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Re: BSIMM-V Article in Application Development Times
From: Antti Vähä-Sipilä <avs () iki fi>
Date: Tue, 17 Dec 2013 23:01:19 +0200

In the current BSIMM-V dataset is it possible to narrow the data down to only organisations practising Agile dev?  I 
think it would be interesting to see which BSIMM activities are popular with agile houses, and which not.

One of the reasons not to do this is that publishing data that would be split into too many or too small pools would 
potentially allow someone to reverse-engineer the exact results of some of the participating companies. Aggregate data 
provides a level of anonymity.

Moreover, I think this sort of split would be largely arbitrary. Especially for large companies, it's often not 
straightforward to classify them as agile or non-agile. Many companies also have mixed-mode dev shops with waterfall 
product management bolted on top of an agile dev team, or an agile dev team throwing code over the wall to a 
traditional ops team, or a mix of agile and non-agile teams working side by side. 

Now, some observed activities clearly are purely development activities, and some would not make any sense at all as 
dev team activities. How would you classify the results if the company had agile dev teams but waterfall product 
management?

Ideally, it would be nice to not only differentiate between Agile and non-agile, but different degrees of agile based 
on the length of iterations and/or the frequency of deployments.  E.g. less-agile = 3 month iterations and 
multi-month deploys, more-agile = continuous delivery with multiple deploys per day.

Even in purely agile shops, not everyone has a concept of an "iteration" (kanban is a continuous flow of tasks - which 
is often how maintenance of legacy software would be done), and "deploying" means different things for different 
industries (think embedded systems that have no update channel).  

In addition, I don't think you can measure agility through purely measuring cadence. The point of being agile is to be 
able to respond to change, and not all companies _need_ to be reinventing their product daily like a budding startup 
with an existential crisis. Although continuous integration would probably help the majority of companies, on the 
product management (i.e., backlog management) side, it depends on your customers and industry whether more is indeed 
better.

- Antti
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