How Pervasive is Agile?

on Dec 15, 08 • by Todd Landry • with No Comments

I like statistics. I always have and always will. I remember manually keeping track of all the statistics for my favourite baseball team by going through the box scores everyday in the newspaper (obviously this was well before the internet came around).  I would manually calculate batting average, slugging...

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I like statistics. I always have and always will. I remember manually keeping track of all the statistics for my favourite baseball team by going through the box scores everyday in the newspaper (obviously this was well before the internet came around).  I would manually calculate batting average, slugging percentage, strikeouts per 9  innings and so on. Yup, I lived a pretty exciting youth! Anyways, that love for statistics continued with me, but now I like to know things like how much snow has fallen overnight, and how much more we can expect over the next few days, or what my accuracy is in Guitar Hero, so I can try to beat my 9 year old daughter on Black Sabbath’s Paranoid.

Why am I telling you about all this? Well, I was recently participating in a tour of 5 different cities in Scandinavia over a 5 day period, delivering a presentation on how Source Code Analysis fits in Agile development environments. Fun topic really, but one of the points I raised in each of the 5 sessions I did was that more and more organizations using Waterfall development techniques are moving to Agile.

After being asked by one of the participants to provide an example of this, I brought up some things that I have personally seen over the past couple of years. So I rattled off how in a previous “life” I worked in a mid-sized company where my team was the first Agile team formed. Over the course of 6 months I saw a few more teams show up, and that continued on (and still does from what I hear). I then pointed to the Agile 2008 Conference which, from what I understand, grew in both attendees and vendors, from the previous year, and the expectation is for that trend to continue for 2009. Finally, in talking to people at different trade events (non Agile), training sessions, or customers, etc. I just keep hearing that more and more teams are adopting Agile. But I didn’t have any concrete numbers that illustrated that Agile really was becoming widely adopted.

So I spent a couple hours later that evening (after the usual trains, planes, trains, taxis routine) to try and find some real statistics on this. Well, to continue with the baseball metaphors, I probably hit a solid double. I was able to find a lot of good statistics on typical length of iterations, whether an organization has adopted one or more Agile “techniques”, average Agile team size, and so on, but I just could not find a definitive statistic saying that Agile now is being done in x% of development organizations worldwide. What is Agile’s worldwide market share? That is all I really want. Then I’ll know without question or hesitation that Agile is the approach of choice for software development.

So, from everything I’m *hearing*, I have to believe that Agile is really becoming more and more prevalent. It would just be nice to open up the paper, and see in black and white if Agile is a singles hitter or a home run hitter.

BTW, here are a few other statistics I gathered while on my trip:
•    93% of plane/train food is bad regardless of the carrier.
•    I forgot my hotel room number 60% of the time while over there.

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