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IT Governance and Project Management: 2009 Open Research

How to Measure Anything 2nd Edition This open research into IT governance and project management was performed the last week of June and the first week of July 2009 and there was 125 respondents. The survey was announced in my June 2009 DDJ newsletter, RFPs the Agile Way, and in Jon Erickson’s blog.

The Survey Results

The survey results are summarized in my July 2009 Agile Update entitled Lies, Great Lies, and Software Development Project Plans and my August 2009 newsletter (it’s focus was on IT governance issues such as development guidelines).

Some findings include:

  • 76% that they had development teams which had adopted agile techniques.
  • Of the organizations that have adopted agile techniques, on average 44% of their projects are applying agile techniques
  • 79% of development teams need to provide initial cost estimates, although only 61% of teams track their actuals against their estimates
  • On average initial estimates needed to be +/- 11% although actual results were +/- 19% on average
  • To keep the actuals close to the original estimates, many teams applies rather questionable management “best practices” to do so.
  • 59% of respondents indicated that their organization has enterprise-wide coding conventions, 47% have enterprise-wide UI/usability conventions, and 51% have enterprise-wide data conventions. But, as you see in Figure 1, just because the conventions exist doesn’t mean that people are actually following them (similar trends apply for UI and data conventions, see the downloads).
  • Figure 2 indicates the perception regarding relationship between development teams and their organization’s data group.
  • Figure 3 indicates the perceived effectiveness of the IT governance programs within the respondent’s organization

Figure 1. Development team’s approach to following coding conventions.

Coding conventions on agile teams



Figure 2. Perceived relationship between development teams and data groups.



Figure 3. Perceived effectiveness of IT governance programs.




Survey questions

The Survey Questions(100K)

Survey Data File

Raw Data(66 K)

Survey Presentation

Summary Presentation(246 K)


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 was disappointed with the low number of respondents. I suspect that the timing of the survey, I sent it out in late June when many North Americans and Europeans are on summer vacation, had an impact
  2. The agile adoption rate of 76% is likely high due to the fact that we announced the survey via my monthly Agile newsletter.
  3. People didn’t know the purpose of the survey, so that likely removed some bias.
  4. 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.