State of Agile survey for 2011 tells a familiar story

This content is syndicated from Energized Work | agile in action by Simon Baker. To view the original post in full, click here.

One particular chart in the State of Agile survey for 2011 tells a familiar story. Have a look.

Agile techniques employed

First up, C - Unit Testing at 70%. That’s reassuring. And unit testing is and should be distinct from L - Test-Driven Development. Test-driven development is about the design of code, not testing. Good. But what specifically is agile about unit testing? The reference to unit testing is ambiguous.

Moving on, G - Continuous Integration at 54%. Oof!

H - Automated Builds at 53%. Oof!

J - Coding Standards. Are people still worried about coding standards? Haven’t we moved on to expressive code that tells us what it’s doing and why it’s doing it?

K - Refactoring at 48%. Yikes!

And back to L - Test-driven development at 38%. Holy shit! In this day and age?

P - Pair-programming at 30%. Ah yes - that’s because everything would cost twice as much, right? Because creating software is just data entry. Or is it more about ego and fear?

Q - Collective Code ownership at 28%. Yeah baby! That piece of code belongs to me so hands off! You mean that piece of code stinking out our codebase?

R - Automated Acceptance Testing at 25%. Really? Come on!

U - Continuous Deployment at 24%. Getting the last mile in place in the first yard continues to be a problem for companies. How come getting a production environment up and running isn’t being cracked in iteration zero? We’ll be publishing a whitepaper on the last mile and doing some talks on it later in March.

Y - Behavior-driven development at 9%. Sad!

I’ll be honest. On the one hand I’m inclined to be skeptical about the validity of data from surveys such as this. Do people complete the survey based on their espoused theories rather than their theory in use? How representative is the sample? I wonder how many people actually walking the talk didn’t bother responding to this survey?

On the other hand, as you can see from the points I pulled out above, it supports my cognitive bias. Awesome! FTW. Taking the data on face value I might deduce that a lot of bad software is being written out there and much of this thing called Agile is about process. Anyone remember something about people over process? Anyway, I wonder how much of that bad software actually delivers value to customers with a total cost of ownership that makes it a business asset? There will hopefully come a time when more people will realize that being agile is about being able to respond to changing business needs quickly, affordably and with little risk. That’s what businesses really want and need. To do this you need shit hot code, not shit code.

The results of this survey are unsurprising. It’s still alarming.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

twenty + 10 =

There are 101 ways to do anything.
To find the best way, sometimes you need expert help

What People Say

“Kelly was engaged as a Program Director on a complex business and technology transformation program for Suncorp Commercial Insurance. Kelly drew on his key capabilities and depth of experience to bring together disparate parties in a harmonised way, ensuring the initiate and concept phases of the program were understood and well formulated. Excellent outcome in a very short time frame. ”


“Kelly and I worked together on a very large project trying to secure a new Insurer client. Kelly had fantastic commercial awareness as well as his technical expertise. Without him I would never had secured this client so I owe a lot to him. He is also a really great guy!”


“I worked with Kelly whilst at Thoughtworks and found him to be a most inspiring individual, his common-sense approach coupled with a deep understanding of Agile and business makes him an invaluable asset to any organisation. I can't recommend Kelly enough.”


“Kelly is an Agile heavy-weight. He came in to assess my multi-million $ Agile development program which wasn’t delivering the right throughput. He interviewed most of the team and made some key recommendations that, when implemented, showed immediate results. I couldn’t ask for more than that except he’s a really nice guy as well.”


“Kelly revolutionised the way our digital department operated. A true advocate of agile principles, he quickly improved internal communication within our teams and our internal clients by aligning our business and creating a much enhanced sense of transparency in the decisions the business was making. Kelly also introduced a higher sense of empowerment to the development teams...”


“Kelly’s a leading program director with the ability to take charge from day one and keep strong momentum at both a program and project level driving prioritisation, resourcing and budgeting agendas. Kelly operates with an easy-going style and possesses a strong facilitation skill set. From my 5 months experience working with Kelly, I would recommend Kelly to program manage large scale, complex, cross company change programs both from a business and IT perspective.”


“I worked with Kelly on many projects at IPC and I was always impressed with his approach to all of them, always ensuring the most commercially viable route was taken. He is great at managing relationships and it was always a pleasure working with him.”


“Kelly was a great colleague to work with - highly competent, trustworthy and generally a nice bloke.”


“Kelly was a brilliant CTO and a great support to me in the time we worked together. I owe Kelly a great deal in terms of direction and how to get things done under sometimes difficult circumstances. Thanks Kelly.”


“Kelly came to the department and has really made a huge impact on how the department communicates, collaborates and generally gets things done. We were already developing in an agile way, but Kelly has brought us even more into alignment with agile and scrum best practices, being eager to share information and willing to work with us to change our processes rather than dictate how things must be done. He is highly knowledgable about agile development (as his active blog proves) but his blog won't show what a friendly and knowledgeable guy he is. I highly recommend Kelly to anyone looking for a CTO or a seminar on agile/scrum practices - you won't be disappointed!”


“Kelly is an extremely talented and visionary leader. As such he manages to inspire all around him to achieve their best. He is passionate about agile and has a wealth of experience to bring to bear in this area. If you're 'lucky' he might even tell you all about his agile blog. Above all this, Kelly is great fun to work with. He is always relaxed and never gets stressed - and trust me, he had plenty of opportunity here! If you get the chance to work with Kelly, don't pass it up.”



To explore how we can help you, please get in touch