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How Agile Are You?: 2010 Open Research

How to Measure Anything 2nd Edition This open research into how agile people actually are was performed during the last week of July and first week of August 2010 and there was 293 respondents. The survey was announced via a link to the survey was posted on my IT Surveys home page at, announced on my Twitter feed, my mailing list (, the Agile Alliance discussion group on LinkedIn, and the Yahoo discussion groups for test driven development (TDD), agile modeling, and agile databases.

The Survey Results

The survey results are summarized in my August 2010 Agile Update entitled How Agile Are We Really? The goal of the survey was to explore how well “agile teams” were at meeting the five agile criteria (Is the team delivering value? Is the team validating its own work? Is the team working closely with their stakeholders? Is the team self-organizing? Is the team improving their process?) which I’ve used for several years now to judge whether teams claiming to be agile actually are.

Some findings include:

  • 94% of teams which are claiming to be agile are providing value to stakeholders on a regular basis. See Figure 1 for details.
  • 87% of teams which are claiming to be agile are validating their own work. See Figure 2 for details.
  • 95% of teams which are claiming to be agile are working closely with stakeholders. See Figure 3 for details.
  • 56% of teams which are claiming to be agile are self organizing. See Figure 4 for details.
  • 88% of teams which are claiming to be agile are improving the process that they follow throughout the lifecycle. See Figure 5 for details.
  • Teams which are claiming to be agile often aren’t. Figure 6 shows that only 53% of agile teams meet the five agile criteria, although 72% meet all but the self-organization criteria.
  • Teams which are moving towards agile but aren’t there yet are reasonably close. Figure 7 shows that 39% of those teams meet all five agile criteria and 63% meet all but self-organization.


Figure 1. Agile criterion: Value.

Figure 2. Agile criterion: Validation.


Figure 3. Agile criterion: Stakeholder involvement.

Figure 4. Agile criterion: Self organization.

Agile criteria - self organization


Figure 5. Agile criterion: Continuous improvement.

Figure 6. How agile are teams which claim to be agile?

Figure 7. How agile are teams which are working on becoming agile?



Survey questions

The Survey Questions(78K)

Survey Data File

Raw Data(343K)

Survey Presentation

Summary Presentation(144K)


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. People didn’t know the purpose of the survey, so that likely removed some bias. My strategy for the DDJ surveys is to send out a short survey every two months entitled “State of the IT Union, DATE” but to not indicate what the topic of the survey actually is (other than an IT topic of course).
  2. This survey suffers from the fundamental challenges faced by all surveys.


Links to Other Articles/Surveys

  1. My other 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.