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Agile Teams: 2011 Q2 Open Research

How to Measure Anything This open research into agile teams was performed the last week of April and first week of May 2011 and there was 82 respondents. The survey was announced on the Agile Alliance LinkedIn discussion forum and by me via Twitter. The goal was to find out from agile developers basic information about the size and geographic distribution of their teams and how they interacted with their stakeholders.

The Survey Results

Some findings include:

  • Figure 1 depicts the range in size of agile teams. The average team size was 17.0 members, although when the two outliers (teams over 100 members) are excluded it drops to 10.1 members.
  • Figure 2 depicts the range in location of agile teams – 47% were co-located, 23% near located (same floor, building, or campus or within driving distance), and 30% far-located.
  • Figure 3 depicts the range in location of stakeholders of agile teams – 9% were co-located with the team, 56% near located, and 35% far located. Although few stakeholders were co-located with the dev team (contrary to common agile rhetoric) a sizable majority were near located indicating the possibility of regular communication.
  • Figure 4 depicts the frequency of communication that agile teams have with stakeholders – 58% indicated at least daily communication and an additional 36% indicated at least weekly communication. So, there’s room for opportunity but for the most part agile dev teams are regularly interacting with stakeholders, as per common agile claims. Figure 5 depicts the techniques used to communicate with stakeholders of agile teams.

Figure 1. The size of agile teams.

Figure 2. The location of agile development team members.

Figure 3. The location of stakeholders of agile development team.

Figure 4. The frequency of communication with stakeholders.


Figure 5. Techniques used to communicate with stakeholders.



The Survey Questions

Raw Data

Summary Presentation


What You May Do With This Information

You may use this data as you see fit, but may not sell it in whole or in part. You may publish summaries of the findings, but if you do so you must reference the survey accordingly (include the name and the URL to this page). Feel free to contact me with questions. Better yet, if you publish, please let me know so I can link to your work.


Discussion of the Results

  1. I wish I had broken up the team size of 10-15 option into single digit options. I didn’t expect so many people to be working in teams of this size. Live and learn.
  2. This survey suffers from the fundamental challenges faced by all surveys.


Why Share This Much Information?

I’m sharing the results, and in particular the source data, of my surveys for several reasons:

  1. Other people can do a much better job of analysis than I can. If they publish online, I am more than happy to include links to their articles/papers.
  2. Once I’ve published my column summarizing the data in DDJ, I really don’t have any reason not to share the information.
  3. Too many traditionalists out there like to use the “where’s the proof” question as an excuse not to adopt agile techniques By providing some evidence that a wide range of organizations seem to be adopting these techniques maybe we can get them to rethink things a bit.
  4. I think that it’s a good thing to do and I invite others to do the same.