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Data Professional/Developer Relations: 2009 Open Research

How to Measure Anything This open research into data professional/developer relations was performed during the month of September 2009 and there was 763 respondents. The survey was announced in my August 2009 DDJ newsletter, Do Programmers Really Follow Development Guidelines?, and in Jon Erickson’s blog.

The Survey Results

The survey results are summarized in my November 2009 Agile Update entitled Crossing the Developer-Data Divide.

Some findings include:

  • When it comes to developers learning data skills, 61% of respondents work in organizations that expect developers to pick up data skills on their own, 32% offered either mentoring by data professionals and/or pairing with data professionals to developers, and only 18% work in organizations which offer some form of data training to developers
  • When it comes to data professionals learning development skills, 40% of respondents work in organizations where data professionals are expected to pick up development skills on their own, 36% work in organizations where data professionals either receive mentoring in development skills from developers and/or pair with developers, 17% work in organizations which provide development training to data professionals
  • It was easier to onboard (add) new people onto iterative and agile teams that it was traditional teams, which in turn fared better than ad-hoc teams
  • Figure 1 shows that the quality of documentation produced by iterative teams was perceived as being best, agile and traditional teams produced equal quality documentation, and ad-hoc teams were worst. However, all paradigms can clearly improve.

Figure 1. Quality of “deliverable documentation”.



Survey questions

The Survey Questions(96K)

Survey Data File

Raw Data(305K)

Survey Presentation

Summary Presentation(91K)


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.