Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Market Survey: Agile in Germany

The latest issue of OBJEKTspectrum is dedicated to Agile SW development. In one article, they presented the results of a non-representative study on how widespread agile techniques are in Germany.

Not surprisingly, Scrum is the most widespread agile framework, 21% of the respondants are using it, 17% have had first experiences with Scrum 12% are planing to introduce Scrum. Second place goes to XP at 14%, 35% and 7%, respectively. Other agile methods are largely unknown and not widely in use.

Service companies ("probably" IT companies) at 27% and Financial Service companies at 25% provided the lion's share of the respondents, but Automotive and High Tech at 13%, Telecoms at 9% and Pharmaceuticals at 7% were all well represented.

Where these companies happy to use agile? 97% were satisfied: 30% "very statisfed" and 50% normally "satisfied" und 17% marginally satisfed. Only 3% said they were dissatisfied.

Which techniques were being used? Top on the list were: Short Release Cycles, a Product Owner with Product Backlog, incremental delivery and the daily scrum. Surprisingly, only 26% of the participants were doing retrospectives. (I admit, this is the easiest to forget, but is the secret of real improvement in productivity, quality, you name it!)

What are the effects of Agile?

  1. Improved Flexibility -- 89%
  2. Improved Job Satisfaction -- 88%
  3. Better Learning on the Job -- 87%
  4. Higher Productivity -- 78%
  5. Clearer Project Status -- 74%
  6. Higher Quality -- 74%
  7. Higher Velocity -- 72%

52% of the respondents thought Agile was suitable for large projects,
26% did not (and presumably the rest had no opinion). Only 14% of the
respondants though Agile produced "Chaos" in development.

What kinds of projects are developed using agile?

  1. Web Development -- 72%
  2. Individual Projects -- 71%
  3. Product Development - 70% (including embedded systems)

Agile is popular even for larger projects. More than 7 People: 52%, including 11 to 20 People: 16% and 20 to more than 50 people: 14%

Their conclusion:

"Agile Software Development is entering the mainstream. This is confirmed not just by the brand recognition, but also by the fact that many participants have already taken their first steps with Agile and that large organizations and many different branches are adopting it.... Agile is being successfully deployed for industrial projects for many different industries.

"The value of agile development can be identified, but it is not yet so great as we had expected. There is more unrealized potential for optimization. Further, agile is being used mostly in small and medium sized projects, even though agile would be applicatable in large contexts."

They concluded with a recommendation, which I share wholeheartedly: do the retrospectives! This continuous improvement is what makes Agile work.

The article is available online in German. The print edition comes out on April 25, at which time the PDF should disappear.