While easier to do practices like unit testing are widely used, wider use of agile practices drops off incredibly fast. Test-driven development and pair programming in particular is being ignored by 58% and 70% of the survey respondents, respectively. Both of these practices have been shown to increase software quality, team resiliency, and overall improve the software development cycle.
Rather than go over each practice and how it’s neglected, I’d encourage you to benchmark yourself against these results but, more importantly, verify that your organization is actually doing them. As a start, Pivotal’s Robbie Clutton has a simplified list that focuses on the goals and results of following agile. If you’re “doing agile,” you should be:
- Reducing the cost of change for your product
- Getting continuous feedback on how your software is used
- Continuously improving your team, leading to improving your software
- Empowering the people on teams to do the above
If you’re like most people, After comparing these four goals and individual practices to how your organization is performing and operating you’ll find there’s much room for improvement. In Pivotal Labs engagements we frequently find that organizations claim to have been doing agile “forever,” but upon closer inspection follow the practices piecemeal at best. Indeed, when you look at other industry surveys
, about 45% of respondents admit they’re still doing “waterfall.”
There’s a lot less agile out there than you’d think. So, it’s always good to verify what you think is going on. As the old journalist principal says
: “if your mother tells you she loves you, check it out.