A survey of 3,220 software development professionals published this week found that among the 80% of respondents that embraced Agile practices for building software, just under half are tracking on-time delivery (47%) and business objectives achieved (44%).
The survey, conducted by Regina Corso Consulting on behalf of Digital.ai, a provider of a value stream management (VSM) platform. The survey also found a total of 19% of respondents were not sure what metrics were used to track software development progress.
At the same time, 40% of respondents noted they are dissatisfied with Agile at their organization; a clash with company culture was listed as the leading cause (41%) of unsuccessful delivery. Half of respondents use a combination of Agile, waterfall and/or iterative processes, but 27% noted this combination of frameworks was a struggle for them.
The survey also noted that just over a third of product and application owners (36%) that participated in the survey have adopted Agile.
Derek Holt, general manager of Agile and DevOps at Digital.ai, said that percentage suggests that Agile principles are now being adopted beyond the engineering teams that construct software. As that appreciation for Agile principles continues to grow, the organizations these individuals work for also tend to start tracking value stream metrics, he added. That transition typically begins with a few pragmatic metrics before the organization matures enough to justify the adoption of a VSM platform, Holt noted.
In time, however, that VSM platform not only helps organizations identify bottlenecks but also identifies potential quality issues and risks to the business, Holt added.
Overall, the top three top Agile development priorities identified by respondents are to accelerate time-to-market (52%), delivery predictability (44%) and lower risk (31%). However, from a business perspective, the top three priorities are company goals (54%) and end customer satisfaction (43%) followed by time-to-deliver (35%).
More than half (51%) of respondents, however, also noted that DevOps teams are not incorporating business feedback regularly. Well over half (58%) said the most valuable improvements to DevOps teams would be end-to-end visibility and traceability from business initiative through development, test and deployment to end users, while 55% said the ability to measure cycle time, wait time and bottlenecks would be an important improvement.
Regarding Agile tools used, Scrum led the pack at 87%, followed by Kanban at 56% and Scrumban at 27%. The Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) framework has been adopted by more than half of respondents (53%), while [email protected]/Scrum of Scrums was adopted by 28% of respondents followed by Lean Management at 8%, according to survey respondents.
The top benefit of Agile is increased collaboration (69%) followed by better alignment with the business (54%) and better work environment and increased visibility in the application development life cycle at 39% each.
The debate over the merits of Agile frameworks, of course, remains fierce and no two organizations may ever have the same level of adoption. However, as the pressure to deliver quality software faster in the age of digital business transformation continues to mount, the more crucial it will become to align Agile and DevOps best practices.