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IT Project Management Strategies for Staying out of Trouble: 2010 Open Research

Ethics and Technology This open research into IT project management was performed during the month of December 2010 and early January 2011 and there was 235 respondents. The survey was announced in my November 2010 DDJ Agile Update, Agile Documentation and Specification Strategies, and in Jon Erickson’s blog.

The Survey Results

The focus of the survey was to explore how IT project teams were “staying out of trouble” with their stakeholders. The survey asked people what strategies they had applied on the most recent “completed” IT project that they had been involved with. The survey results are summarized in Survey Shows Unethical Behavior Rampant Inside IT Development Teams.

Some findings include:

  • The good news is that many IT project teams have adopted effective techniques to help keep them out of trouble, as Figure 1 depicts
  • The bad news is that some IT project teams are still following ineffective if not unethical practices to try to keep them out of trouble, as Figure 2 depicts
  • The survey also explored when IT governance strategies are effective, as shown in Figure 3, and as you can see the jury is still out

Figure 1. Effective IT strategies for staying out of trouble.



Figure 2. Questionable IT strategies for staying out of trouble.



Figure 3. How effective is your IT governance strategy?




Survey questions

The Survey Questions

Survey Data File

Raw Data

Survey Presentation

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. 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.