AccuRev, Inc. furthered its efforts in accelerating Agile across the enterprise today, releasing research that sheds new light on the obstacles software development organizations are facing as they move forward with Agile initiatives.
Approximately 1,000 developers, testers, product managers and other business professionals across the US and Europe were surveyed throughout 2010 as part of “Agile Comes to You,” the Agile seminar series. The study gathered insights into the “pain points” that have limited Agile adoption.
The full report of the Agile Adoption Pain Points Survey is available free for download at accurev.com/.
Respondents were asked about their organization’s level of Agile adoption, and top pain points experienced with Agile. The survey listed 18 common Agile problems within a development lifecycle – from capturing requirements to tracking progress, to lack of automated deployments.
The top obstacles identified by the survey included: capturing requirements (16%), lack of in-house experience (14%), and lack of automated tests (13%). Other Agile pain points were challenges associated with teams spread across multiple projects (10%) and support for Agile with distributed teams (8%).
“Faster time to market and delivering higher business value is driving organizations to consider Agile practices.Our research shows that organizations are hitting problems that limit the benefit they get from Agile.” said Damon Poole,AccuRev founder and CTO.“This research provides insight to the organizations planning to use Agile, and is part of AccuRev’s efforts to accelerate Agile adoption.We’re building on this research to offer products and servicesthat address these challenges and help organizations succeed with Agile. “
AccuRev is a leading provider of solutions that optimize and automate software development for organizations using Agile or other development process models. AccuRev’s AgileCycle is the first fully-integrated best-of-breed Agile Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) solution incorporating Software Configuration Management, Agile Lifecycle Management, and Build and Release Management.
Pain Points Vary by Adoption Level
Research showed that pain points varied based on the extent of the organization's Agile adoption: organizations in early and mature stages of Agile adoption both saw capturing requirements as a source of pain, while those organizations with some Agile processes implemented identified the lack of automated tests as their top issue.
Commonly Identified Pain Points
Respondents were not unanimous in their choice of key Agile pain points, but while no single issue rose to the top, three pain points reached or exceeded 10%: “lack of automated tests,” “capturing requirements,” and “lack of in-house experience.” Rounding out this list with “people spread across multiple projects” and “support for Agile and traditional practices in parallel,” these five issues represented half of all pain points.
The analysis reinforced that testing remains a challenge in Agile environments, where tests are no longer isolated to the end of a development cycle, but are implemented throughout the entire process.
This analysis identified capturing requirements as another issue which, like testing, is an ongoing process involving many team members.
In addition to spotlighting the obstacles to Agile adoption, AccuRev provided updated insights into interest in Agile. Approximately 70% of those surveyed are currently implementing Agile practices – of this group, 23% are scaling, 37% are piloting, and 8% are already fully Agile enabled.
Recommendations to Overcoming Agile Obstacles
Based on the survey results, AccuRev outlined recommendations for organizations facing Agile adoption obstacles:
- Take a fresh approach to capturing requirements. The focus of requirements in an Agile world shifts from developing a detailed specification, to collecting user stories. Having a development process and the necessary tools to support gathering, tracking and managing user stories is critical when going Agile.
- Invest in test. Even when not practicing explicit test-driven development, the importance of testing – unit test, regression, and system-wide testing – is considerable throughout the Agile development process no matter what method is being used. Having automated test helps ease the strain on QA teams.
- Release early and often. Frequent releases are a primary aspect of a well-functioning Agile process, but this can present new challenges to development and operations teams. Organizations should look for planning tools that track when user stories are done and ready for customer feedback, source code tools that show where user stories are in the development process, and build and release tools that create releases continuously.
- Build In-house expertise from the outside in. For many organizations unfamiliar with Agile, the transition can be intimidating. To head off this trepidation, organizations should work with vendors that have a full suite of training and coaching offerings, in particular seeking those vendors that go beyond generic Agile training and instead examine the organization’s existing processes and goals and customize training for their specific needs.
- Incorporate release aspects in early Agile plans. Agile pilots should be as real as possible and ensure that all aspects of the product lifecycle are factored in. Building in real-world items like testing and deployment will allow issues to surface early, before they become entrenched in the code base and difficult to address.
- Recognize that scaling Agile reveals dependencies between projects and teams. When scaling Agile, new issues emerge around managing projects across iterations and across projects, and processes and tools must provide visibility and management of the dependencies within a project release stream. Having the ability to track both Agile and traditional projects in the same tool interface can prove critical to ensure a smooth scaling out process.
- Don’t forget about requirements when going “all in” with Agile. Moving to Agile for most, or all, projects can provide benefits such as increased business value and faster time to market. This requires a strong focus on gathering, clarifying, and delivering on customer requirements. Organizations should be sure tools and processes clearly show team members all key aspects of requirements and are flexible and powerful enough to keep pace with the dynamic nature of a fully realized Agile environment.
Background on these recommendations is included in the full report of AccuRev’s Agile Adoption Pain Points Survey, available free for download at accurev.com/.
Many of the terms associated with both the obstacles and the recommendations are spotlighted in AccuRev’s Agile Software Development Glossary released last month. In conjunction with this effort, AccuRev plans to feature content from the glossary on the AccuRev Blog in the Agile Methods Defined Blog Post Series.
About AccuRev, Inc.
AccuRev (accurev.com) offers comprehensive solutions for successfully scaling Agile processes across the enterprise. These solutions optimize and automate the software development process, and allow organizations using Agile or other development process models to accelerate their throughput and release higher quality software. AccuRev is a full-service partner for Agile software, consulting and training solutions. AccuRev offers AgileCycle, the first fully-integrated best-of-breed Agile Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) solution incorporating Software Configuration Management, Agile Lifecycle Management, and Build and Release Management. AccuRev is used by over 600 global enterprises including Ford Motor Company, Texas Instruments, American Airlines, Orbitz, Thomson Financial, Verizon Wireless and Lockheed Martin.
AccuRev, Inc. is headquartered in Lexington, Massachusetts and is privately held. More information about AccuRev can be found online, or by calling 1-800-383-8170 (US and Canada), and 1-781-861-8700 (Outside North America).