State of… Agile or Scrum. Should I take the surveys?

State of… Agile or Scrum. Should I take the surveys?

Big Thoughts

30 August 2016 • Written by Chris Schnugh

Two epic Agile surveys are currently available and collecting feedback for their 2016 reports.

First is the classic State of Agile survey, 11 years in the running and focusing on software delivery, but not the method of framework used.

Second is the 2016 State of Scrum survey which focuses on the use of Scrum, but is not limited to software delivery in application.

Should you take either survey? What’s in it for you? Why should you care? Joe Auslander and Chris Schnugh explore each survey and give you their thoughts on how easy the survey is to complete and why it might matter to you.

2016 State of Scrum by Scrum Alliance

by Chris Schnugh

How to take it: a link is provided by Scrum Alliance

I recently took the State of Scrum survey run by Scrum Alliance. I also took the State of Agile Survey run by VersionOne (because who wouldn’t want the chance to win a set of Beats headphones! …([editor] that’ll be Joe Auslander!)

I don’t see the surveys as competitive to each other, but rather complementary. And with a number of notable differences. Significantly, the State of Scrum survey is done for the love of Agile as there are no headphones on offer for completing it. This survey also delves into non-IT Agile initiatives and interrogates which areas of an organisation are making use of Scrum. There is also a deeper focus on the events, artefacts and roles in Scrum and the level of maturity in an organisation's interaction with, and use, of these.

Five years ago, I was working with a team that had chosen to use Scrum to deliver their Business As Usual (BAU) changes. They had been operating for a year using Scrum. At that time, Scrum meant doing waterfall within a single sprint, never holding a review meeting, holding random retrospectives, not tracking their work and using a lot of intensive documentation to get approval for changes. The team operated out of the Project Management Office (PMO) and there were a number of dual roles and difficult organisational barriers to overcome. A lot has changed in the market in the way of promoting Scrum and investing in getting teams up to speed and properly trained.

By way of comparison, during a recent team interaction I had, the team was running all of the Scrum events, making regular and deep use of the Scrum artefacts and had established clear Scrum roles. The team collaborated around the work and focused their efforts on the most important piece of work first. The team understood best practice and quickly moved towards maturity and trust. The team was autonomous, operated free from the traditional PMO structures and was empowered by the organisational structure and culture.

Why do I tell this story? Because Scrum has changed. And organisations have changed. But not everyone knows, because not every story can be told and not every blog can be read.

That’s why I encourage you to expose the results of your stories by completing this survey. It can give us the context we can’t easily obtain and enable us to have conversations about how we compare to the rest of our country and the rest of the world. We could be doing something really amazing here that the rest of the world is yet to take hold of. Conversely, we may not be doing something that could make our lives easier. The survey will tell us.

Read what Joe says about the State of Agile Survey...

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