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Agile Teams: 2011 Q4 Open Research

How to Measure Anything
This open research into agile teams was performed the last week of October 2011 and there was 89 respondents. The survey was announced on the Agile and Lean Software LinkedIn discussion forum and by me via Twitter. The goal was to find out from agile developers basic information about the leadership role on the team and if they were interacting with non-agile teams.

The Survey Results

Some findings include:

  • Figure 1 depicts the various job titles of the leader of an agile team. It was interesting to note that Project Manager was more common than Scrum master. 68% of respondents with agile experience indicated that their agile team had to interact with  one or more non-agile teams at some point.
  • When the agile team had to work with a non-agile team, Figure 2 depicts the breakdown of which teams they worked with were considered non agile.
  • Of the agile teams that had a Project Manager in the lead role, 50% felt that their PMO worked in a non-agile manner.

Figure 1. What is the job title of the leader of your agile team?

Figure 2. What non-agile teams is it common for agile teams to work with?




The Survey Questions

Raw Data


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 asked about architecture teams as well as operations teams in the question about having to work with non-agile teams. Several people indicated operations/support in the Other category.
  2. There was only three questions, the first one to determine if the respondent had agile experience. Figure 1 and Figure 2 represent my analysis of the data, so I haven’t produced a summary deck as a result.
  3. One respondent indicated that a Scrum Master is only a facilitator, not a lead position. So, in a future survey I suspect I should rework the third question to reflect this potential issue.
  4. 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.