Agile is as Agile does

Scott Ambler reported at SD West that a February survey with about 600 respondents found 69% were utilizing agile development practices. "The bad news is, this is the exact same number we had last year," Ambler said. This, he said, leads him to speculate that "agile has peaked." A similar survey at Methods and Tools reported different trends. Some of these can be explained by differences in t

Scott Ambler reported at SD West that a February survey with about 600 respondents found 69% were utilizing agile development practices. "The bad news is, this is the exact same number we had last year," Ambler said. This, he said, leads him to speculate that "agile has peaked."

A similar survey at Methods and Tools reported different trends. Some of these can be explained by differences in the question asked, the times of the surveys, and the population surveyed. The question was: "At what stage is the agile approach (XP, Scrum, FDD, ...) adoption at your location?"

  2008 2005
Not aware 13% 26%
Not using 13% 16%
Investigating 14% 14%
Analyzed and rejected 4% 3%
Pilot projects 8% 4%
Partial implementation (adoption of some agile practices) 17% 17%
Partial deployment (some projects are using this approach) 14% 12%
Deployed (all new projects are using this approach) 17% 8%

The analysis of this survey compares it to two other surveys, VersionOne's and Ambler's:

When compared to other surveys performed in 2007 on agile adoption, the results of the Methods & Tools poll are equivalent. The adoption rate of participants is slightly inferior with 56% (48% without pilot projects) compared with 73% for the VersionOne survey and 69% for the Scott Ambler survey. Our percentage of organizations having deployed agile approaches in all projects stands at 17%, which is very close to the 15% rate that VersionOne presents for 100% agile adoption.

The real question about all of these surveys is whether the respondents actually know what they're talking about. As was recently discussed on LinkedIn, lots of organizations may label their software development practices "agile" because it's trendy, without actually implementing many (or any) of the practices recommended for any agile development approach.

What do you think?

VersionOne 2nd Annual “State of Agile Development” Survey (2007) | Scott Ambler Surveys (2007) | Scott Ambler Surveys Presented in Dr. Dobb’s (2007)