Agile Agency Survey Roundup
Thanks again to everyone who has participated in my survey about agile practices in our industry. In this final piece, I would like to share some of my key observations and provide an overview of what has been covered in the previous nine blog posts.
The 30 survey participants provided in-depth answers in 10 different sections with a set of multiple-choice questions and freeform answers. The survey aimed to get a better understanding of how agile practices are established and live in agencies related to the Drupal community.
Survey results overview
Part 1 - Initial Observations provides an overview of popular methodologies, project team sizes, iteration length, team integration, how teams stay connected, splitting up the work, client communication and delivery practices.
Part 2 - Process Insights gives a deeper understanding of how strictly teams follow the process and which adaptations they have applied.
Part 3 - Teams analyses the average team size, where teams work and how teams and projects are paired.
Part 4 - Discovery & Planning examines the balancing features and functionality against providing value when talking about work increments and when teams make the discovery.
Part 5 - Team Communication & Process is about how teams communicate, how much time they spend in meetings and how client work is balanced against internal or non-billable work.
Part 6 - Defining Work analyses the different phases in the ticket process and who is involved in defining work, as well as which tools are essential for organising the work.
Part 7 - Estimations provides insights into how teams estimate and by whom estimations are executed.
Part 8 - Client Interactions highlights how regularly teams meet with the client and how communication between the team and the client is handled.
Part 9 - Practices gives a rundown of how often teams deploy code and compares usage of the various agile practices teams apply to their work.
Key survey takeaways
Having spent some time looking at the data, and processing chunks of the results into the individual blog posts I have mentioned before, was a rewarding task. Even though the number of survey participants was not very high, I believe that the results are appropriate and representable. Apart from the quantitative analysis, I was happy to have asked for freeform answers which provided me with the diversity to allow the survey to be representative.
There is not a single truth to how agile works. In some cases, you'll be able to collaborate closely with the client on a daily basis, in other cases, you will be lucky if you can meet the client every second week. While some agencies have fewer long-term projects, the majority have a mix of smaller and bigger projects regarding size and duration.
Some teams prefer to work integrated across disciplines. Others prefer to have separate teams based on their expertise. From my point of view, active collaboration and communication between teams and clients are essential to create a better product. The way in which this is organised always depends on what works best for the participating individuals and organisations.
An example, where implementing a rigid process can make sense, would be, that we can help the team not to take on too much work. On the other hand, if the process starts getting in the way of everything, we need to remind ourselves of the principle «Individuals and interactions over processes and tools» of the agile manifesto. The process is there to help the team collaborate with the client to produce working software and responding to change as we move forward in the project. The process must be well understood by all role players so that it helps instead of limit our work.
Feel free to dig into the results raw data and please make sure to look at the freeform answers. I tried to summarise some highlights as parts of the series, but there is a lot more to be found from reading them yourself.
That’s it for the agile agency survey results. Thanks again to all the participants and let us know if you have any thoughts on the survey about agile practices.