Sunday, October 12, 2008

Measuring Agile in the Enterprise: 5 Success Factors for Large Scale Agile Adoption

At Agile 2008 Michael Mah discussed Measuring Agile in the Enterprise. He starts by mentioning that Business will have to soon make a decision to reduce costs. 1) ship development to India, 2) adopt agile or 3) ship to India and adopt agile.

Michael then shares metrics (size, time, effort, defects, and productivity) collected from agile projects against industry averages. The data was mainly from BMC and Follet and looked at cost, schedule, defects, and staffing showing better results for the mature agile teams. Then Michael did a trendline assessment of staffing, schedule, effort, and defects. The data showed the agile project team size is fairly typical, bug rates are significantly lower (they start out higher but fall way down as team matures), and as a whole achieve faster speed. Productivity index (size/(time*effort)) improves the longer you’ve been doing agile, so the sooner you start the better.

Finally Michael interviews Walter Bodwell and describes the BMC secret sauce for success:

1. Buy in: need VP or higher senior executive sponsor, scrum master training, and core team energized and passionate

2. Staying releasable: have nightly builds/tests, 2 week iteration demos, frequent, rigorous code reviews

3. Dusk to dawn team work: Communication techniques for information flow, Wikis, video conferencing, periodic onsite meetings, collocated release planning, scrum of scrum meetings

4. Backlogs: One master backlog and multiple backlog management, one setup for user stories across teams, requirements architect to interface product management and R&D

5. Holding back the waterfall: Use Test Driven Development, retrospective meetings to not regress into old waterfall habits, outside source to audit the process

 This presentation is available on InfoQ at