things consdiered “not agile but still important”.

  • Jean Tabaka

    I love this! Thank you for your passion around Agile and how others think about it. I have only answered the Agile Organization section so far and I like what you ask. And,indeed there are lots of boxes to check. And that’s okay.
    Here is something I struggled with. I want to believe that we can use Agile with distributed organizations. I don’t WANT to have to be distributed. But if we ARE going to be distributed, then please let us use high bandwidth communications and continuous improvement practices and frequent releases in order to keep our fingers on the pulse of the madness. So, while answering some of your questions, I felt there wasn’t room for me to express, for instance, my belief in co-location of team members even if the teams have to be distributed from one another. Does this make any sense? I’m looking for the edge where a practice IS Agile and the practice IS important, AND we actually don’t execute that practice in the strictest binary sense. It isn’t that we are broken, or lazy, or complacent, or too traditional; it is that our Agile teams needed more of x and less of y in order to succeed and in order to continue to improve.
    So, since I only did the Agile Organizations section so far, I guess I need to roam through the other sections to see where this continuous improvement across all aspects allows for something to be agile, important, and not exactly a binary of do you do it or don’t you.
    Thanks again! Jean

  • Jurgen Appelo

    Thanks for the kind words everyone. Yes, I know the survey isn’t perfect. But I’m sure we’re going to see some interesting results!
    I will start analyzing the results by the end of this week.

  • Doug

    Nice list of practices. Thanks for pulling this together. Many of these things remain in debate and this survey might settle some of the dust around those debates.

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