Skip to main content

Results: How agile are you?

After getting a good response to the sprint duration poll, I thought it would be interesting to ask the question at a somewhat higher level. How long does it take your company to deliver business value?

Well the poll is closed and the results are in. And the results are a bit, well, puzzling.



% with equal or better cycle time

< 1 Month



1 Month



2 Months



3 Months



5 Months



8 Months



1 Year



2 Years






I was surprised how slowly people responded to the poll. The sprint duration poll produced 20 responses almost immediately. This time, maybe 10 people had voted, despite high traffic and even after I published it on the scrum development list.

So I published it on the Xing Agile Methods forum and the Xing Forum English Project Management Lounge and got some more responses. All in all, 35 votes: 77% claimed 3 months or less, 23% reported 8 months or more. A very small sample, but perhaps some interesting trends can be found in the data...

First of all, I think there are more results from agile companies than non agile companes, so while the proportions within the groups (<5>=8 Months) may well be OK, I do believe the slow group is in reality the larger group. But how to prove this? And why the low reponse rate?

Could it be that most people don't understand the relationship between speed and success in the market? Next time I will be sure to add the responses "Don't know" and "Don't care" (perhaps, "not an issue" would be a bit less provocative).

Or perhaps is this is an issue which companies focussed on agile are aware of, but people from waterfall companies really don't know -- or maybe just don't want to admit -- how big the difference is between themselves and their more agile competitors...

Here are some Lean questions for you: if your company cycle time is high (say a year or more), what would it mean to reduce the cycle time by a factor of two? Say from two years down to one, or one year down to 6 months? What does it mean to have competitors who are 4 times faster than you? What would it mean to be 4 times faster than your competition...?


Popular posts from this blog

Sample Definition of Done

Why does Scrum have a Definition of Done? Simple, everyone involved in the project needs to know and understand what Done means. Furthermore, Done should be really done, as in, 'there is nothing stopping us from earning value with this function, except maybe the go-ahead from the Product Owner. Consider the alternative:
Project Manager: Is this function done?
Developer: Yes
Project Manager: So we can ship it?
Developer: Well, No. It needs to be tested, and I need to write some documentation, but the code works, really. I tested it... (pause) ...on my machine. What's wrong with this exchange? To the developer and to the project manager, "done" means something rather different. To the developer in this case, done means: "I don't have to work on this piece of code any more (unless the tester tells me something is wrong)." The project leader is looking for a statement that the code is ready to ship.

At its most basic level, a definition of Done creates a sh…

Explaining Story Points to Management

During the February Scrum Breakfast in Zurich, the question arised, "How do I explain Story Points to Management?" A good question, and in all honesty, developers can be an even more critical audience than managers.

Traditional estimates attempt to answer the question, "how long will it take to develop X?" I could ask you a similar question, "How long does it take to get the nearest train station?

The answer, measured in time, depends on two things, the distance and the speed. Depending on whether I plan to go by car, by foot, by bicycle or (my personal favorite for short distances) trottinette, the answer can vary dramatically. So it is with software development. The productivity of a developer can vary dramatically, both as a function of innate ability and whether the task at hand plays to his strong points, so the time to produce a piece of software can vary dramatically. But the complexity of the problem doesn't depend on the person solving it, just …

Scaling Scrum: SAFe, DAD, or LeSS?

Participants in last week's Scrum MasterClass wanted to evaluate approaches to scaling Scrum and Agile for their large enterprise. So I set out to review the available frameworks. Which one is best for your situation?

Recently a number of approaches have started gaining attention, including the Scaled Agile Framework ("SAFe") by Dean Leffingwell, Disciplined Agile Development (DAD), by Scott Ambler, and Large Scale Scrum (LeSS), by Craig Larman and Bas Vodde. (Follow the links for white papers or overviews of each approach).

How to compare these approaches? My starting point is Scrum in the team. Scrum has proven very effective at helping teams perform, even though it does not directly address the issues surrounding larger organizations and teams. An approach to scaling Scrum should not be inconsistent with Scrum itself.

Scrum implements a small number of principles and constraints: Inspect and Adapt. An interdisciplinary Team solves the problem. Deliver something of va…